Despite economic growth and agriculture development fueled by high commodity prices, Brazil has experienced relatively low deforestation rates in the Amazon, reported Envolverde. Deforestation rates in the Amazon peaked during the period August 2003-July 2004 (27,379 km²), but dropped to 11,224 km² during the same period in 2006-2007. This was the second lowest annual deforestation rate registered since the control system was implemented in 1988. However, from August to November 2007, the rate jumped 10% compared to the same period in 2006.
The decreasing rate over the last three years was due to several factors, such as government plans to control deforestation in the Amazon in 2004, stricter sanctions applied to illegal activities, the establishment of new conservation areas and actions taken by consumers’ and environmentalists’ campaigns. However, economic factors were identified as one of the major determinants putting pressure on the Amazon, due to low prices for soybeans and the limited expansion of agriculture and cattle ranching.
The government will concentrate efforts against deforestation in 32 municipalities with the largest deforested areas in the last few years. To kick start the efforts, a governmental decree in December 2007 included provisions that landowners must register their properties with precise measurements using new technologies and proper monitoring. Violators are now subject to penalties such as losing access to bank credit, losing property and additional fines. In addition, illegal deforestation will result in an embargo being placed on the land and its production capabilities, which means that the penalty will be applied to buyers of animals or products coming from the identified area.