The challenge facing society is to find the optimal balance between
using land to produce agricultural commodities to meet growing domestic
and global demand and keeping resilient ecosystems capable of supplying
a diverse suite of goods and services in the face of climate change.
This balance can be found if governments and businesses think PINC. PINC
stands for Proactive Investment in Natural Capital. It means investing
in activities that maintain natural capital across landscapes. It also
means being proactive, investing sooner rather than later in order to
build the resilience of landscapes - and the people that inhabit them -
to global climate change.
Nowhere is PINC more relevant than in Brazil, a country that is not only
a biodiversity superpower thanks to unique habitats such as the Cerrado,
Atlantic Forest and Amazonia, but is also rapidly becoming an economic
superpower, including through the export of commodities such as beef and
soy produced from its abundant natural capital. At the same time,
droughts and floods across the country have highlighted the potential
for the degradation of natural capital and climate change to impact
As the world’s population continues to rise, the global demand for food
could double by 2050. Rapidly emerging economies such as Brazil are
seeking to meet this demand through increasing agricultural production.
Brazil will need to find 1.1 m hectares of land each year for the next
three decades in order to meet the projected increase in production. A
continuation of the historical development paradigm would mean the
conversion of forests and savannahs to meet this need for land.
However, converting forests to pasture and agriculture will aggravate
the impacts of climate change and ‘business as- usual’ development is
not seen by the Brazilian Government as being compatible with its aim of
a low-carbon growth strategy.
So, an alternative PINC approach is needed. Three landscape-level
strategies can help Brazil to meet the on-going demand for land while
1. STOP deforestation;
2. INTENSIFY cattle ranching; and
3. RESTORE forests.
Trivedi, M.; Mitchell, A.; Ortiz, R.; Costa, D.; Oakes, N.; Ometto, J.P.; Meneses-Filho, L.; Strassburg, B.; Seroa da Motta, R.; Guedes Pinto, L.F.; Hall, A. Think PINC: Securing Brazil&#8217;s food, water and energy with Proactive Investment in Natural Capital. British Embassy, Brasilia, Brazil (2012) 21 pp. [Global Canopy Programme Report] Available in English and Portugese