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Summary for public policies: prioritizing areas for forest recovery in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest

To identify priority areas for forest recovery in the Atlantic Forest, the approach considers the potential benefits of recovering deforested areas by focusing on biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, and water resources conservation, as well as the reduction of costs. Through the formulation and evaluation of alternative scenarios – including both scenarios that focus on maximising each benefit or reducing costs individually, and conciliation scenarios that seek an optimal and balanced solution among all benefits and costs – the approach describes trade-offs and synergies between benefits and costs of forest recovery.

In the Atlantic Forest, the areas with the greatest potential to contribute to biodiversity conservation are cheaper to recover than areas with the greatest potential to mitigate climate change and to maximize the conservation of water resources (most expensive scenario), mainly due to the lower opportunity cost of land. The conciliation scenario presents: (i) the second lowest total cost, 3.5% more expensive than the scenario that optimizes only the cost reduction; (ii) the second greatest potential for reducing the risk of species extinction, 79% of the estimated potential for the scenario that maximizes only the conservation of biodiversity; (iii) the third largest potential for carbon sequestration, 57% of the estimated potential for the scenario that maximizes only the mitigation of climate change; and (iv) the fourth greatest potential for improving water quality, 45% of the estimated potential for the scenario that maximizes only the conservation of water resources.

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