Conservation Strategy Fund helps local conservationists use economic tools to find smart, efficient solutions to the most urgent environmental problems. Since its creation in 1998, CSF has conducted dozens of analysis projects in forests, rivers and coastal environments. Most of our work has focused in the tropics, where extraordinarily high levels of biological diversity are found. To maximize the reach and quality of our work, we involve leading experts and conservation organizations in all of our projects.

Promoting the Brazilian native vegetation conservation: Recommendations for Environmental Reserve Quotas (CRAs) Implementation

CSF-Brazil is conducting a study on Environmental Reserve Quotas (CRAs) implementation in Maranhão state (MA) and opportunities in Bahia (BA) and Tocantins (TO) in the Cerrado (Brazilian savanna) biome. The study aims to support MA in the CRAs market implementation and to promote dialogue and the sharing of experiences with implementation among MA, BA and TO, with the ultimate goal of promoting ecosystems conservation in a more economically efficient and environmentally sound way.

Rural properties in Brazil must maintain at least 20% of their total land area with native vegetation. These areas are called “Legal Reserves” (LR). However, many properties have yet to meet these requirements consequently creating a deficit of LR. Established in 2012 by the Forest Code, the CRA is one of the Brazilian law compliance mechanisms, easing the compensation of the deficit in non-deficit areas. The Forest Code is the most important environmental law in Brazil, which regulates how the soil should be used, how much forest needs to be preserved and how land can be used. The CRA program eases the LF compensation via the creation of a market through which landowners, with LR deficits from as early as 2008, can meet their legal obligations by purchasing quotas from properties having surplus. This market mechanism has also the potential to generate economic incentives, thus becoming a very efficient conservation tool for native vegetation areas with high environmental value.

The project is comprised of four key steps:

1. Dialogue on the economics of Forest Code implementation

In August 2018, CSF-Brazil, the Forest Code Observatory (OCF) and the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (Funbio) facilitated the event "Dialogue on economic instruments and ecological identity for the Forest Code implementation". The dialogue intended to provide a forum to discuss possible ways of implementing the provisions of the Forest Code (Law 12.651 / 2012), including economic incentives, Legal Reserves (LRs) compensation and the ecological identity requirement for compensation - according to the ruling of the Supreme Court Federal Court (STF) in February 2018 - specifically for the Environmental Reserve Quotas (CRAs) market.

2. Technical report with recommendations for the implementation on the CRA market in MA

We are writing a technical report to provide information and technical support to the government of MA regarding the CRA market.

3. Policy Brief describing different scenarios on law compliance

We will compare the compliance costs under different scenarios, and present it a Policy Brief to facilitate communication with landowners and governments on efficiency gains from implementing a CRA market.

4. Experiences exchange among MA, BA And TO

We will organize a webinar with representatives of MA, BA and TO states, to exchange experiences and discuss the study results, capacity building, and CRA implementation.

Our intention for this study is to provide data for Cerrado protection, both by providing incentives for landowners in high biodiversity areas to not engage in agricultural production, and by allowing farmers in biologically unimportant areas to fulfill their legal obligations for protection in areas where doing so will have a greater impact.

Stay tuned for our Technical Report and Policy Brief coming soon.

This project is being developed in partnership with the Forest Code Observatory (OCF) and the Brazilian Fund for Biodiversity (FUNBIO), with financial support from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).

For more information about CSF-Brazil’s analysis on different CRA implementation scenarios in the state of Bahia, northeastern Brazil, please click here. Read about another study that aimed to identify the best strategies for the efficient operation of the CRA mechanisms within and among states here.

Photo: Alta Floresta.
Photo credit: Leonardo Fleck.