New Forest Code2012 federal legislation that addresses the protection and regeneration of native vegetation in all biomes.
The New Forest Code is a piece of federal legislation signed in 2012 to regulate the protection and regeneration of forests and other types of native vegetation in rural properties in all biomes. It defines how much vegetation should be maintained or restored on farms and other rural areas. Thus, the areas designated by this law have complementary importance and functions to those of nature conservation units in the maintenance of biological diversity, ecosystem services, and climate regulation. The so-called New Forest Code was approved after a long political battle between the agro-industry lobby and environmental movements. It replaced previous forestry legislation which had been developed since the 1930s. In practice, it reduced the conservation of native vegetation in private rural properties – shrinking its social and environmental functions –, waived fines for environmental crimes committed until July 2008, and caused other setbacks. Its rules were validated by the Supreme Court in March 2018. The general implementation of the law is still pending, and currently, there are failures in the registration and validation of the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR), in the execution of Environmental Recovery Programs (PRAs), and in the definition and implementation of economic instruments for its compliance. At the same time, bills pending in the National Congress propose new flexibility in the protection of native vegetation in rural properties, such as releasing the obligation to maintain legal reserves.