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November 16, 2017

Germany and U.K. join with Mato Grosso to Combat Deforestation

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The governments of Germany and the United Kingdom have entered into contracts with the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil to combat illegal deforestation and to promote sustainable agricultural and livestock production, reforestation, and support for family farmers and indigenous communities.

The contracts were signed by the governor of Mato Grosso, the vice-governor and the state environmental secretary at a recent event in Bonn, Germany that brought together state governors from the Amazon Region, non-government organizations, and environmentalists to debate and develop strategies and actions to reduce carbon emissions.

Mato Grosso was chosen as a participant because it is the leading producer of soybeans, corn, cotton, and cattle in Brazil while still maintaining a significant portion of the state in its native rainforest. Most of the agricultural production in the state occurs in the cerrado regions of the state (savanna), but agricultural has been encroaching on the rainforest regions as well.

These actions are being taken to help combat global warming caused by carbon emissions. Deforestation is a significant source of carbon emissions because the burning of the forest releases carbon and then the tress are no longer available to absorb carbon from the atmosphere.

According to the Environmental Minister of Norway, Vidar Helgesen, Brazil is a key country in achieving the goals set by the Paris Climate Accords. He feels that without Brazil, the goals set in Paris for reduced carbon emissions cannot be met. That is why Norway is contributing financial support to the undertaking.

The value of the two contracts signed in Bonn totaled R$ 178 million reals or approximately $55 million dollars. These programs are going to be administered by Brazilian Fund for Biodiversity

The state government of Mato Grosso has emphasized to the international community their commitment to reducing emissions by reducing deforestation. During the last three years, the state has made the investments needed to better monitor deforestation in the state. These investments have paid off. The Environmental Secretary of the state has indicated that the state has identified 280,000 hectares that have been illegally cleared and they have levied R$ 380 million in fines.

Deforestation in the state declined 16% in 2016 and it is expected to decline another 10% in 2017 according to latest assessment from the Brazilian National Space Research Institute (Inpe). Over the last ten years, deforestation in the state has declined 80% from an average of 5,714 square kilometers per year between 2001 and 2010 (1,410,000 acres) to 1,216 square kilometers in 2016 (300,000 acres). The goal of the program is to end illegal deforestation by the year 2020.

While the amount of deforestation in the state still seems large, the state of Mato Grosso is an extremely large state. Mato Grosso is basically the same size the U.S. Midwest. Every acre of the three biggest crops in the U.S., soybeans, corn, and wheat could fit inside of Mato Grosso. It is the most important agricultural state in Brazil in terms of row crop and cattle production and it straddles the transition between the cerrado regions of central Brazil and the rainforest of the Amazon Region.