There is an ongoing discussion about the effects of the new Brazilian forestry code (BFC) - Federal Law # 12.651 (BRASIL, 2012) - on the adequacy of small family farms, in terms of environmental degradation and recovery of forestry areas or regarding the possibilities of sustainable management of Permanent Preservation (PPA) or Legal Reserve (RL) areas. The aim of this work was to select and apply environmental evaluation indicators to analyze the environmental performance of small family farms, considering alternatives that the farmers should follow to comply with the laws and not to commit environmental crimes, in accordance with the Brazilian environmental legislation. We established environmental evaluation indicators taken from Brazilian environmental law parameters, which were tested in family farms with organic (SPO) or conventional (SPC) management systems. The organic family farms presented better results in terms of environmental evaluation indicators, either on APP or on RL areas Preservationist management was predominat on LR and on APP, in organic and in conventional production systems, and there were only a few occurrences of agroforestry systems or non-timber forest managements. The environmental evaluation indicators designed from aspects of Brazilian environmental law showed to be an efficient, practical and inexpensive tool to help technicians and farmers to identify positive situations of compliance to Brazilian environmental laws.
environmental indicators; legal reserve; permanent preservation areas