An environmental registry is protecting the Amazon rainforest
Title: CAR – Land and Environmental Management
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Serviço Florestal Brasileiro (SFB) – Ministério da Agricultura e do Abastecimento (MAPA), Brazilian Forest Service (SFB) in the Ministry of Agriculture (MAPA)
Overall term: 2016 to 2024
The Brazilian Forest Code sets parameters for the maintenance and recovery of natural forests and makes the Environmental Rural Registry (CAR) mandatory for all rural properties in the country. All the areas where the native vegetation must be protected must also be recorded in CAR. This includes riverbanks, hillsides and mountaintops, as well as forest reserves to safeguard biodiversity.
By January 2020, 6.5 million properties equivalent to an area of 544 million hectares had already been registered according to the data collected by the SICAR online platform. In the Amazon rainforest, over one million properties covering 220 million hectares have been recorded – an area more than six times the size of Germany.
Although considerable progress has been made in the number of properties registered, effective environmental regularisation based on the Forest Code still faces major challenges, especially regarding the validation of registrations and the implementation of state Environmental Regularisation Programmes (PRA), which oblige landowners to restore illegally deforested areas.
The Forest Code and Environmental Rural Registry (CAR) have helped to protect and make sustainable use of the tropical forest and to restore forest cover. Sustainable agriculture practices in the Amazon and selected water catchment areas in the Cerrado biome are increasing as a result.
The project works with the Ministry of Agriculture (MAPA), the Brazilian Forest Service (SFB), state environmental bodies and various NGOs and research institutions to implement environmental regularisation. Together they are further developing the innovative instruments under the Forest Code and disseminating them via training programmes in the states and for landowners.
The project pays special attention to the concerns of traditional population groups such as the quilombolas, runaway slave communities. They use CAR to improve land use planning in their territories and defend their customary rights against illegal land seizures.
Another priority area is the training of multipliers working in private and public advisory services. They use CAR to advise owners of small properties in particular on protecting and restoring native vegetation. Agricultural loans are adapted to address these challenges.
Since 2019, part of this project has been financed with funds from the World Bank’s Forest Investment Program (FIP). The cofinance amount of USD 21 million makes it possible to use the experiences gained in the Amazonas region in Brazil’s savannas (Cerrado) too, where the project supports arable and pastoral farming systems that protect the native vegetation, biodiversity and soils. The changes made by the individual farmers are part of sustainable land use planning in water catchment areas.
Other important partners are the National Rural Learning Service (SENAR), the Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) and state environment bodies. The National Institute of Space Technologies (INPE) is also helping to monitor land use and forests.
- New digital systems have been introduced to improve the handling of CAR processes and databases.
- The actors and authorities involved in the Forest Code have better technical and managerial competencies.
- Nine policy programmes in the areas of agriculture, social development and the environment have integrated CAR.
- A total of 663 landowners have initiated recovery measures.
- Traditional population groups are benefiting from CAR thanks to adapted processes and increased participation.