Brazil is the world’s fifth largest country and contains 12% of the world’s forests and 35% of the world’s tropical rainforests. Brazil’s forests are important not only as enormous stores of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and home to some of the world’s richest biological diversity. Cattle ranching and agriculture are central components of the Brazilian economy, and Brazil is the largest exporter of various agricultural products, including sugarcane, beef, and tobacco, among others. From 2003 to 2009, the value of Brazil’s agribusiness exports increased by over 110%. While the conversion of large swaths of forest areas has enhanced the livelihoods of millions, the overexploitation of Brazil’s forest resources threatens to undermine the country’s long-term economic, environmental, and social development.
...the average number of hectares deforested in the Cerrado region per year
Among the largest and most affected of Brazil’s forests is the Cerrado, which spans 11 states and four geopolitical regions. Over the past 50 years, 48% of the Cerrado has been converted from a savannah biome to be used for intensive agriculture and cattle ranching. Adding to the low environmental sustainability of Brazil’s current agricultural model, insufficient information and monitoring of land use and cover have created pressing challenges for local and indigenous communities, preserving valuable natural resources, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Brazil is tapping US$70 million in grant and near-zero interest financing from the Forest investment Program (FIP) to support an investment plan designed under the government’s leadership in coordination with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank Group (IBRD, IFC), other development partners and key Brazilian stakeholders. The investment plan aims to promote sustainable management and use of previously anthropized savannah woods areas, to maintain carbon stocks and reduce GHG emissions, and to improve the collection and management of information on the Cerrado biome. Brazil’s FIP investments focus on the incorporation of the interests and priorities of Brazil’s indigenous peoples, and will provide valuable services to these groups, such as improved access to fire alerts and early warning systems, information and support for environmental compliance, and assistance with the adoption low-carbon farming practices in and around their lands.