Who says money does not grow on trees?

November 2014 became a landmark for farmers Fernando Mendes. After ten years of trying to rectify the situation of their 5000 hectare estate stuck in Grande Sertão Veredas National Park in Bahia, it finally will be compensated, allowing you to leave the protected area and move on to another activity, in a place far away.

Still undergoing adjustments in trading, Mendes makes calculations aloud as you can get. He says at least be 12 per hectare soybean sacks. The current share price, this would represent nearly R $ 3 million for the lot. Less than he would like and perhaps the fact that land worth if agricultural production had not been banned there, but enough to turn the page.

Unlike other cases of compensation (relatively few, so far) decreed protected areas, will not be the state who will pay the bill. Mendes is addressing the issue with a group of soybean farmers in the municipality of Luis Eduardo Magalhaes, whose farms have forest deficit and now seek regularization from the standpoint of innovative tools enhanced by the new Forest Code.

The case of Mendes is what is called donation – the landowner deficit of Legal Reserve (percentage of native vegetation that should be preserved) buys the equivalent of your other private area of ​​passive located in a protected area and donates to the State , settling their environmental debt. It is a triangulation where everyone wins – the farmer because settles his estate, who is in the park because it is compensated, and the government, which gets rid of the obligation to expropriate.

“I am convinced that this is the way. The state never would indemnify me,” says Mendes, who acquired the farm six months before the federal government enact it as strictly protected area in 2004 for its ecological significance and beauty.
In this agreement, six farmers will make a donation to the Institute Chico Mendes, administrator Grande Sertao Veredas in the first case of a collective compensation of the country. Under Brazilian law, they need to keep 35% of the property with native Cerrado vegetation. Leandro Aranha, director of Geoflorestas, advice which showed seller to buyers, estimates that the forestry deficit shall be between 12% and 16% of the total area of ​​25 hectares of property.

It is not just the fate of a farmer is at stake. What happens in Luis Eduardo Magalhaes is emblematic. With 3 million hectares with crops, the municipality is the largest grain producer in the Northeast and one of the largest cotton in the country. An environmental initiative of success there, so it could have the multiplier power to give scale to forest regulation, putting Brazil on the road to sustainability demanded by international buyers and dreamed by environmentalists.

“If this project goes well, the thing takes off. Very farmer will compensate within the park because the idea is really interesting,” says Marcelino Kuhnen, director of the rural municipality union.

The donation of forests begins to gain traction thanks to approval of the new Forest Code, which institutionalized the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) and brought clarity to the environmental regulation process. With better defined rules, it became possible to think in the pricing of national forests. Not surprisingly, the acronym has placed Brazilian agribusiness in an uproar.

Mandatory for all landowners in Brazil, the CAR is an online registry of the federal government where the producer inserts images with geographic coordinates of the property and all that relates to it – Consolidated rural area, presence of rivers, forests, roads and installations. “It’s the rural x-ray,” says Raimundo Deusdará, director of Forest Development and Inclusion of the Brazilian Forest Service. With an extra step: to register, the system has already asked the producer how he intends to make up for the deficit of forest property, tying the settlement on the spot.

Since it was regulated in May, the CAR accumulated just over 500 000 registered properties. In western Bahia, 35% of arable land is already registered – which helps explain why the compensation began to be structured in Luis Eduardo Magalhaes. Other states are going well, like Mato Grosso.

It is small compared to the size of Brazil and the deadline for registration (May 5, 2015). Experts said the delay was mainly due to farmer’s culture to see what the neighbors are doing and then do the same. “The bottleneck is still the mistrust of the producer. When came the new law, he was penalized. Now, he fears that makes the statement, the government will charge a fine for environmental liability,” says Daniel Ramalho, the Secretariat biodiversity coordinator Environment of São Paulo, State of just over 26,000 properties registered.

Created to be a tool primarily for environmental management, the CAR will help solve another big problem: the management of the territory. This is because, when all 5.6 million Brazilian farms are mapped, you can create a picture of the “no fotoshop”, ending the overlapping farms, today one of the largest legal locks for investments. The expectation is that with the registration, you can also identify forest and massive production – and hence green and expansion of priority crop areas.

“We’re talking about the beginning of an environmental and territorial revolution in this country,” says Izabella Teixeira, Minister of Environment.

“It is the beginning of an environmental and territorial revolution in this country,” says Minister Izabella Teixeira
Despite misgivings, the perception is that the registration is no going back. After the official deadline, agricultural commodity buyers shall be binding negotiations to CAR. Abiove, association of vegetable oil industries, declared earlier this year, replacing the Soy Moratorium (who preaches zero deforestation) for the environmental registration. Who do not have it, is likely to stick with their own crop in hand.

The rope tends to squeeze more from 2017, when banks are prevented by law from granting credit to those who do not present the CAR.

To speed up this process, trade unions, cooperatives and associations already articulated around the country meeting to clarify what is the record, their risks and opportunities.
With 22 thousand members in São Paulo and Minas Triangle, the Coopercitrus held 44 meetings with producers this year. Fernando Degobbi, marketing director of the group, says that the understanding of the subject is moving. “Who has most property is more concerned,” he says, referring to the 8% associated with areas larger than 300 hectares. “Smaller still have many questions about the CAR.”
In partnership with Biofílica consultancy that helps Coopercitrus at work, the volume of CAR of members is growing, and is expected to have 100% of the registered linked to the term of the law.

According Degobbi, each CAR would cost R $ 800 – to Santander make a proposal. With an eye on expanding its share of the rural credit market and in the Brazilian retail, the bank offered to pay for half the cost of registration to the cooperative – as long as the cooperative has or, better yet, open with them a checking account.
“If it works out,” says Walmir Segatto, Santander agribusiness superintendent, “the initiative can be replicated. It is the bank’s interest to have regularized customers.”

For the federal government, interest in the CAR done collectively to be a trade or business trend. Suzano Pulp and Paper, Me (agricultural cooperative of Goias) and Biosev, the sugar and ethanol segment also adopted the strategy, with the mapping of owned and leased areas.

Already environmental consultancies look ahead. If the registration is good, the regularization of the property will be better. “The CAR is the first step. But we must think of the settlement,” says Plinio Ribeiro, executive director of Biofílica.
Luis Eduardo Magalhaes showed interest to compensate its forest deficit in Grande Sertao Veredas by proximity and opportunity. The Forest Code provides that compensation is made in the same state or biome – in the case of western Bahia, the Cerrado – and as Mendes, at least 200 families still live in the park. Therefore offer exists.

But offset liabilities in protected areas is not the only alternative. The first, and often the least attractive is the forest replanting in the property. The tip of the pencil, few will find economic advantage in exchange for soy tree. Another mode is the servitude – the stock of rental surplus of forests in other private property. Soon, you can also negotiate forests stocks in the futures market, through the Environmental Reserve Quota (CRAs), similar to what occurs in the agricultural commodities market.

In any case, it is better the producer to ensure fast. “Who let lastly, will pay more for the forest,” says Spider, the Geoflorestas.

In the Amazon and the Cerrado the native vegetation inventories are still high, the same can not be said about the Atlantic Forest and Pampa, where agricultural production is consolidated and the remaining forests are limited.
Like any fledgling market, forest prices are still forming. Who dictates how much is your lot of trees is the seller; pay anyone or has no choice. The Biofílica, for example, provides for the handling of up to R $ 50 billion in the coming years in transactions with native forests in the country.
“The forest will have a lot of value and we are beginning to understand it,” says Degobbi, the Coopercitrus. According to him, the cheapest option of environmental regulation today is servitude. “The hectare of sugarcane in Trough region can reach $ 40,000. The forest in the Ribeira Valley, US $ 8000. You may come a time when the price of the forest standing hectare is so high that worth the worth regenerate. But that’s not the case. ”

It will be up to the states to define the compensation priorities, taking into account the most fragile areas from the ecological point of view and gene flow, among other things.

In general, protected areas appear as good alternative, depending on the biome. In the Atlantic Forest, this option is uncertain due to lack of land ownership. This is what prevents the expropriation of the Serra do Mar, says Ramalho, the São Paulo government. According to the Chico Mendes Institute, however, there are 5 million hectares of private land in areas protected by the federation that can be traded, and the questions about them have increased post-Forest Code. The Brazilian territorial map finally begins to gain more accurate green tones.

Source: Economic Value (http://www.valor.com.br/agro/3781080/quem-disse-que-dinheiro-nao-da-em-arvore)

Read more at: http://www.geoflorestas.com.br/noticias/Quem said that money does not grow on trees – Economic Value 17.11.2014.11.2014.pdf

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