BVRio launches tool giving visibility to rural properties that preserve native vegetation beyond what is mandatory

BVRio has launched ‘Forest Surplus’, an information dashboard created to draw attention to rural properties that protect forests, and other natural ecosystems, above the minimum area required by the Forest Code. This is another tool developed to integrate into the Forest Code Monitoring Portal, an initiative of the Forest Code Observatory in partnership with BVRio.

The information on the dashboard is obtained by cross-referencing data from the Rural Environmental Registry, where almost 7 million properties are registered, with recent information on the country’s land use and land cover (MapBiomas). BVRio identified more than 440,000 properties with surpluses of native vegetation, i.e., properties with forests and other forms of vegetation in excess of what is required by law.

These areas add up to at least 59.3 million hectares of surplus native vegetation, already discounting overlaps between properties, which are very common in SICAR, a self-declaratory register. These are areas that can be legally deforested. To achieve the goal of zero deforestation, public policies and private investment are needed so that these areas remain standing, healthy, and protected while providing the ecosystem services on which our development and well-being depend.

BVRio’s Director of Forests and Public Policies, Beto Mesquita, emphasises that not all areas of native vegetation that can be used as Environmental Servitude or for issuing Environmental Reserve Quotas (CRAs) were considered. “We chose to publish on the dashboard only those properties with areas of native vegetation that can be cleared with authorisation. In other words, not all the areas that can be used to compensate for Legal Reserve deficits are here, just those that are most at risk of disappearing.” 


How properties are included in the dashboard

The initial database used to feed the dashboard was drawn up by the Environmental Services Management Laboratory (LAGESA) at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, as part of a project in cooperation with the Forest Code Observatory. For technological reasons, only properties with at least 25 hectares of Native Vegetation Surplus (NVS) were considered.

From this base, BVRio crossed the polygons provided by LAGESA with the land use and native vegetation classes from MapBiomas (Collection 7), to quantify the number of properties with NVE, the total area of these properties and the area of NVE maintained by them.

Additionally, in order not to give visibility to areas that may not be private and to exclude those that, even if private, could not be cleared because they are within a publicly protected area, the Forests Surplus’ panel does not show properties that have been identified in total or partial overlap (at least 10% of the property’s total area) with the following areas:

  • Public domain conservation units (national, state and municipal natural parks; biological reserves; ecological stations; extractive reserves; national forests and state forests) – National Registry of Conservation Units and National Registry of Public Forests
  • Indigenous lands and reserves – Database: National Indian Foundation (FUNAI)
  • Quilombola territories – Databases: Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics and National Register of Public Forests
  • Federal, state and municipal public land, including undesignated public forests – Database: National Register of Public Forests.