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Environmental Sustainability

Environmental sustainability to develop the environment in a way that does not damage the quality
for future generations
Green Tax Free Zone Program (ZFV), Brazil
1. What is happening to the rate of deforestation?
It is decreasing, for example in 2003 the amazon deforestation was 1558 and in 2009 it went down to
405.
2. What percentage of Amazonas is currently rainforest? How much of this is under protection?
98% is rainforest, 51% is protected.
3. Describe the location of the Amazonas. What are the main threats?
Amazonas is in the center of South America, or the northwestern point of Brazil. The most important
drivers of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, which can be found in Amazonian states and areas with
high deforestation rates, derive from the economics of agricultural frontier expansion. Other reasons for
deforestation could be the industrial growth and mining in the forest. This industrial growth also creates
roads which can lead to urban sprawl, furthering the deforestation.
4. What is the Green Tax Free Zone Program? The ZFV also increased protected area and
improved environmental regulations and policing. Why are these also important?
The ZFV program had policies aimed at reducing deforestation should place less emphasis on policing
and more on financially rewarding those who keep their forests standing. The objective was to add
tangible value to forest products and environmental services, so that forest management became more
economically attractive than agriculture or cattle ranching.
5. Describe the successes of the ZFV.
Reducing deforestation: during the period of 2003-2008, annual deforestation rates were reduced by
70%
Protected area coverage: the total area increased by over 135%
Improving quality of life: prices received for key forest and fisheries products significantly increased in
this period. Education and health, as well as other social program, also experienced major gains.
6. How did changing tax incentives increase business for rainforest products?
Eliminated taxes on non-timber products. More money was made from harvesting products that were
not made from timber.
7. How did timber management reduce illegal logging?
Value of legal timber is 4 times higher than illegal timber. Illegal timber would only earn about 200 real,
whereas legal makes 800 real per cubic meter.

8. What is Bolsa Floresta? What are the four components of Bolsa Floresta?
The first component is Bolsa Floresta - Income (BFI): this is an investment in income-generating activities
based on sustainable production in forests, fisheries, tourism, permaculture and agroforestry. In simple
terms, anything that generates income, is legal, and does not produce smoke. Investments (in kind) in
reserve had an average of R$ 140 thousand per year. The second component is Bolsa Floresta - Social
(BFS): this is an investment aimed at improving quality of life in communities, with a focus on education,
health, communication and transportation. Investments (in kind) in each reserve were at an average
level of R$ 140 thousand per year. The third component is Bolsa Floresta - Family (BFF): this is an R$ 50
monthly reward paid in cash to the mothers of families living in the Protected Areas, for their
commitment to zero deforestation, childrens education and the prevention of forest fires. Payments
are made directly onto a debit card held by the mother. The fourth component is Bolsa Floresta Association (BFA): this supports local grassroots organizations in improving local ownership of the
overall program. Associations of residents of Protected Areas receive support to strengthen their
organization, with a focus on office support (internet, solar panels, and computers), transportation
(speed boats) and logistics (fuel and food supplies). An average of R$ 12,000 per reserve per year is paid
through money transfers to the grassroots organizations.
9. Apart from the environment who else benefits from the scheme?
10. Why do you think it is important to involve the media in the program?
11. Can you think of any disadvantages of the ZFV program?

The forest is worth more standing than cut. In the Amazonas state of Brazil the government has
employed the Green Tax Free Zone, or ZFV Program, in order to counter the rapidly increasing
deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, and show the financial benefits of keeping the rainforest a living
ecosystem. It is a sustainable rainforest management program that began in 2003. The deforestation
needed to be stopped, as the Amazon rainforest is a very fragile and rare ecosystem. Amazonas is in the
center of South America, or the northwestern point of Brazil. The most important drivers of
deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, which can be found in Amazonian states and areas with high
deforestation rates, derive from the economics of agricultural frontier expansion. Other reasons for
deforestation could be the industrial growth and mining in the forest. This industrial growth also creates
roads which can lead to urban sprawl, furthering the deforestation.
The ZFV program had policies aimed at reducing deforestation should place less emphasis on policing
and more on financially rewarding those who keep their forests standing. The objective was to add
tangible value to forest products and environmental services, so that forest management became more
economically attractive than agriculture or cattle ranching. Those who agreed to live a deforestationfree lifestyle were called Bolsa Florestas, and were given incentives and benefits to maintain this
lifestyle. Another reason this strategy worked is through financial benefits for businesses, as the legal
and registered timber loggers make about four times more than the illegal loggers, at 800 real per cubic
meter rather than 200.
All of the problems that the ZFV was aimed at tackling were related to deforestation. They redirected
peoples lifestyles to become more sustainable economically but also for the rainforest. For example, in
their jobs they would make more money producing legally as mentioned earlier, or by producing nontimber products that were deemed as more sustainable and valuable. Groups were also given better
healthcare, education, and better infrastructure if the village was considered sustainable and was
helping to protect the rainforest. Some of the activities these groups were trying to stop were the illegal
loggers, the roads being built, and new villages being built. This is because as the illegal loggers cut down
the trees they build roads, which people use and begin to build around, furthering the deforestation
that all started with the loggers.
Overall, the ZFV has been very effective at stopping or slowing deforestation. This can be seen in
statistics clearly, such as 98% of the Amazonas state being rainforest, 51% of which is protected by a
form of government or an indigenous group. More people have also began to follow rules and register
their logging businesses, as it is more profitable with a higher income, but also more sustainable for the
rainforest and country as a whole. This is because there are normally regulations of how many trees can
be cut, or that they must replant the trees after they have been cut and relocate. The most convincing
evidence that the ZFV has been effective in the Amazonas state is the direct drop in the amount of
deforestation each year. It has gone from 1,558 km2 in 2003 to 405 km2 in 2009, and has continued
decreasing due to this program.