Acre is one of Brazil´s Federal Units with an area of 164.123.040 km2 and is divided into 22 municipalities. The population estimate for the year 2014 was 790,101 with a population density of 4.47 inhabitants/km², and the projection for the year 2030 is 972,464 inhabitants. Despite its small area, Acre has an immense biological wealth resulting from its geological and climatic conditions. With altitudes ranging from 250 to 580 meters, the landscape contains hills and plateaus inherited from its paleogeographical evolution, and wetlands and flood areas with typical vegetation types. The climate is characterized by two distinct periods: a “summer” with temperatures between 24,5 and 32o C, 1.600 to 2.750 mm of rainfall per year and high humidity, and a dry “winter” that may extend for up to 3 months. Acre has over 87% of its original forest intact, of which 47% are protected areas, 14% indigenous lands and 33% conservation units, demonstrating the conservation strategy adopted in its development policy and maintaining a rich biodiversity under canopy of different forest formations.
The state of Acre is one of the most advanced REDD jurisdictions in the world. In 2010, Acre enacted its landmark Law 2.308/2010, creating a State System of Incentives for Environmental Services (SISA), with REDD as the centerpiece. It provides an innovative, jurisdiction-wide approach to low-carbon rural development. The SISA establishes a set of principles, policies, institutions, and instruments for building an effective program for achieving environmental sustainability through ecosystem services incentives. It is designed to promote public-private initiatives to achieve the state’s goals with respect to ecosystem services. Notably, Acre established its SISA law through in-depth consultation with local stakeholders and civil society, in compliance with national level REDD+ safeguards principles and criteria.
Acre´s state government has chosen a different development model, exploring the natural resources wisely, aware of the need to preserve this valuable natural capital. Over the last fifteen years, the state government has been innovating with a green economy model, reducing deforestation, increasing its GDP and revolutionizing with socio-productive inclusion. Starting from Acre´s Ecological-Economic Zoning (ZEE), the Valuation of Forest and Environmental Assets Policy was passed into state law (Law 2.2204/2008), with the main objective of ensuring the sustainable use and proper management of the territory with social and economic inclusion. This policy has contributed to the mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and the consequent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Acre State Government has the implementation of its Prevention and Control of Deforestation, Burning and Forest Fires Plan (PPCDQ) as one of its main policy instruments aimed at reducing the impacts of climate change. This plan establishes guidelines, goals and actions until 2030, for territorial and land planning, productive chains and sustainable practices, and monitoring, control and surveillance. In the period 2004-2014, the state showed a 57% reduction in deforestation compared to the average for the decade 1995-2004, with average annual increment of 300 km² (PRODES, 2014)
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The majority of deforestation in Acre occurs along primary and secondary roads as well as rivers. The main driver of deforestation in Acre is cattle ranching (occupying 70% of the total area deforested in 1989 and increasing to 81% in 2004). Factors such as land speculation, lack of zoning and formal designation of public lands, profitability of cattle ranching, and subsidized loans for ranching have created incentives for deforestation throughout the Amazon, including Acre. Historically, the main agents of deforestation agents were owners of mid-size and large farms and ranches, but in recent years smallholder farmers have contributed significantly to deforestation in Acre. The pavement of the BR-317 (completed in 2007) and BR-364 (scheduled completion in 2011) highways now connect the southwestern Amazon (including Acre) to Peruvian Pacific coast harbors and is likely to lead to increased deforestation. The risk of deforestation is likely to be most intense along the BR-364 from Sena Madureira to Cruzeiro do Sul.