Rio de Janeiro’s Forest Forum puts reforestation plan forward in a document for State government candidates

BVRio, as a member of the Coordination Council of the Forest Dialogue, endorses a plan presented by Rio de Janeiro’s Forest Forum (FFF) on 2 August to the candidates for State government in this year’s elections, a document with eight proposals to leverage the reforestation policy in Rio de Janeiro. The 50 entities from the public and private sectors that compose Rio’s Forest Forum propose, inter alia, the creation of specific credit lines for the forestry sector, incentives for Private Natural Heritage Reserves (RPPN) and a waiving of requirements for environmental licensing for silviculture activities (forest cultivation).

According to Beto Mesquita, BVRio’s Forests and Public Policies Director, and member of the Coordination Council of the Forest Dialogue, the proposals presented by the Forest Forum aim to take advantage of the natural vocation of hundreds of thousands of hectares located in the state for forest production and recovery. Comprising huge areas with a green deficit, Rio has 2.3 million hectares of pastureland, generally underused or abandoned. Data also points to a gigantic dormant potential: the state has 300 thousand hectares suitable for planting forests, which could generate 150 thousand jobs.

“These are economically marginal areas, which are neither producing food nor generating work and income, and if they are not reforested, they will contribute to erosion, landslides and floods.” In his opinion, as a forest engineer and member of the working group that systematised the proposals, “if these areas are not allocated to forest plantations with productive and ecological purposes, it means losses for the economy and Rio de Janeiro’s society.” highlights Beto.

The Forum’s executive secretary, Jorge Alonso, said the agenda was widely debated in meetings open to civil society. “The Forum advocates for the candidate’s commitment to the design and implementation of a State Plan for Forest Restoration, as well as the updating of the State’s database, which is quite outdated. The document is not an end in itself. It is being launched to be continuously improved and debated.” said Alonso. Active since 2008, Rio de Janeiro’s Forest Forum (FFF) is a permanent space for debate and the proposition of solutions regarding protection, production and forest recuperation and other themes related to land use throughout Rio.

Credit: Disclosure. Members of the Working Group that systematised the proposals of the FFF.

Niterói City Mayor, Axel Grael, who is a forestry engineer and coordinator of the government programme of candidate Rodrigo Neves (PDT) praised the proposals and favoured a green ‘new deal’ in Rio, with a focus on sewerage and the reforestation of water sources. “Conservation units should be part of the state’s development strategy. The forest is worth it, destruction is not.”

Rogério Rocco, an attorney specialising in environmental policy, is the coordinator of candidate Marcelo Freixo’s (PSB) environmental programme and highlighted Rio’s leading role in the green agenda. “Rio is the state with the most significant number of national parks; the capital is home to the country’s largest forest genetic bank, Tijuca Forest. Our candidacy stands for the proposals presented with permanent dialogue and the construction of policies supported by organised societies.”

The complete document, only available in Portuguese, can be found here.

Source: edited with information from the Forest Dialogue Press Office.