All grain production (corn, rice, soybeans, beans), fiber (cotton, cellulose) and agroenergy fields (sugarcane, energy forests) occupy only 9% of the country. Rural producers preserve more native vegetation areas into their rural properties (20.5% of the Brazilian territory) than all conservation units together (13%).
These data, provided by Embrapa, result mainly from the tabulated information of the Rural Environmental Cadastre (CAR, in portuguese), created by 12.651/12 Law, known as The New Forest Code, which has just completed five years. More than 4.1 million rural properties, totaling over 410 million hectares, were registered at the Brazilian Forest Service until May 2017.
Farmers have detailed on a map, based on satellite images, all their land use and occupation, in accordance with the Code. Comparing to the Income Tax Declaration, it is like the taxpayer would have to inform, on the house plan, how each furniture piece is disposed and which use is attributed to each room. In the Amazon, for example, the taxpayer would have to make clear that 80% of the property is not used, it’s set apart as a legal reserve. But he takes care and pays taxes on all area, even on the 80% portion he is forbidden to use.
Considering its agricultural area registered at CAR, is possible to confirm that Brazilian producers preserve much more than conservation units. In the Brazilian Southern region for example, the farmers preserve 26% of the land, number well above what’s required there by the Forest Code (20% in that region).
MIRANDA, Evaristo Eduardo de. Native Vegetation Well Protected by Brazilian Farmers. Bayer Crop Science Blog, 2017.