Rigor in environmental licenses and support for environmental education can be the solution to protect forests

Posted in: 07/17/2023

Environmentalists, specialists and public authorities have faced great challenges in protecting forests . That’s because, in 2021 alone, there were more than 16,000 kilometers of deforestation throughout the national territory, according to the annual deforestation report in Brazil , developed by Mapbiomas. 

When looking separately, the Legal Amazon , which includes the nine states belonging to the Amazon basin, was the most affected region in 2021, with more than 13 thousand kilometers of deforested areas , according to data from the TerraBrasilis platform, which gathers data from all Brazilian biomes and the PRODES project, responsible for carrying out one of the satellite monitoring of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon forest. 

The state of Pará was the most impacted, with 40% of the total deforested in the Legal Amazon. Followed by the states of Amazonas (17.69%), Mato Grosso (16.97%), Rondônia (12.83%), Acre (6.82%), Maranhão (2.68%), Roraima (2.42 %), Tocantins (0.28%) and Amapá (0.13%). 

In addition to the Legal Amazon, other forest areas need protection, such as the Mata de Cocais , located between the states of Maranhão, Piauí and northern Tocantins, which is threatened by the growth of livestock in the region. 

The Atlantic Forest lost, between 2021 and 2022, more than 20,000 hectares of forest , with negative emphasis on the states of Minas Gerais (7,456), Bahia (5,719), Paraná (2,883), Mato Grosso do Sul (1,115) and Santa Catarina (1,041) – which, together, account for 91% of deforestation in the Atlantic Forest , according to the Atlas of Forest Remains of the Atlantic Forest , developed by Fundação SOS Mata Atlântica , together with INPE (National Institute for Special Research). 

Toucan in the middle of the forest. Photo: Adobe Stock
Deforestation threatens the existence of the natural habitat of animals. Photo: Adobe Stock

Protecting forests depends on society’s actions and engagement 

In June of this year, the Chamber of Deputies discussed the Green Heritage Bill (PL) , which seeks to encourage, through tax benefits , companies, male and female rural producers to preserve forests. The PL aims to show how beneficial it can be to keep the forests standing . 

The Amazon Fund , created in 2008, was resumed in 2023 and plans to use R$ 3.3 billion in international donations to finance projects to protect the biome and combat deforestation. The current president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, points out that the richest countries have the responsibility to finance protection projects, as a way of repairing the damage caused. 

In addition, NGOs and foundations have been active in the conservation of forests through monitoring , studies, projects and support to public bodies , for diagnosis and improvement of environmental legislation . 

However, the actions developed over the years have faced barriers with the loosening of environmental licenses that hindered the unregulated exploitation of forests. To combat exploratory actions , Ibama, together with the Ministry of the Environment, has used technical parameters in order to obtain greater rigor in the release of environmental licenses. 

The impact of environmental licenses to protect forests 

When requesting environmental operating licenses , some institutions have the task of promoting training programs and projects on environmental education for their collaborators. 

This allows for environmental management based on skills and knowledge capable of protecting forests and other natural resources . It even enables greater articulation with society on environmental issues, since they can be part of the learning process. 

Licensed institutions also need to develop proposals to mitigate the impacts caused and carry out environmental compensation . Thus, the processes of repairing and protecting forests become more effective. 

SDG12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG13 – Climate action

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