Large-scale reforestation: starting with public lands in the Brazilian Amazon

Although promoting large-scale reforestation is no easy task, Brazil is uniquely positioned to reap substantial gains from undertaking this endeavor. Internally, it stands to benefit from addressing a key source of inefficiency in Brazilian land use: vast amounts of degraded and deforested lands currently serving no productive purpose. Reforestation could transform these areas into valuable environmental assets, whilst contributing to reductions in Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions. Internationally, the country already plays a prominent role in world agricultural commodity markets, and has become increasingly influential in the environmental arena. Pursuing large-scale reforestation would confirm Brazil’s commitment to the global effort to mitigate climate change and, therefore, strengthen Brazil’s strategic position — and thereby its leverage — in the environmental scenario and other multilateral fora. Moreover, the ability to push large-scale reforestation without jeopardizing agricultural production in Brazil allows the nation to reconcile climate change mitigation and economic development goals. Brazil could take leadership over implementing concrete measures towards sustainable development.