After achieving a 76% reduction in the annual rate of deforestation in the Amazon using command and control policies, the Brazilian government developed a national REDD+ strategy, which it has since merged with its reform of the Forest Code. This is an important political, economic and environmental step in view of the amounts of land, carbon and money involved. This article addresses Brazil's insistence on sovereignty over its forest resources and questions the capacity of carbon markets to assist in conservation. We start by describing the success of Brazil's efforts to halt deforestation. We then identify player strategies in the 'Sovereignty versus the market' debate surrounding the implementation of REDD+. Finally, we discuss whether the markets for land- and forest-based environmental services encouraged by the Forest Code have the potential to contribute to further reductions in deforestation.