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Sustainable landscapes in 
São Félix do Xingu 
Photographs by Rodrigo Calvet
In the 2000s, São Félix do Xingu, a municipality in the Brazilian state of Pará, recorded 
some of the worst deforestation...
Burning the forest to clear land for cattle ranching and agriculture caused so much 
deforestation, São Félix do Xingu was...
In 2009, the The Nature Conservancy (TNC) began a project that is now called the 
Sustainable Landscape Pilot Program, aim...
Scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), including Maria 
Fernanda Gebara, shown here, have...
Some early findings: TNC prioritised clarifying land tenure – a persistent issue in 
these kinds of initiatives. It helped...
This had an unintended consequence. Although deforestation in SFX has fallen, it 
actually went up in the areas that had b...
This is an important lesson, Maria Fernanda Gebara says – proponents in Brazil need 
to combine CAR registration with ince...
Another finding from the CIFOR study was that delays matter. The uncertainty around 
REDD+ - and the lack of a global agre...
Smallholder farmers have reduced deforestation, but due to the delays and 
uncertainty around funding, they haven’t yet re...
“Smallholders need to see the alternatives that REDD+ is supposed to create,” Gebara 
says. Whether the scheme works, she ...
For more information about São Félix do Xingu and CIFOR’s Global 
Comparative Study on REDD+, visit: 
http://www.cifor.org...
CIFOR's Global Comparative Study on REDD+ is 
supported in part by the CGIAR Research Program on 
Forests, Trees and Agrof...
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Lessons from REDD+ case studies: Sustainable landscapes in São Félix do Xingu

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A photo essay from São Félix do Xingu, Brazil, where proponents of the REDD+ initiative seek to curb carbon emissions through avoided deforestation. The area faces increasing pressures from changes in land use due to conversion of forest to agriculture, among others. More details at http://blog.cifor.org/25668/redd-on-the-ground-unintended-consequences-in-a-microcosm-of-the-amazon

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Lessons from REDD+ case studies: Sustainable landscapes in São Félix do Xingu

  1. 1. Sustainable landscapes in São Félix do Xingu Photographs by Rodrigo Calvet
  2. 2. In the 2000s, São Félix do Xingu, a municipality in the Brazilian state of Pará, recorded some of the worst deforestation in the Amazon – leading to a series of local, national and global efforts to tackle the problem.
  3. 3. Burning the forest to clear land for cattle ranching and agriculture caused so much deforestation, São Félix do Xingu was one of 42 municipalities on the Brazilian government’s ‘blacklist’, blocking farmers from accessing credit.
  4. 4. In 2009, the The Nature Conservancy (TNC) began a project that is now called the Sustainable Landscape Pilot Program, aiming to involve local actors across the municipality to provide alternatives to deforestation.
  5. 5. Scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), including Maria Fernanda Gebara, shown here, have been analysing the TNC initiative, as part of a global study examining programs that aim to reduce deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+).
  6. 6. Some early findings: TNC prioritised clarifying land tenure – a persistent issue in these kinds of initiatives. It helped property owners register their land under the government system known as CAR.
  7. 7. This had an unintended consequence. Although deforestation in SFX has fallen, it actually went up in the areas that had been registered, as property owners were then able to access government cattle subsidies they’d previously been denied.
  8. 8. This is an important lesson, Maria Fernanda Gebara says – proponents in Brazil need to combine CAR registration with incentives, like access to other kinds of government low-carbon agriculture credits.
  9. 9. Another finding from the CIFOR study was that delays matter. The uncertainty around REDD+ - and the lack of a global agreement on climate change that includes deforestation and allows for carbon funding - has had an impact on the ground.
  10. 10. Smallholder farmers have reduced deforestation, but due to the delays and uncertainty around funding, they haven’t yet received much in return, Gebara says. In some cases this is increasing food insecurity and social inequality.
  11. 11. “Smallholders need to see the alternatives that REDD+ is supposed to create,” Gebara says. Whether the scheme works, she says, depends on how quickly initiatives manage to move ahead to “phase 2” – implementation of measures on the ground.
  12. 12. For more information about São Félix do Xingu and CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+, visit: http://www.cifor.org/redd-case-book/
  13. 13. CIFOR's Global Comparative Study on REDD+ is supported in part by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry and by NORAD, AusAID, DFID and the European Commission.

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