The state of Pará is the second largest Brazilian state in territorial extension, behind only the Amazon. It has approximately the same territorial extension as Portugal, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Belgium, Holland and Denmark together. It is also the second largest state of the Legal Amazon in remaining forest area, with almost 900,000 km² of forests and an enormous biodiversity.
Pará is the state that perhaps best synthesizes the Amazon in the complex mosaic of activities that exist throughout the Region: vegetal extractivism, logging, large-scale monoculture, livestock, mining, highway opening, hydroelectric plants. Despite the history of strong economic and infrastructural activities over the forest areas, Pará has been progressively reducing its deforestation rates since 2009.
Part of the success in this reduction is due to public policies launched in the State. Pará has developed its Ecological and Economic Zoning (EEZ) plan, an essential environmental management tool for land use planning. In addition, the State also has the Plan for Prevention, Control and Alternatives to Deforestation (PPCAD), whose basic premise is that only Command and Control actions are not enough for the State, only the creation of sustainable economic alternatives is capable of perpetuating reduction of deforestation rates and contribute to the maintenance of forest blocks.
Believing that it is possible to grow economically without having to reproduce the historical model of environmental degradation, the State develops the Green Municipalities Program, which reinforces the existing public policies by being a great pact in the search for an economy model that combines conservation and production and guarantee Pará a low carbon economy. From a pact between Public Power, Productive Sector and Civil Society, production increases, adapts to legality, becomes sustainable and brings improvements to the quality of life of the people of Pará.
The Government of the State of Pará understands that there is still a long way to go and continues to move towards regulatory frameworks and public policies for Climate Change and Environmental Services. An example of this is the reopening of the Para Forum of Climate Change, in process.
Although the State does not have a specific regulatory framework for Climate Change, Environmental Services and REDD +, several REDD + projects in the state are in the design and development phase, some of which are in partnership with NGOs such as Imazon, Conservation International and TNC.
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The major drivers of deforestation are cattle ranching, large-scale agriculture, and logging; relatively more minor drivers include mining, urban areas, and infrastructure (e.g., dams). Large cattle ranches account for 60% of all deforestation, whereas smallholder lands account for another 30%. Four percent of deforested area is associated with logging and 3% only is directly associated with professional and high productivity agriculture.
Pará and Mato Grosso have the highest deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon, accounting for 68% of total deforestation (Mato Grosso, 35%; Pará, 33%). Both states have drastically reduced deforestation in the last 6 years. In Pará, deforestation has consistently decreased since its highest point in 2005 (8870 km²), declining by more than 50% to 4281 km² in 2009. The reduction is attributed to an increase in the enforcement and control measures.