Lowest Deforestation Rate in Brazil Should Inspire Decisions on REDD

Feature story - December 2, 2010
With announcements that deforestation in the Amazon has dropped to a record low, Greenpeace says that now is the time for countries gathered at the UN climate talks to approve a strong REDD deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by helping to end global deforestation.

Greenpeace welcomes news that deforestation levels have dropped, confirming a continuing downward trend since 2005.

This illustrates that it is indeed possible to bring an end to deforestation. Now is the time for world leaders to agree on a strong REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) deal.

However, more work is needed as the Amazon still saw 6,451 square kilometers (2,520 sq miles) of forest destroyed between August 2009 and August 2010, which represents a significant loss of biodiversity and enormous CO2 emissions.

“Over the past five years, Brazil has shown that monitoring deforestation with transparency, implementing and enforcing protected areas, and working with civil society is an effective way to reduce deforestation,” said Andre Muggiati, Greenpeace Amazon Campaigner.

Indigenous Child in Brazil

A small child in a village in Apyterewa land, the area inhabited by indigenous people in Brazil most affected by cattle ranching. Cattle ranching is the primary driver of forest destruction in the Brazilian Amazon.

“Brazil has set a good example to other forested countries. The fact that it has managed this during a period of economic expansion demonstrates that we can achieve zero deforestation by 2015, and still produce food, jobs and income.”

Banco do Brasil, the biggest Brazilian public bank, also announced today that it will not grant rural credit to soya farmers planting in newly deforested areas of Amazon.  However, despite this progress, there is a risk of backsliding unless the Brazilian Government prevents proposed changes to the country’s progressive Forest Code legislation, which if undermined would threaten vast areas of the Amazon.

“To protect the global climate, it is crucial that the Brazilian Government upholds the country's Forest Code and that the UNFCCC makes strides to approve a robust REDD deal in Cancun,” said Muggiati. “This will put us on the path to ending deforestation in tropical countries by 2015, and in all of the world’s forests by 2020.”