After more than a decade of wait and using the International Conference on Biofuels as a backdrop the Brazilian president signed a decree regulating Law 11,428 of December 22, 2006, regarding conservation and use of the biome of the Atlantic Forest.
The signing took place November 21, during a public ceremony that included the participation of president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and of ministers Carlos Minc (Environment) and Reinhold Stephanes (Agriculture), as well as environmentalists.
According to Carlos Minc, the Atlantic Forest Law took 14 years to be approved by the National Congress and has finally been regulated. Of the original area of the forest - around 1.35 million square kilometers, according to the limits stipulated for the biome in Federal Decree 750/93 and in the 1993 Map of Brazilian Vegetation produced by the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics -, just 7% is preserved in small areas distributed over 17 states in the country.
"The law defends our most sustainable biome. Preserving the Atlantic Forest, we preserve water, springs and the climate. The signing of the decree contributes for us to reach the target of zero deforestation and recovery of degraded areas, increasing from 7% to 27% the area of preserved woodland," said Minc.
For this, the minister pointed out the importance of joint work between states and cities. "The IBGE will soon disclose the current map of the area of application of the Atlantic Forest biome. Those who are legal, will continue legal, those who are illegal, will become even more illegal after the signing of the decree," he said.
"This is the first time that we are working together and this is because there was understanding that it is necessary to protect producing and to produce protecting," said Reinhold Stephanes, the minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply.
According to the minister, nowadays in Brazil it is no longer necessary to knock trees down to increase agricultural production. "It is just necessary to find a balance in areas already considered productive," he said.
To president Lula, regulation brings important innovations. "Firstly the detailing of kinds of vegetation protected by the Atlantic Forest Law. They should be limited in the map of the area for application of Law 11,428, elaborated by the IBGE. It contributes to reach the target of zero illegal deforestation of the Atlantic Forest, which still guarantees one of the main indices of diversity of plants and animals on the planet," he said.
"Last of all, advancing in the establishment of minimum requirements that should guide the elaboration of municipal plans for conservation and recovery of the Atlantic Forest, expanding and stimulating the participation of municipalities in the management of resources in the biome," he added.
Still according to the president, the government of Brazil should grant other dynamics to the question of environmental preservation, as it is very hard for the structures of the Ministry of Environment and Ibama to be responsible for 8.5 million square kilometers.
Apart from a plan for actions to seek greater involvement of the city halls in environmental preservation, the government plans to create a National Guard or forestry police to help in inspection. "Environmental preservation in not just an obligation of Carlos Minc, it must be a national policy for which all Brazilians are responsible," said Lula.