Potential impacts of changes to Brazilian Forest Code in campos rupestres and campos de altitude
Keywords:endemism, environmental legislation, legal reserve, rural properties, grasslands
AbstractThe Brazilian campos rupestres and campos de altitude are characterized by mosaics of vegetation types and are better represented above 900 m in the Espinhaço Range and above 1500-2000 m in the Serra do Mar and Serra da Mantiqueira. They bear high species richness at local and regional scales and numerous relicts and endemisms. These montane refuges, which are of particular interest to conservation in various ways, such as recharge and water regulation, control of erosion and sedimentation, biological singularity and recreational and spiritual values, are facing various threats such as erosion and soil instability, urban and agriculture sprawl, fires, removal of ornamental plants and mining. Moreover, these refuges are among the most vulnerable Brazilian ecosystems to global climate change, because the simple fact that with increasing temperature there is no possibility to migrate to higher altitudes. This paper discusses the potential impacts of the proposed new Brazilian Forest Code, currently under discussion in the Congress, for the conservation of biodiversity in these environments. Particularly we analyze the consequences of the removal of areas above 1800 m and on the hill tops as Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs), the reducing on the minimum width of the riparian vegetation and the exemption to smallholders of the conservation of native vegetation on their lands ("Legal Reserves"). Such proposals seem to assume that there is great individual injury on behalf of a very diffuse collective benefit, but do not consider the direct benefits of the current instruments of the Code to rural land owners. The losses of biodiversity and ecosystem services (e.g., water supply, presence of pollinators, natural pest control and timber and non-wood resources) with the conversion of habitat that may result from those changes are disproportionate to the potential economic benefit. The instruments proposed on the new Code, ultimately, lead to a model of space occupation with strong contrasts, it means, fully protected areas, such as parks and biological reserves, alternated with extensive areas devoid of vegetation except thin riparian forests. Such a scenario is detrimental to the conservation of biodiversity and for agricultural production, especially to smallholders, who benefit directly from environmental services.
How to Cite
Ribeiro, K. T., & Freitas, L. (2010). Potential impacts of changes to Brazilian Forest Code in campos rupestres and campos de altitude. Biota Neotropica, 10(4). Retrieved from https://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/BN/article/view/739