Deforestation in the Amazon: new studies with WWF Brazil

Requested by WWF Brazil, SITAWI produced two studies to guide the discussion and action for reducing deforestation in the Amazon. They are part of a series called Financial Flows With No Deforestation, WWF’s Living Amazon Initiative. The “Good Practice Guide for Financial Institutions” will assist in identifying and creating business opportunities against deforestation in Brazil and Colombia. The other study “Financial Opportunities in Reducing Deforestation” aims to help financial institutions from these countries to develop policies and stronger safeguards against deforestation, mitigating its risks.

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These institutions have a relevant role as they operate across economic activities, financing many of the sectors and projects in the Amazon region – including those who are among the main responsible for deforestation in both countries. Include this issue in policy and industry practices can help create free financial flows of deforestation, promoting a more sustainable economy.

Amazon region is one of the largest and most important biomes in the planet. Its territory of 6.7 million square kilometers is home to the largest rainforest in the world, extending over 8 countries, plus a ultramarine part in South America. However, this vastness is extremely fragile to human actions that cause ecological imbalance. Between 2001 and 2012, approximately 17.7 hectares were vanished, according to the WWF Living Forests Report 2015. Brazil accounted for 75% of this devastation.

The concern about deforestation is not only based on the increasing scarcity of natural resources that are vital for many local and serve as raw material for numerous products used by countries inside and outside the Amazon region communities. The Amazon also provides several environmental services that are responsible to protect and support different ecosystems such as climate control, regulation of hydrological cycles, among others.

Brazilian government intend to reduce its total emission, in comparison to 2005 figures, in 37% by 2025 and 43% by 2030. Additionally, up to this year, they intend to achieve zero illegal deforestation as well as restore 12 million hectares of native vegetation. Although emission has reduced significantly in the past years, emissions due to land use change, which very often are caused by deforestation, still account for one third of the total amount of greenhouse gas emission of Brazil. Moreover, a recent reversal of this process, especially in the Amazon, has increasingly drawn attention.

The studies were launched in September at the Social and Environmental Responsibility event in the Financial Sector and are available for free download. Access: http://sitawi.net/publicacoes?lang=en