The UK Government is giving £10 million to a joint project to tackle deforestation in Brazil, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman announced today (Sunday 4 December 2011) at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa.
The funding will support a project based in the Cerrado, central Brazil, and aims to reduce rates of deforestation by supporting environmental registration of rural properties and by helping farmers restore vegetation on illegally cleared land. It will also fund measures to prevent and manage forest fires.
Speaking at the conference on International Forest Day, Mrs Spelman said:
“The Cerrado is rich in biodiversity and yet, alarmingly, it has almost halved in size, because of wild fires and the demand for agricultural products. If we’re going to stop the loss of biodiversity, we need to protect our forests – which house the majority of the world’s wildlife. We won’t succeed in tackling climate change unless we deal with deforestation.
“The £10 million funding I’m announcing today will help farmers in the Cerrado to restore natural habitats, reduce forest fires, and ease the pressure for more deforestation to provide land for agriculture in the Cerrado.”
Izabella Teixeira, Brazilian Environment Minister, welcomed the bilateral cooperation:
“In past years, Brazil has been leading a consistent policy to reduce deforestation. In the Amazon region, we managed to reduce deforestation from 27 thousand km² in 2004 to 7 thousand km² in 2010, a 75% decrease. This successful experience in the Amazon has inspired us to broaden it to other affected regions, such as the Cerrado, the Brazilian savannah. In this context, we welcome the timely cooperation between Brazil and the United Kingdom, in line with the Brazilian interest to protect its forests and eradicate poverty”.
The Cerrado biome in central Brazil covers almost one quarter, or 2.04 million km2, of the country. It is home to 5% of the planet’s biodiversity and is one of the most biodiverse savannas in the world. The area is considered to be one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots by Conservation International.