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

Priority area Conservation and sustainable use of tropical forests Stopping deforestation, securing farmers' incomes

The area covered by tropical forests in Brazil measures 4.8 million square kilometres; this is ten per cent of the total area in the world covered by tropical forests. With 2.5 million different species of animals and plants, Brazil is the most biodiverse country in the world. The BMZ is providing a range of support to assist the Brazilian government in protecting the rainforest and using it in a responsible way.

Germany has been working with Brazil to preserve the country's tropical forests since the 1990s. The measures being supported include the management of protected areas, handling issues around land rights and promoting the sustainable use of natural resources.

One example is the support provided by the BMZ for efforts by the Fundação Nacional do Índio (FUNAI) to preserve and effectively manage indigenous protected lands. About twelve per cent of the land area of Brazil is now officially designated as territories belonging to the indigenous population and is legally protected.

Furthermore, the BMZ is supporting the setting-up of a rural environmental land register. Since 2014, it has been mandatory for all land owners to inform the authorities about the size of the properties they are managing. They are required by law to conserve or restore protected areas.

The BMZ is a participant in the Amazon Fund of the Brazilian development bank BNDES. Fund resources are disbursed based on proven achievements in protecting the rainforest. The money is invested in measures for reforestation and sustainable development in the Amazon region. Germany is the second biggest contributor to the Fund after Norway.

Supporting smallholder agriculture

Since the absence of clearly defined land ownership in the Amazon region often leads to violent conflicts over land, the BMZ is supporting the regularisation of land tenure. Under the national programme "Terra Legal", 55 million hectares of state-owned land is to be transferred to about 160,000 smallholder families. The land titles give people the legal certainty that they can farm their land on a long-term basis and thus secure a livelihood for themselves.

Germany also supports Brazil's approach of harnessing the sustainable use of rainforest resources as an incentive for protecting the rainforest. Investments are therefore being made in various value chains based on products derived from natural forest management. The way is being opened for small farmers and indigenous communities to market produce that is grown organically. Furthermore, with German support, the public sector extension system for farming cooperatives is being improved.

Slash and burn in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso

Slash and burn in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso

Slash and burn in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso


Between 1992 and 2009, the BMZ made available more than 300 million euros for the G7 "pilot programme to conserve the Brazilian rain forest" (PP-G7). Overall, Germany was Brazil's most important partner during that period and was also the biggest contributor to the World Bank's "Rain Forest Trust Fund".

Under the pilot programme, significant areas of the Amazon and of the Atlantic coastal forests were declared protected zones, and indigenous zones were established. Important methods for monitoring the protected areas and for fighting illegal logging were developed further.

Brazil's Amazon Fund was the first national forest and climate protection fund to be established worldwide. In the period from 2004 to 2018, the annual rate of deforestation in the Amazon region declined by about 72 per cent.

In 2002, the Brazilian government, supported by the BMZ, launched an international alliance to ensure effective protection of more than 60 million hectares of tropical forest in the Amazon region. This target was achieved in 2017. The Amazon Region Protected Areas (ARPA) Programme is the world's largest programme for the protection of important habitats.

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