Forest Code Monitoring Portal updated with environmental regularisation data in Brazil

BVRio has significantly enhanced the information available on Brazilian states’ compliance with the Forest Code via an update to the Forest Code Monitoring Portal. This crucial tool, which promotes data transparency on adherence to the Environmental Regularisation Programme (PRA), helps foster a deeper understanding of the environmental regularisation of rural properties in Brazil. 

With an intuitive design, the portal provides essential transparency for identifying the states acting in line with the precepts established by the Forest Code about issuing specific PRA rules in their territories. According to BVRio Legal Manager, Daniela Pires e Albuquerque, “there is no proper publicising of compliance with the legal provisions established by the Brazilian Native Vegetation Protection Law. Fortunately, civil society has been helping to provide this necessary transparency, as is the case with the Forest Code Monitoring Portal, where it is possible to make an individualised consultation by state, downloading each state’s normative instrument.”

The PRA is a set of actions aimed at the environmental compliance of rural properties in accordance with the Forest Code Law (12.651/2012). Joining the PRA can be challenging for many rural landowners, who often have questions about how to proceed. The programme offers several options for regularising properties, such as restoring and reforesting APPs, offsetting Legal Reserve areas and proving consolidated use. These actions guarantee legal compliance and generate economic benefits, such as carbon credits and payments for Environmental Services (PSA), among other initiatives.

Although the process has advanced, state PRA regulations vary widely. The update highlights these differences, showing a map with three levels of implementation. Ten states have regulated and are operating the PRA, while eleven have regulated but have yet to see effective adherence by rural landowners. Another six states have yet to regulate the PRA.

Since the last update, some states have made significant strides. For instance, Alagoas has regulated and initiated the PRA in 2023, a positive development that instils hope for the future of the programme. This progress, as reported by the Climate Policy Initiative’s ‘Where We Are in CAR Implementation’ report, was a result of increased staff at the Alagoas Environment Institute (IMA/AL) and the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office’s pressure to expedite the analysis of the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR). With these concerted efforts, Alagoas has emerged as one of the leading states in effectively implementing the Forest Code, painting an optimistic picture for the future of the PRA.

Other states have also shown progress. São Paulo regulated and implemented the PRA, with two Terms of Commitment signed in 2023. After regulating and operationalising the PRA, the Federal District began restoring Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs) with native vegetation. Minas Gerais has regulated and implemented the PRA, with 118 Terms of Commitment signed by December 2023.

However, some states still face challenges. Although the PRA has been regulated in Amazonas, it is uncertain whether it is actually in operation. The Amazonas Institute for Sustainable Agricultural and Forestry Development (IDAM) created an Environmental Regularisation Centre to deal with the issue, but the effectiveness of implementation remains to be determined. In Paraná, there are inconsistencies in the available data even with the PRA regulated and in operation.

The information underscores the complexity of implementing the PRA in Brazil and the urgent need for continued efforts to ensure adherence to the programme and the environmental regularisation of rural properties. In 2023, the President of the Republic, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, sanctioned a law that extended the deadline for rural landowners to adhere to the PRA, giving them more time to adapt to the legislation. However, in some states, producers’ resistance to committing to environmental regularisation and a lack of knowledge about productive and multifunctional solutions for forest restoration poses significant challenges, highlighting the need for collective action and support.