The State of Amazonas is Brazil’s largest state with an area of more than 1.5 million km², of which more than half is in protected areas. The state retains nearly 97% of its original forest cover and has the largest tropical forest carbon stock of any sub-national jurisdiction on the planet. Half of the state’s population of 3.3 million resides in the capital, Manaus, while the other half is distributed among 61 counties. Amazonas is home to 66 indigenous peoples. Furthermore, thousands of plants, animals, and insects—most of which are still unknown to science—are found in Amazonas’ forests.
Amazonas is a pioneer in establishing state-wide public policies related to climate change and designing positive incentives for forest conservation. In 2007, Amazonas established its State Policy on Climate Change (PEMC) (law 3.135/2007) and a complementary law (53/2007), which establishes the State System for Protected Areas (SEUC). These were followed by the development of the State’s Deforestation Prevention and Control Plan (PPCDAM), involving a broad range of state secretariats in an integrated effort to develop ways of reducing deforestation while creating new economic alternatives. Combined, these policies have helped to reduce deforestation from activities such as land grabbing, illegal logging, soy farming and cattle ranching from a 10-year average (1996-2005) of 868 km² to 474 km² in 2010.
Another strategy adopted by the Amazonas State Government was the creation of a public-private foundation, the Sustainable Amazonas Foundation (FAS), to manage the Bolsa Floresta Program (PBF). PBF is a pioneer pilot program for payments for ecosystem services that supports 15 State Protected Areas.