The Brazilian Environmental Laws- something to consider before building a golf course

On our last live streaming video professor Karl Danneberger asked me what the most important environmental issue going on in Brazil was. I answered that the proposal for a new Brazilian Forest Code was the most polemical topic.

The old forest code, created on 1965, establishes strict laws to landowners in order to promote biodiversity conservation and water resources protection inside of private and public properties. Depending on which part of Brazil you live, you may be required to leave from 30 to 80% of your property completely covered with forest. The code still stipulates many other requirements in order to protect the water resources in the property and the genetic flow among species of that ecosystem.

The proposal for the new Forest Code, created by the agriculturalists, is much less strict and although it doesn’t consider any of the scientific developments made by Brazilian scientists during the last few years, it has already been approved on the Brazilian Congress. The next step is approval by the Senate, but the final decision will be made by President Dilma Rousseff. President Dilma has stated that she will not approve the code that was approved by the Congress without changes. In a nut shell, she doesn’t want to forgive the environmental fines that many land owners have in Brazil since she has made the pledge to reduce deforestation in the country.

According to the Brazilian Golf Confederation, Brazil has around 15 thousand golfers and only 62 golf courses. These numbers have been growing on the last years with investments in resorts and condos containing golf courses creating a billionaire market. The investments are primarily from foreign investors targeting foreign travelers and buyers from Europe and North America.

It is important that the entrepreneurs consider the Brazilian environmental laws - which are different from any other country legislation - before building. Planning ahead can mean fewer headaches, avoiding monetary loss, and adding more value to your business.

Several consulting companies in Brazil are capable of developing a report called the Environmental Impact Study/Environmental Impact Report (EIA/RIMA). The report considers several aspects involved in land development including but not limited to location, water management, pesticides/fertilizers use and solid waste disposal. The consultant should be able to clarify the environmental legislation to you and to the designer/architects involved in order to make the project comply with the legislation. In addition, the consultant should advise you on public meeting where the public or residents have the opportunity to express their support or concerns.

For the past few years investing in Brazil has been considered profitable and secure. Brazil also has the goal of being a leader in the emerging “green economy”. The bottom line is: to make your project or development profitable it should be the greenest possible and meet or exceed the environmental laws and regulation.


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