Forest conservation efforts through regulatory enforcement routinely failed to prevent large scale deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. However, a turning point occurred in 2005, when a combination of unfavorable economic conditions and an unprecedented coordinated effort between governmental institutions resulted in a gradual slowdown in deforestation. The continuation of this deforestation slowdown in an environment of economic recovery and expansion after 2009 suggests that regulatory enforcement achieved a measure of success not experienced before. In this study, the impact of fines, embargoes on rural private properties, and confiscation of means of production and produce on deforestation in the Southern Amazon state of Mato Grosso was considered through regression and GIS-based analyses. It was found that while all three sanctions were negatively correlated with deforestation, there were important differences in their level of enforcement. Embargoes were effectively implemented and showed high deforestation deterrence effectiveness, but the actual collection of the values of fines issued was extremely low, which casts doubts on their actual effectiveness as a deforestation deterrence mechanism. The results suggest that while sanctions for illegal deforestation have played an important role in the slowdown in deforestation, measures to increase the collection of fines issued are urgently needed.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited