Good Practice Guide, launched this week, aims to give scale to the practice que faz uso de recursos tecnológicos disponíveis e acessíveis a todos 

Access Good Practice Guide for implementing the Remote Embargo of deforested areas in Brazil

Almost all (98%) of the more than 200,000 deforestation alerts, totaling 4.3 million hectares, validated by MapBiomas Alert between 2019 and 2021, had signs of illegality. However, only 7% of them, corresponding to 27% of the deforested area, were the subject of any action - be it an authorization, embargo or public civil action, for example. One of the factors for this is the lack of structure of the inspection bodies, which still favor face-to-face actions. But the scenario could be completely different with the use of technology: resources available quickly and free of charge already make it possible to identify the suppression of native vegetation with high-resolution images, allowing for remote embargoes.  

"Remote embargoes are strategic in our current context in which environmental agencies still don't have enough human and financial resources to efficiently deal with the high number of confirmed deforestations," explains André Lima, coordinator of the Climate and Sustainability Radar project at the Democracy and Sustainability Institute (IDS). "Today, the technologies available and widely accessible offer two fundamental conditions for remote monitoring: the reliability and timeliness of the information. Their use, therefore, is fundamental for environmental monitoring in Brazil to achieve the speed needed to combat the destruction of our biomes," adds Tasso Azevedo, general coordinator of MapBiomas.

In order for the practice of remote embargo to spread, representatives of state and federal environmental agencies and civil society organizations met throughout 2022 in a working group that discussed the main points that fed into the preparation of the Guide to Good Practices for Implementing the Remote Embargo of Deforested Areas in Brazil. The document was launched on Tuesday, November 22, in event promoted by MapBiomas, together with the Democracy & Sustainability Institute (IDS), the Life Center Institute (ICV) and  

The aim of the guide is to facilitate the application of the remote embargo in the most automatic way possible, allowing large-scale actions with an immediate impact on illegally deforested areas. It is aimed at professionals from environmental agencies and civil society in general. Its preparation took into account current regulations, the technologies available and provided for in the legal framework and the practical experience of state and federal governments in using remote seizures to inspect deforested areas. 

The guide includes a step-by-step process for applying the remote embargo on a large scale, covering different procedures for deforestation identified in areas registered and areas not registered in the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR). The suggested workflow includes the process of identifying, confirming and qualifying the suppression of native vegetation, notifying owners, applying and publishing embargoes on public databases, and their consequences in the CAR. The guide also provides guidance on the permanent monitoring of embargoed areas and specific procedures for areas and territories belonging to Traditional Peoples and Communities (PCTs). 

The embargo is a "precautionary administrative measure adopted by environmental agencies and applied to an area to suspend illegal activity, halt environmental degradation and guarantee the recovery of the area or its regeneration." In other words, it has a preventive and precautionary nature and prevents a degrading activity from continuing over time and allows the damaged area to recover.  

Today, most embargoes are carried out through in-person inspections, but proof of the environmental damage that justifies the embargo can be done remotely, by analyzing satellite images. With this, in-person action can be prioritized for cases where it is really necessary, such as seizures of equipment, investigations and land tenure conflicts. "On-site and remote surveillance can and should go hand in hand. One strengthens and makes the other more efficient," says Tasso Azevedo.