Report Open Access

Land Use Change in Brazil: 2000-2050

Camara, Gilberto; Soterroni, Aline; Ramos, Fernando; Carvalho, Alexandre; Andrade, Pedro; Souza, Ricardo; Mant, Rebecca; Mosnier, Aline; Buurman, Merret; Pena, Marina; Havlik, Petr; Pirker, Johannes; Kraxner, Florian; Obersteiner, Michael; Kapos, Valerie; Affonso, Adriana; Espindola, Giovana; Bocqueho, Geraldine

This report describes the methods and results of the REDD+ Policy Assessment Centre project (REDD-PAC) project, that supports decision making on REDD+, biodiversity and land use policies in Brazil. A consortium of leading research institutes (IIASA, INPE, IPEA, UNEP-WCMC), supported by Germany’s International Climate Initiative, joined forces to study policies that balance production and protection in Brazil.  

Brazil aims to reduce emissions from deforestation and land use as a contribution to climate change mitigation and to conserve the country’s rich biodiversity. The country has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 37\% below 2005 levels by 2025 and intends to reach a 43\% cut by 2030. This is the first time a major developing country has committed to an absolute decrease in emissions. 

The project team adapted the global economic model GLOBIOM (developed by IIASA) to analyse land use policies in Brazil. GLOBIOM is a bottom-up partial equilibrium model focusing on major global land-based sectors (agriculture, forestry and bioenergy). It projects future land use and agricultural production for the whole country, taking account of both internal policies and external trade. Model projections show that Brazil has the potential to balance its goals of protecting the environment and becoming a major global producer of food and biofuels. The model results were taken into account by Brazilian decision-makers when developing the country's intended nationally determined contribution (INDC), submitted to UNFCCC COP-21 in Paris in 2015.

The overall message of this report is the crucial importance for Brazil of implementing the Forest Code. To do so, the country faces major challenges. A high quality rural environmental cadastre is essential to make sure illegally deforested area in Brazil be restored. Brazil needs to set up a monitoring system for the whole country as powerful as the one in place for Amazônia. It is crucial to limit the legal reserve amnesty to those who are small farmers, avoiding illicit break-up of large farms. The market for environmental quotas needs to be regulated to avoid improper land grabbing and enhance forest conservation. If Brazil succeeds in applying the Forest Code for its territory, there will be multiple benefits for its citizens, including biodiversity protection, emissions mitigation, and positive institution building.

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