Brazil Success Project

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Brazil—IMAZON (Instituto do Homem e Meio Ambiente da Amazônia)

In 2004, deforestation in the Amazon region reached record levels. In 2009, Pará state accounted for the highest deforestation rate in the country, corresponding to 20% of its territory. It is also a highly conflicted area, where violence and corruption are widespread, and environmentalists have been murdered in recent years. Land tenure and illegal harvesting of timber remain key problems faced by authorities at all levels. Lack of ability to address land use change and forestry is a threat to Brazil´s capacity in meeting its commitments within the global climate regime.

In 2008, the Ministry of Environment (MMA) issued a list of the critical areas and cities responsible for deforestation in the Amazon region. Those with the highest rates were included in a “black list” and suffered severe sanctions, such as restricted access to rural credit and embargoes on products from illegally deforested areas. Paragominas was top of the list, and faced action by the federal Public Attorney´s office. The municipality decided to act: together with institute IMAZON, the city implemented an initiative to register property owners, legalize and control timber harvesting and cattle ranching in its territory. In 2010, Paragominas was the first municipality to be removed from the deforestation list. With IMAZON´s technical support, the coordination of stakeholders such as the mayor, council members, farmers unions, the public attorney´s office at state and federal levels, the state environment secretariat, the MMA and others were key to the initiative´s success. Together they inspired the Pará government to develop the Green Municipality program. Cities wishing to be removed from the black list or to avoid entering it adhere to a pact to reduce deforestation by 80%. In 2013, Paragominas reported zero deforestation.

Between 2009 and 2013, IMAZON implemented a project called Building Blocks for the Socioenvironmental Management of Pará Municipalities Critical to Deforestation, in partnership with the state government of Pará´s program Green Municipalities, and funded by the Amazon Fund (managed by Brazil´s national development bank BNDES). The project was built on the Paragominas experience, and encompasses 25,482 sq. miles, including eleven key municipalities in Pará state. The initiative involves stakeholders such as state and federal government officials, the Public Attorney´s office, union representatives, the Vale Foundation, and the municipalities. It aims to reduce deforestation and land degradation in the Southeast region of Pará and to increase the number of properties registered in the Environmental Rural Registry (Cadastro Ambiental Rural – CAR in Portuguese). The project also evaluates the potential for implementation of financial mechanisms to promote forest conservation such as REDD+. The project demonstrates its potential for scaling up and replication, through actions focused on stakeholder participation, community empowerment and capacity building, as well as monitoring and control using GIS.

IMAZON´s technical support includes digital mapping in 1:50,000 scale using satellite images from RapidEye, as well as building the capacity of municipal staff to use equipment for monitoring and avoiding deforestation, such as geoprocessing and remote sensing. The institute also issues monthly newsletters and provides information online about the project. The project engages the public via high profile events and provides up to date information.

The work of IMAZON should help Brazil implement its Paris Agreement pledge. Brazil officially ratified the Paris Agreement on September 21, 2016, committing to reduce emissions to 1.3 GtCO2e by 2025 and 1.2 GtCO2e by 2030 (Government of Brazil, 2015), as stated originally in its INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contribution). This is equivalent to 37% and 43% below 2005 emissions levels including LULUCF (GWP-100; IPCC AR5).

However, recently IMAZON´s monitoring system has detected frequent signs of forest degradation due basically to selective extraction of timber and damage caused by fires, which have intensified in the region. In addition, as of 2016, the federal government has yielded to pressure from rural property owners and revoked protection of important forest areas in the region. Consequences are yet to be determined.

Learn More

Sources in Portuguese

Sources in English

DIEDERICHSEN, Anita; GATTI, Gustavo; NUNES, Sâmia; PINTO, Andréia (2017). Diagnostic of Key Success Factors for Forest Landscape Restoration. Municipality of Paragominas and the State of Pará – A component of the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM) Belém, PA: Conserve Brasil e IMAZON. 84 pgs. Available at


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