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Brazil's National Atlantic Forest Policy: A Challenge for State-level Environmental Planning. The Case of Santa Catarina, Brazil

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ABSTRACT Formulating effective national forest policy in lesser developed countries is complex and needs to take into account the social as well as the biophysical dimensions which impact on forest resources. Deforestation continues to be a serious concern in many of these countries and most national forest policy seeks to curb the devastationof forest resources. Due to different social groups competing for use of the forest resources, however, designing effective policy is challenging. The needs of these different social groups must be considered.Unless this is done, the forest policy itself can be an impetus for deforestation.In the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, deforestation in the Atlantic forest (Mata Atlantica) is occurring at a rapid rate, threatening the richness of biodiversity. There are a number of causes for deforestation in Santa Catarina, one being Brazil's national Atlantic forest policy. Unintentionally, the structure of this conservation-focusedpolicy has declared all of Santa Catarina's native forests off-limits to any type of exploitation, the only state in Brazil where this has occurred, and has actually precipitated deforestation. Challenges for state-level planning include addressing the national forest policy as well as the state-levelimpacts resulting from the policy. The history of the policy, the social groups affected and challenges for planning are discussed, as are proposed solutions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 1997

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