Brazil’s forests just received a little extra protection, thanks to agreed funding for the REDD-plus initiative.
REDD+ stands for ‘reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation and sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks’ and it was green lit for backing (in the form of first results-based payments) by the Green Climate Fund at its 22nd Board meeting.
Arguments between environmental groups and commercial entities have taken place for decades within the country. Deforestation hit a peak in the mid ’90s, with the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies citing forests amounting to 11,200 square miles – an area the size of Belgium – being cut down by loggers, farmers and cattle ranchers in 1995. Since that period, numerous campaigns and legislation were drafted in an attempt to curb the destruction, however, recent figures show that deforestation is, once again, on the rise.
Concerns relating to the environmental wellbeing of Brazilian forests and natural habitats have also increased since last year, when new president, Jair Bolsonaro, was sworn in.
The current forest protection developments, which were announced by the United Nations Climate Change department on March 5th, will offer financial support which would allow select areas to be preserved.
The REDD+ initiative is based on a series of parameters outlined by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and is designed to ‘provide payments to developing countries for keeping their forests rather than converting them to plantations or grazing land.’
Reducing deforestation, responsible for up to 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions, is crucial for the international community to achieve its goal under the Paris Climate Change Agreement to keep the global average temperature rise to as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius. – United Nations Climate Change
The report outlined that, ‘following the Warsaw Framework for REDD-plus adopted at the UN Climate Change Conference COP19, Brazil is the first country to voluntary submit and have a forest reference emission level technical assessed and also the first country to submit REDD-plus results in a technical annex to the Biennial Update Report (BUR) for technical analysis and now the first country to receive results-based payments from the Green Climate Fund.’
The allocation of 96 million USD for emission reductions achieved for the period 2014-2015 is part of the GCF piloting of REDD+ results-based payments. The funding will be used by Brazil to pilot an environmental service incentive program for conservation and recovery of native vegetation (known as “Floresta+”) and for strengthening the implementation of Brazil’s REDD-plus strategy, all contributing to the achievement of Brazil’s national climate action plan (“Nationally Determined Contribution”, or “NDC”). – United Nations Climate Change
Brazil is currently experiencing its highest levels of deforestation in a decade, with illegal logging and agriculture on the increase. 7,900 sq km of the Amazon rainforest were cut down in 2018 alone – a 13.7% rise on the previous year. With an irreplaceable ecosystem, home to as of yet undiscovered flora and fauna, drastic action will be required if it is to survive the continued onslaught of industry.