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Brazil is the largest country in South America, with an area of 8.5 million km2 that encompasses the majority of the world’s largest tropical rainforest – the Amazon.

Although today our scope is worldwide, Earth Innovation Institute was born in Brazil, and many of our programs and projects are focused on this diverse and progressive country. Brazil’s 201 million people make it the fifth most populous nation in the world, and its $2.5 trillion dollars of GDP make it the seventh largest economy.

From 1996 through 2005 Brazil was the epicenter of a growing global environmental threat: unchecked deforestation on an unprecedented scale. Deforestation cleared 19,500 km2 of rainforest per year during this period, driven by expanding soy and cattle sectors. Since then, Brazil has made a revolutionary change: the deforestation rate has declined 70%, even as the production of soy and cattle has continued to grow. Could this progress be extended to its fisheries, its water resources and to a broader transition to sustainable development? Earth Innovation Institute is a leader in studying and strengthening Brazil’s transition to global leadership in both food production and sustainable development.


Deforestation, Currency Exchange graph
Deforestation, Currency Exchange Rate

Our goal in Brazil is big: to complete the transition to sustainable rural development in the Amazon and across the entire nation. We pursue this goal through strategic interventions at different scales, from global markets and climate negotiations to national and state policies to local institutional innovations. Our approach is jurisdictional or “territorial” rather than project-based. This means that we work with partners to promote multi-stakeholder dialogues in which farmers, government, businesses and NGOs achieve consensus around sustainability milestones. We then promote policies and institutional innovations that ensure adequate governance conditions, financial incentives and regulatory incentives for achieving milestones. We also promote equitable commercial partnerships between producer groups and food companies through which small-scale producers can obtain needed technical assistance and access to modern markets. Finally, we are implementing transparent , online systems for monitoring progress towards milestones for reducing deforestation, increasing production, and avoiding resource depletion.

  • Deforestation declined from a ten-year average of 19,500 km2 through 2005 to 5,843 km2 in 2013, a 70% reduction.

  • The deceleration of deforestation has avoided the emissions of 3.2 GtCO2 to the atmosphere.

  • Brazil is the global leader in climate change mitigation.

Case Studies


The Rio Branco Declaration: Assessing Progress Toward a Near-Term Voluntary Deforestation Reduction Target in Subnational Jurisdictions Across the Tropics
Searching for win-win forest outcomes
Tropical Forest Champions
Andes-Amazon Alliance of Governments
The State of Jurisdictional Sustainability: Synthesis for Practitioners and Policymakers
Part I: The New Industries of Acre State


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