Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Research Report

Land-use trends and environmental governance policies in Brazil: Paths forward for sustainability

Andrew Miccolis
Renata Marson Teixeira de Andrade
Pablo Pacheco
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2014
Pages: 59
  • Cite this Item

Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-2)

    Over the last decade, Brazil has earned praise worldwide as the country that achieved the highest contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) as a direct result of its rapidly declining deforestation rates. While much of this decline has been attributed to command and control policies, other factors such as market forces and industry-led initiatives have also played a significant role (Nepstad et al. 2014; Soares-Filho et al. 2014). Meanwhile, the strategic importance of the agricultural sector for the national economy has continued to rise (Martha and Ferreira Filho 2012).

    Although Brazil initially managed to weather the global economic crisis...

  2. (pp. 3-10)

    Over the centuries, Brazilian rural society has been shaped by a dualistic and dynamic tension between cycles of farming for commodities such as sugarcane, coffee, rubber and soybeans, among others and smallholders whose livelihoods rely on a combination of small-scale farming, livestock and extractive economies. This dualism persists to this day in the realm of policies and institutional frameworks and plays out on the ground, throughout the country, especially on the vast agricultural frontiers sweeping across the Central-West, North and Northeast regions.

    Historically, the most striking features in Brazil’s wider policy landscape are the marked contradictions within a mosaic of...

  3. (pp. 11-24)

    Land-use change results from a combination of pressures and drivers, which occur over different time and spatial scales and can happen permanently (e.g. land reform) or intermittently (e.g. droughts or economic crises). Combined effects of multiple drivers can be amplified or reduced by reciprocal or antagonistic actions and feedback (Geist and Lambin 2002). Changes in drivers that indirectly affect land-use change (LUC) and indirect land-use change (iLUC), such as agricultural policies and commodity prices, can lead to changes in the proximate causes directly affecting LUC and iLUC, such as agriculture and livestock expansion and food supply (Kaimowitz and Angelsen 1998;...

  4. (pp. 25-38)

    In this section, we describe and analyze three main sets of policies with direct impacts on land use in Brazil in terms of their effectiveness and constraints. First, we look at the mainstream, development-oriented policies, which include fiscal incentives for public investments in infrastructure and development projects, including the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), rural development programs, tax incentives for the agricultural and energy sector and rural finance mechanisms. Second, we highlight social inclusion and conservation-oriented policies such as family farming, the Forest Code and those aimed at the establishment and management of conservation units. Lastly, we discuss environmental governance and...

  5. (pp. 39-41)

    Historically, the policy framework in Brazil has played a decisive role in shaping the rural landscape. Land reform and colonization policies backed by a wide range of direct financial incentives fueled the occupation of the Cerrado and Amazon forests (Correa 2013). Meanwhile, the development of agricultural technologies suited to nutrient-poor and acidic soils by publically funded research institutions such as Embrapa, enabled the expansion of large-scale farming in areas before considered unsuitable (Heredia et al. 2010; Martha and Ferreira Filho 2012).

    With the advent of the 1988 Constitution, increasing social participation in policy making processes, as well as growing pressures...