Brazil forest protection turns to digital world

Juliana Barbassa – ABC News/AP, 12/16/2012

Landowners who broke Brazil’s environmental laws by clearing their farms of native forest used to have just one way to make right with government inspectors: plant trees. Now, they can clear their names by just pointing and clicking.

After decades trying to protect rapidly shrinking forest, Brazil has turned to the digital world and launched a new platform called BVRio that allows growers with more untouched forest on their land than is legally required to sell “quotas” to farmers who fall short, one hectare at a time, for a price that will be determined by supply and demand.

From environmentalists to landowners, all sides agree the privately developed tool could revolutionize Brazil’s ability to protect the world’s biggest rainforest while enforcing the country’s just-enacted environmental law.

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