The challenge of economic growth is "technically and economically viable" for the countries of Latin America. This was stated by Mariana Panuncio, director of the Climate Change Program of the WWF organization (World Wildlife Fund), who presented the example of Brazil at the international conference on "Forests and climate change", held yesterday in Asunción (Paraguay).
The representative of the environmental organization pointed out that in the last ten years Brazil reduced its deforestation rate by 70 percent, while increasing its soy production by 80 percent, thus exposing a model applicable in the rest of Latin America.
For Panuncio, the key is to regulate the spaces that can be deforested and under what conditions, through public policies, as well as to enforce the laws that prohibit deforestation and penalize those who transgress them.
It is also important to establish incentive systems such as land tenure for residents, credits transferred to peasants on the condition that they preserve the environment or that products from well-managed forests have a better price.
"Forests play a crucial role in facing the negative impacts of climate change. They are not only a carbon deposit, but they also provide resources such as food or medicine, and contribute to the regulation of water resources," said the expert.
"It is a myth that there is a conflict between economic development and forest conservation," said Josefina Braña, director of public policy at WWF's Global Forest and Climate Program, who also participated in the conservation conference. of forested areas in the region, ahead of the Climate Change Conference (COP21), to be held in Paris from November 30.
He proposed, within his contributions, that another incentive would be the payment to peasant communities for the environmental services they provide, and that forest conservation decisions should be taken "locally", especially in situations where the dependence on crops are the only means of subsistence.
"It is not true that there is a contradiction between food security and forest conservation. Although some peasant communities need small-scale agriculture, with good planning there can be a balance between forests and crops," added Braña.
Although agriculture and livestock are two of the causes of deforestation in developing countries, so are droughts and increased temperatures associated with climate change. Therefore, those attending the conference, including representatives of the UN and the World Bank, concluded that good management of these practices would prevent dire environmental consequences.