Citation: Suhyun Jung, Laura Rasmussen, Cristy Watkins, Pete Newton, and Arun Agrawal. 2017. Brazil’s National Environmental Registry of Rural Properties: Implications for Livelihoods. Ecological Economics, 136: 53-61.
In Brazil, the Cadastro Ambiental Rural (CAR) is currently being implemented. This policy aims to geo-reference all properties and promote monitoring of, and compliance with, natural vegetation conservation requirements. Scholarly efforts and policy attention have so far concentrated on possible environmental impacts hereof, while the attention devoted to how the CAR might affect farmers’ livelihoods has been limited. In this paper, we evaluate potential livelihood impacts of the CAR and programs that facilitate CAR registration. We do so by developing a conceptual framework and using evidence from semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders including farmers, governments, and funding agencies. We find that while the CAR and programs facilitating CAR do not have explicit livelihood impact goals, they nonetheless affect livelihoods, both positively and negatively, depending on the initial amount of natural vegetation on farmers’ properties, farmers’ access to credit and infrastructure, and changing market conditions. We argue that environmental interventions and policies need to consider potential livelihood impacts, especially if the policy intervention area has high poverty rates.