A critical analysis of the Native Vegetation Protection Law of Brazil (2012): updates and ongoing initiatives
Pedro H.S. Brancaliona, Letícia C. Garcia, Rafael Loyola, Ricardo R. Rodrigues, Valério D. Pillar, Thomas M. Lewinsohn
Associac¸ão Brasileira de Ciência Ecológica e Conservac¸ão.
Published by Elsevier Editora Ltda.
The Native Vegetation Protection Law of Brazil, which replaced the Forest Code from 1965,is still undergoing regulation at federal and state levels, and the constitutionality of someclauses are still in question. In order to support legal rulings, decisions by public officers, andto inform other stakeholders, we present a balanced assessment of the positive and negativeconsequences of Native Vegetation Protection Law in light of current scientific knowledge.Key advances were noted in the systems of controls and incentives, which promoted newmechanisms and policies to support the implementation of this law. The main environmen-tal setbacks were (i) the removal of protection of certain environmentally fragile areas, (ii)the concession of amnesty of fines incurred for violating the preceding legislation, (iii) allow-ing continuous farming or maintenance of infrastructure in areas protected by law, withoutfull recovery of native vegetation. The weakening of Native Vegetation Protection Law mayhamper soil and watershed protection, biodiversity conservation, and even agricultural pro-ductivity, without manifest benefits for the country. On that account, we recommend that: (i)judiciary rulings and state and county regulations to correct pending issues with the NativeVegetation Protection Law based on scientific knowledge and with wider citizen participa-tion; (ii) the strengthening of agencies for rural technical assistance; (iii) the developmentof incentives to develop the supply chain for native vegetation recovery; (iv) the regulationof compensation for Legal Reserves based on clear and robust environmental criteria; and(v) the assessment of legal compliance has also to be based on the environmental quality of recovered areas.
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