Focus |

Environmental policy in Brazil

Evidence-based policy is increasingly important, more so in a post-truth environment. Despite past successes, Brazil still faces environmental and social challenges, including degradation of marine and terrestrial ecosystems, biodiversity conservation and poverty and inequality, among others. The political shift brought by the recent national elections has generated a climate of uncertainty particularly about the future of environmental policies.

This Focus brings together research and opinion pieces relevant to ongoing policy debates around environmental and sustainability policies in Brazil. In addition to the pieces published in this issue, the collection gathers selected articles published across Nature Research journals.


  • Nature Sustainability | Editorial

    The country achieved impressive environmental and sustainability successes in the past. Now more than ever, scientists should focus on providing evidence to support policy that helps Brazil to continue doing so.


  • Nature Sustainability | Comment

    The conservation movement has lost its critical edge by befriending agribusiness. With deforestation on the rise and a continuous roll-back of environmental protection, it is time to rethink this strategy.

    • Britaldo Soares-Filho
    •  &  Raoni Rajão
  • Nature Sustainability | Q&A

    Marinez Scherer is an expert in integrated coastal management and executive secretary of the Brazilian Sea Forum. Alberto Lindner is an expert in marine ecology and conservation. Both are at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil, and here discuss recent trends in marine and coastal science and policy in Brazil.

    • Aiora Zabala


  • Nature Sustainability | Article

    This study spatially maps the economic value of some major ecosystem services provided by the Brazilian Amazon. It also estimates changes in these values under scenarios of degradation and low-impact logging.

    • Jon Strand
    • , Britaldo Soares-Filho
    • , Marcos Heil Costa
    • , Ubirajara Oliveira
    • , Sonia Carvalho Ribeiro
    • , Gabrielle Ferreira Pires
    • , Aline Oliveira
    • , Raoni Rajão
    • , Peter May
    • , Richard van der Hoff
    • , Juha Siikamäki
    • , Ronaldo Seroa da Motta
    •  &  Michael Toman
  • Nature Sustainability | Article

    A provision of the Forest Act in Brazil could legalize deforestation of an additional 6.5–15 million ha of private lands, under a plausible scenario of protected public land reaching 65% in some states.

    • Flavio L. M. Freitas
    • , Gerd Sparovek
    • , Göran Berndes
    • , U. Martin Persson
    • , Oskar Englund
    • , Alberto Barretto
    •  &  Ulla Mörtberg

Further reading

  • Nature Climate Change | Perspective

    In this Perspective, private company supply-chain initiatives designed to reduce deforestation are assessed. Public–private policy mixes are advocated to increase their efficacy.

    • Eric F. Lambin
    • , Holly K. Gibbs
    • , Robert Heilmayr
    • , Kimberly M. Carlson
    • , Leonardo C. Fleck
    • , Rachael D. Garrett
    • , Yann le Polain de Waroux
    • , Constance L. McDermott
    • , David McLaughlin
    • , Peter Newton
    • , Christoph Nolte
    • , Pablo Pacheco
    • , Lisa L. Rausch
    • , Charlotte Streck
    • , Tannis Thorlakson
    •  &  Nathalie F. Walker
  • Nature Ecology & Evolution | Comment

    Recently publicized killings of environmental defenders are the latest iteration of a long and tragic history of violent conflict over access to land and resources. To bring about effective change, we must first understand the drivers and conditions that lead to violence in the sphere of environmental and land conflict.

    • Jaboury Ghazoul
    •  &  Fritz Kleinschroth
  • Nature Climate Change | Letter

    Deforestation in Amazonia has previously been linked to thermally driven precipitation increases. Satellite observations and model simulations now suggest a shift toward a dynamically driven hydroclimate, with enhanced rainfall seen downwind of deforested areas.

    • Jaya Khanna
    • , David Medvigy
    • , Stephan Fueglistaler
    •  &  Robert Walko
  • Nature Climate Change | Article

    Tree transpiration in the Amazon enhances downwind rainfall. Research now shows that approximately one-third of Amazon rainfall originates within its own basin, with the southern half of the basin contributing most to this effect.

    • Arie Staal
    • , Obbe A. Tuinenburg
    • , Joyce H. C. Bosmans
    • , Milena Holmgren
    • , Egbert H. van Nes
    • , Marten Scheffer
    • , Delphine Clara Zemp
    •  &  Stefan C. Dekker