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.

Editorial

Opinion

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.

Q&A | | Nature Sustainability

Articles

Further reading

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.

Comment | | Nature Ecology & Evolution

Industrial mining contributes to deforestation in the Amazon, and the extent of effect could occur beyond areas of land explicitly permitted for mining. Here, Sonter et al. show that deforestation in 70-km buffer zones around mines has led to an estimated 9% of Brazilian Amazon deforestation since 2005.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Emerging research suggests ancient Amazonians employed a range of cultivation practices to develop diversified diets, rich in both wild and domesticated plant and animal resources. Southwestern Amazonia is now understood as a major centre of plant domestication.

News & Views | | Nature Ecology & Evolution

Deforestation carbon emissions from the Brazilian Amazon have declined steeply, but how much drought-induced forest fire emissions add to this process is still unclear. Here the authors show that gross emissions from forest fires are more than half as great as those from deforestation during drought years.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Forests of the Amazon Basin have experienced frequent and severe droughts in recent years with significant impacts on their carbon cycling. Here, using satellite LiDAR samples from 2003 to 2008, the authors show the long-term legacy of these droughts with persistent loss of carbon stocks after the 2005 drought.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Ethanol-based vehicles are thought to generate less pollution than gasoline-based vehicles. An analysis of pollutant concentrations in the subtropical megacity of São Paulo, Brazil, reveals that levels of ozone pollution fell, but levels of nitric oxide and carbon monoxide rose, during periods of prevailing gasoline use relative to ethanol use.

Article | | Nature Geoscience