Maranhão, Brazil: Low-emission rural development (LED-R) at a glance

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  • Comprised of 3 ecosystems: Cerrado (64%), Amazon (35%) & Caatinga (1%); 80% of the state is within the Legal Amazon (~240,000 km2)
  • Differing biome-specific environmental policies pose challenges for implementing statewide LED-R initiatives
  • 70% of remaining forests located in indigenous peoples' (IP) territories & protected reserves; secondary vegetation (27% of deforested area) is unprotected, despite significant restoration potential
  • Part of MATOPIBA region: agricultural frontier of the Cerrado spanning Maranhão, Tocantins, Piaui & Bahia states
  • 20% of state's soybean crop area certified by Round Table for Responsible Soy (RTRS); ~65% of soy expansion on lands converted from native vegetation.
  • Land concentration & monoculture in late 20th century contributed to socio-economic disparity & underdevelopment.
  • Free Babaçu Law gives rights to babaçu harvesters (mostly women) for free access & community use of babaçu, even on private land, & prohibits cutting & burning palm trees to protect babaçu harvesting & promote sustainable agricultural development.


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