The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Edited by Michael Kidd, Loretta Feris, Tumai Murombo and Alejandro Iza
Chapter 8: The protection of riparian forests and water resources conservation in Brazil
Water is the fundamental basis on which all the biochemical and physiological processes are developed that vouch for the maintenance of life. In all of its forms, it is one of the most essential resources for life. For humans, water represents biological, social, economic and cultural values. In this sense, legal systems and policies must promote a sustainable system to protect the quantity and quality of water resources. On the one hand we have many laws relating to water, as international treaties, regional agreements and national statutes relating to biodiversity, climate change, pollution and other issues, all of which have an impact on water sources. On the other hand, not all of these hard- and soft-law instruments are based on a vision of sustainability. They are inspired by different visions and the means to achieve them. Furthermore, those rules usually do not consider the natural features of the spaces with which they are concerned, addressing important questions such as resources conservation and pollution control, but disregarding fragile ecological processes that provide benefits to humankind, such as clean water. So they may be achieving very different levels of success. As we will see, this is no different in the Brazilian reality. Focusing on the environmental services provided by riparian forests connected to water protection, this chapter will first analyse the interaction and harmonization between the Brazilian Forest Code and the National Policy of Water Resources.
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