Here’s everything you need to know about the Brazilian forestry legislation


Brazilian agriculture and livestock activities are committed to the strictest environmental legislation in the world, combined with a sustainable and robust energy transition, and the most ambitious low-carbon tropical agriculture policy.
Although Brazil has very sophisticated laws to ensure forest preservation, we have gathered the main aspects of our Forest Code to make more people aware of our responsibility to the planet, as you can read below:

Preservation in private areas

The Brazilian forestry legislation has ensured a huge environmental asset in private areas, resulting in the farming sector preserving 33% of the country’s territory. In the forestry domain, for at least 48 years rural landowners must preserve a significant portion of their land, complying with the Forest Code, a strict law that aims to promote production combined with preservation.

Respecting every biome

Brazil is a country of continental proportions. This large area is home to six major biomes: Amazon, Atlantic Forest, Cerrado, Caatinga, Pampa, and Pantanal. Wherever they are, farmers must set aside at least one-fifth of their land for native vegetation.

This figure increases to 35% in the Cerrado biome and to 80% in the Amazon. The Forest Code also forbids clearing primary vegetation from steep slopes and along the banks of rivers and streams, all of which are classified as “areas of permanent protection.”

Permanent monitoring

The Code is enforced using Brazil’s Rural Environmental Registry (Cadastro Ambiental Rural – CAR). Registration on this electronic database is mandatory for all rural properties in the country, and almost 100% of all properties have complied with it and been registered by 2020.

The CAR allows for effective monitoring of all registered properties, as well as for applying enforcement actions. For instance, those who do not comply with the Forest Code will be denied easy access to credit by any of Brazil’s rural lending institutions.

Optimistic results

Complying with the Forest Code is part of the duties of rural landowners who have been contributing to deforestation reduction. Currently, 49% of the Cerrado biome is preserved — 28.9% of that are on private property. In the Amazon biome, 84.1% of the native vegetation is preserved, 22.4% of which is in rural properties.

By 2020, reducing deforestation in the Cerrado biome exceeded the voluntary goal of 40%, reaching 53.2%. In the Amazon biome, the reduction was 43% from the 80% proposed by 2020, which still represents an improvement from 2012. The country does not only need to fight illegal deforestation but also invest in Low Carbon Emission Agriculture (ABC). Around 52 million hectares have implemented these technologies in Brazil.