Aerial view of the rainforest in the Anavilhanas National Park in Manaus, Brazil

Core area “Conserving nature and natural resources” Stopping deforestation, securing rural incomes

Covering an area of just under five million square kilometres, Brazil's tropical forests make up about twelve per cent of the world's total forest area. They are home to the biggest range of biodiversity anywhere in the world. The BMZ has been providing various kinds of support since the 1990s aimed at assisting the Brazilian government in protecting the tropical rainforest and using it in a responsible way.

The areas addressed by German-Brazilian development cooperation in this field are managing protected areas and indigenous areas, combating deforestation, supporting reafforestation and environmental regulation, and fostering the bioeconomy and deforestation-free supply chains. For forest conservation, the BMZ is working increasingly with reform-oriented federal states in the Amazon region. The Agriculture Ministry is a partner for the sustainable use of natural resources and the BMZ is working with the prosecutor-general's office on projects to protect indigenous communities.

Forest conservation in the Amazon region

Deforestation in the Brazilian state of Maranhão

Deforestation in the Brazilian state of Maranhão

Deforestation in the Brazilian state of Maranhão

One of the most important prerequisites for effective forest conservation is that natural forest reserves on private land are recorded and monitored. The conservation of natural forests is regulated in Brazil by a forestry law. The country has set up the world's biggest environmental register (the Cadastro Ambiental Rural). Every landowner must register and must provide information about how the land is used on their property. In combination with satellite-based monitoring, the land register is a way for the Brazilian authorities to ensure compliance with the forestry law, which is an important contribution towards biodiversity conservation. The BMZ is supporting the efforts of the Brazilian forest authority to implement and further develop the environmental register.

In addition, Germany is supporting the Brazilian development bank's Amazon Fund. The Fund was set up in 2008 by the Brazilian government. The Amazon Fund is the world's first national funding mechanism that pays compensation for verified reductions in greenhouse gas emissions based on avoided deforestation. To date, the Fund has financed more than one hundred public sector and civil society forest conservation projects. In 2019, the Brazilian government unilaterally dissolved the Fund's managing bodies, in which all stakeholder groups had been equally represented. As a result, the Fund remained inactive until the end of 2022, implementing only measures that had already been approved. On 1 January 2023, the new President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, reinstated the managing bodies through a government decree, thus reactivating the Amazon Fund.

Fostering the bioeconomy

Successfully protecting the rainforest in the long term will only be possible if the economic benefit that local communities get from the forest is increased. In particular in the case of vulnerable and socially disadvantaged groups like traditional communities and small farmers, however, there are considerable difficulties when it comes to making forest products economically viable. That is why local cooperatives and associations in the Brazilian Amazon region are being helped with marketing their socio-biodiversity products. These products include Brazil nuts, açaí berries, cocoa and pirarucu fish caught in the wild.

Still image from the BMZ explanatory film "Is soy farming destroying our climate?"
Video: Is soy farming destroying our climate?

As at: 19/01/2023