An international team of scientists reviewed published research about policy interventions and commodity market effects, and determined that positive incentives for farmers, counties, and states can be as effective for the preservation of Brazilian Amazon forests as public policies that enforce penalties. Suggestions for incentives include simplified regulatory requirements, discounts on environmental licensing procedures, better preharvest packages from commodity suppliers, and better loans for legally compliant landholders.

Deforestation, however, isn’t the only threat to the region. “There is an urgent need to shift the Amazon conservation paradigm to encompass the freshwater ecosystems, which are being rapidly degraded by deforestation and the construction of hydroelectric dams,” said Assistant Professor Leandro Castello, a member of the team. “Freshwater ecosystems could be managed through policy and supply chains in a manner similar to that which is being done with deforestation.” The team’s results appeared in the June 6 issue of Science.

Read the full press release.