Brazil’s Ministry of the Environment today (Jun. 4) is launching a program dubbed Floresta + (“Forest Plus”), an initiative earmarking some $100 million for conservation and restoration efforts in the Amazon region in its first stages.
The ministry points out that Brazil has the world’s biggest biodiversity heritage, with potential to become one of the global protagonists in green economy. In this connection, Floresta + aims to deal with the regulation of the volunteer market of environmental services so that projects may have legal security and the guarantee of its full development. The program is also expected to boost the income of those conducting activities that increase relevant environmental gains.
The selected projects may receive funding for such initiatives as fence construction, surveillance efforts, combating wildfire, soil protection, studies on biodiversity, the growth of native species, activities linked to agriculture and forestry, and plans to integrate field, livestock, and forest.
The ministry went on to explain that the initiative will also be joined by the private sector, in a bid to consolidate and increase the scale and reach of an economy based on environmental services. To meet this goal, the next steps should include the creation of a specific economic classification (CNAE) for environmental services. The ministry will also recognize and promote good methodological practices for assessing and validating attributes, benefits, and side benefits, and will make the National Registration of Environmental Services available for the registration of areas, activities, and projects involving environmental service to help spread the word about the program and further promote it.
Floresta + is directed at natural persons and firms, governed by both public and private law, or family and community groups that, either directly or through outside parties, provide environmental services in areas covered by native vegetation or being restored. A number of land categories may be recognized and benefited throughout the Brazilian territory, be they private areas of permanent preservation and restrict use, settlements, indigenous territories, and conservation units, provided they conduct activities protecting natural resources.
The measure is expected to bring about a number of benefits to society, including the availability of water resources, soil conservation, pollination, fauna observation and the appreciation of natural landscapes, the conservation of biodiversity, and the preservation as well as increase of carbon sinks.
The program is starting off with projects in the Amazon area. Even though the region is among the country’s wealthiest, the ministry argued, the Amazon has Brazil’s worst human development index. The lack of basic living conditions, such as effective health care, drinking water, sewage, and electricity, and the absence of a dynamic economy lead to an increase in deforestation and illegal activities in the region. The efforts are expected to yield significant results for the sustainable development with a focus on the generation of employment and income.
*With information from the Ministry of the Environment