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Last updated: 2014
Timber in Brazil can be commercially harvested from native or planted forests. Planted forests in Brazil cover 6.6 million hectares (1.3 percent of the country’s forests), while native forests cover an area of 517.1 million hectares (98.3 percent of the country’s forests). As of June 2012, Brazil had about 6.48 million hectares of forest certified to the FSC standard and about 1.26 million hectares certified to CERFLOR standards, which are endorsed by PEFC.
Most of Brazil’s planted forests are located in the southern part of the country, while most of the timber from native forests currently originates from the Amazon, with some still being harvested from what is left of the Atlantic Forest along Brazil’s east coast. The two major species groups being planted and traded in Brazil are pine (Pinus spp.) and eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.). Click on the "forest products" tab for a list of major commercially traded timber species.
About Forest Resources
This section provides an overview of the country's forest cover and a list of species found naturally and on plantations.
There are currently three ways through which timber can be legally extracted in Brazil :
- Via forest management, accomplished with a duly approved Plano de Manejo Florestal Sustentável – PMFS (Sustainable Forest Management Plan);
- Via authorized land clearance for the conversion of forest land into other uses, such as agriculture and livestock;
- From planted forests. Forest concessions have been regulated in Brazil since 2006, meaning the private sector can explore products (wood and non-wood) and services (eco-tourism) within a public forest (State-owned). Only Brazilian-based community associations, cooperatives and companies can participate in forest concessions and participation can be on an individual level or under the shape of consortiums. Foreign institutions are not permitted. Forest concession contracts can last up to 40 years. The concessionaire needs to leave the forest after the contract expires. Forests remain public (i.e., State-owned); concessionaires do not gain land title, i.e., they do not become the owners of the forest area which they are licensed to explore. The first concession was granted by the Brazilian government in 2008 in the Floresta Nacional do Jamari, in Rondônia state.
According to Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures perceived levels of public-sector corruption, on a scale of 0-100 (0 = 100% corruption), Brazil scored a 42, meaning it is perceived to have relatively high levels of corruption. It ranked 72 out of 177 countries assessed in that year. Access the 2013 Corruption Index for Brazil.
Chatham House’s 2010 report Illegal Logging and Related Trade: Indicators of the Global Response developed a country report cards for twelve countries. Access Brazil's Report Card.
The World Bank compiles a set of Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) for all world economies. These indicators are an important barometer in terms of risk assessment. The WGI country reports are based on the six following aggregate governance indicators: Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law, and Control of Corruption. Countries are ranked (percentile rank model) for each of the six governance indicators on a scale from 0 to 100 where 0 corresponds to the lowest rank and 100 corresponds to the highest rank (better governance). Access the Brazil Governance Indicator Data Report (1996-2013).
The International Tropical Timber Organization publishes assessments and status reports on national forestry and relevant legal context for member states, including Brazil. Access the Brazil Profile of the Status of Tropical Forest Management 2011 report.
About Forest Management
This section provides an overview of the country's forest management, transparency indicators, CITES Agreement information as it applies to the country, and relevant laws and regulations (i.e. forestry laws, processing/manufacturing laws, trade laws, tax laws, and transport laws).
Brazil’s main ports for softwood lumber export are the southern ports of Paranaguá, São Francisco do Sul and Itajaí, while the main ports for hardwood lumber export are Belém, Belém Islands, Paranaguá, Santarém and Vila do Conde, mostly in the northern part of the country.
Between October 2001 and June 2003, there was a full harvest and trade ban of Brazilian mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) in place. In 2003, the Brazilian government authorized the species to be harvested and traded again under the condition that it is extracted on the basis of sustainable forest management. In addition, the country has had a full log export ban for several decades. In 2005, Brazil partially changed its regulations, allowing the export of logs under two conditions: from forest plantations or sustainable forest management plans. Brazilian legislation no longer allows the harvest of any timber originating from the following trees: Brazil nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa), araucária (Araucaria angustifolia), native Brazilwood/pernambuco (Caesalpinia echinata) and jacarandá/Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra).
The country exports the following timber products (from both native and plantation forests) to international markets: raw wood, wood pulp, sawnwood, wood chips or particles, laminated wood, paper, furniture, flooring, plywood, wood fiber panels, particle board, wood frames and wood packaging. The FLA partnered with Imazon to develop a legality mapping tool that provides legality and supply chain data for the Brazilian States of Pará and Mato Grosso.
Brazil is a major producer and processor of a wide variety of forest products from both natural and planted forests. Major trading partners include the U.S., China, Mexico, Argentina, and the European Union.
With 310 million hectares, Brazil’s tropical permanent forest estate is the largest in the tropics. As of June 2012, Brazil had about 6.48 million hectares of forest certified to the FSC standard and about 1.26 million hectares certified to CERFLOR standards, which are endorsed by PEFC. The ITTO considers at least 2.70 million hectares of natural tropical production forest in Brazil to be under sustainable forest management.
In 2010, Brazil produced over 24 million cubic meters of tropical logs for industrial purposes, along with about 15.5 million cubic meters of sawnwood, of which a little over one million cubic meters were exported. Total sawnwood exports in 2010 were worth over $416 million US. Brazil is also a significant producer of tropical plywood, exporting about 134,000 cubic meters in 2010.
Forest-based industries contribute around 4 percent to Brazil’s GDP and directly employ an estimated 580,000 people. Commonly harvested tropical species for industrial roundwood include macaranduba (Manilkara huberi, angelim (Dinizia excelsa), cupiuba (Goupia glabra), jatoba (Hymenaea courbaril), and cedrinho (Erisma uncinatum). Important plantation forestry species in Brazil include eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.), pines (Pinus spp.), acacia (Acacia spp.), teak (Tectona spp.), parica (Schizolobioum amazonicum), poplar (Populus spp.), and Parana pine (Araucaria angustifolia).
The major species being harvested as of 2009 were:
- Ipê-amarelo/Brazilian walnut (Tabebuia serratifolia)
- Ipê-roxo/Brazilian walnut (Tabebuia impetiginosa)
- Cedro Vermelho/Cedar (Cedrela odorata)
- Itaúba (Mezilaurus itauba)
- Freijó (Cordia goeldiana)
- Amescla (Protium heptaphyllum)
- Angelim-pedra (Hymenolobium petraeum)
- Angelim-vermelho (Dinizia excels)
- Breu (Protium sp.)
- Cambará (Vochysia sp.)
- Cedrinho (Erisma uncinatum)
- Cedrela (Cedrela sp.)
- Cerejeira (Torresea acreana)
- Cumaru (Dipteryx odorata)
- Cupiúba (Goupia glabra)
- Garapeira (Apuleia molaris)
- Goiabão (Pouteria pachycarpa)
- Jatobá/Brazilian cherry (Hymenaea courbaril)
- Jequitibá (Cariniana sp.)
- Louro (Ocotea sp.)
- Maçaranduba/Massaranduba (Manilkara huberi)
- Muiracatiara (Astronium sp.)
- Oiticica (Clarisia racemosa)
- Pequiá (Caryocar villosum)
- Peroba (Aspidosperma sp.)
- Roxinho (Peltogyne sp.)
- Sucupira (Bowdichia sp.)
- Tatajuba (Bagassa guianensis)
- Timborana (Piptadenia sp.)
- Abiu (Pouteria sp.)
- Amapá (Brosimum parinarioides)
- Amesclão (Trattinnickia burseraefolia)
- Angelim-amargoso (Vataireopsis speciosa)
- Angelim-saia (Parkia pendula)
- Caju (Anacardium sp.)
- Marupá (Simarouba amara)
- Copaíba (Copaifera sp.)
- Faveira (Parkia sp.)
- Mandioqueiro (Qualea sp.)
- Orelha de macaco (Enterolobium schomburgkii)
- Paricá (Schizolobium amazonicum)
- Sumaúma (Ceiba pentandra)
- Tauari (Couratari sp.)
- Taxi (Tachigali sp.)
- Virola (Virola sp.)
About Forest Products
This section provides an overview of the country's forest production and product trade.
ABIMCI (Associação Brasileira da Indústria de Madeira Processada Mecanicamente) is an industry association dedicated to the mechanically-processed timber business. It was established in the 1970s and serves as forum for consultation between members and as an instrument to support members on technical, legal and political issues.
ABIMÓVEL (Associação Brasileira das Indústrias do Mobiliário) is an industry association dedicated to the furniture business.
ABIPA (Associação Brasileira da Indústria de Painéis de Madeira) is a forum bringing together wood-based panel manufacturers in Brazil.
ABPMEX (Associação Brasileira de Produtores e Exportadores de Madeira) is an association representing producers and exporters.
ABRAFLOR (Associação Brasileira de Produtores de Florestas Plantadas) is an industry association representing producers in the planted forest sector.
AIMEX (Associação das Indústrias Exportadoras de Madeira do Estado do Pará) is an industry association dedicated to exporter companies in the state of Pará.
UniFloresta is an industry association focused on forest products supply chains in the Amazon.
Civil Society Organizations
Greenpeace has been in Brazil since the early 1990s and has a long history of investigations on illegal logging in the Amazon.
IMAZON (Instituto do Homem e Meio Ambiente da Amazônia) is a non-profit research institution whose mission is to promote sustainable development in the Amazon through studies, support for public policy formulation, broad dissemination of information and capacity building.
IMAFLORA (Instituto de Manejo e Certificação Florestal e Agrícola) is a Brazilian NGO created to promote conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, generating social benefits in the forest and agricultural sectors. Imaflora is accredited to verify the adequacy of forest enterprises according to FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and is affiliated with the Rainforest Alliance.
Instituto Floresta Tropical is a Brazilian NGO affiliated with the Tropical Forest Foundation that promotes sustainable forest management through education and research.
This section provides a list of local contacts who can serve as sources of further information, including industry associations, civil society organizations and government ministries.
Tools & Resources
About Tools & Resources
This section directs you to useful and relevant tools and resources, developed by WRI, our partners or other organizations, that provide more information about the country.
Laws & Regulations
Only Brazilian-based community associations, cooperatives and companies can participate in forest concessions. Forest managers and harvesting companies harvesting native species from planted forests must inform IBAMA or the state environment body in question about their commercial activities.
Forest managers and harvesting companies harvesting exotic species from planted forests need planting licenses before a planted forest is raised. The government body responsible for issuing such a permit varies according to size and location. IBAMA, Brazil’s environment agency, is the government body responsible for issuing licenses for cases such as areas shared by Brazil and a neighboring country, indigenous territories, conservation units within federal level, and where two or more Brazilian states are involved. State environment agencies are the issuing body in cases such as the area in question is located in more than one municipality or a conservation unit is under state-level administration.
Concessionaires must pay relevant fees to the government for exploring the forest, including social tributes, goods taxation, and environmental and labor duties and tributes. When harvesting from concessions in native forests, concessionaires must hold a concession contract. In addition, they must hold an approved Sustainable Forest Management Plan (Plano de Manejo Florestal Sustentável - PMFS), an approved Annual Operational Plan (Plano Operacional Anual - POA) and an Operating Authorization (Autorização de Exploração - AUTEX). Concessionaires must be on IBAMA’s technical register (Cadastro Técnico Federal). See Law No. 11.284 of 2006.
When harvesting from private lands in native forests, timber companies must hold land title documents (or leasehold). They must also hold an approved Sustainable Forest Management Plan (Plano de Manejo Florestal Sustentável - PMFS) and an approved Annual Operational Plan (Plano Operacional Anual - POA). See Decree No. 5975.
Anyone (land owner, leaseholder, or settler) harvesting timber from converted lands on native forests (private properties or land settlements) must hold a permit authorizing them to clear forest for alternative uses of the land, such as agriculture and cattle raising, and infrastructure construction. They need either an Autorização de Desmatamento or an Autorização para Supressão da Vegetação Alternativo do Solo. Individuals or companies must be on IBAMA’s technical register (Cadastro Técnico Florestal). In order to obtain land clearance authorizations, property owners must provide proof of land title.
For companies harvesting exotic species from planted forests, if the planted forest is not considered an area of permanent conservation, no previous permit for harvesting is needed. See Law No. 4.771 of 1965.
Companies involved in processing owe fees to the government in many cases, including social tributes, goods taxation, and environmental and labor duties and tributes. Processing companies must be on IBAMA’s technical register (Cadastro Técnico Florestal). IBAMA or a state environmental agency must issue a license before timber processing activities are carried out. The timber processing company must complete relevant sections of the DOF (Documento de Origem Florestal).
Timber companies seeking to export timber from Brazil must provide the following:
- Importer registration (SISCOMEX code)
- Import claim
- Customs declaration
- Purchasing contract
- Purchasing order
- Legal transportation permits
- Packing list
Products must go through one of the two customs declaration procedures available. A simplified declaration can be used when goods do not exceed $50,000 and a full customs declaration is used when exported goods exceed this value. The simplified declaration can be done online via the Sistema de Comércio Exterior – SISCOMEX (Foreign Trade System) or through paper forms (I have a sample to be included). The full customs declaration must be processed online via SISCOMEX.
CITES-listed species may only be exported from the following ports (see Normative Instruction No. 188 of 2008):
- North region: Belém Port (PA)
- South region: Paranaguá (PR), Itajaí (SC) and Uruguaiana (RS) Ports
- Southeast region: Santos (SP) and Vitória Ports
The exporting company must pay export tax (Imposto de Exportação, or IE).
Between October 2001 and June 2003, there was a full harvest and trade ban of Brazilian mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla King) in place. In 2003, the Brazilian government authorized the species to be harvested and traded again under the condition that it is extracted on the basis of sustainable forest management. In addition, the country has had a full log export ban for several decades. In 2005, Brazil partially changed its regulations, allowing the export of logs under two conditions: from forest plantations or sustainable forest management plans. Brazilian legislation no longer allows the harvest of any timber originating from the following trees: Brazil nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa), rubber tree (Hevea spp.), araucária (Araucaria angustifolia), native brazilwood/pernambuco (Caesalpinia echinata) and jacarandá/Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra).
Customs clearance is done by means of a Declaração de Exportação - DE (export declaration), which must be formalized with up to 48 hours prior to shipment by the local IBAMA unit. The following documents are needed for a DE to be issued:
- Copy of the Registro de Exportação - RE (Export Registry) from the Sistema de Comércio Exterior - SISCOMEX (Foreign Trade System);
- Copy of the nota fiscal (Invoice);
- Packing list;
- Transportation Authorization;
- Export authorization for wood products and subproducts (e.g. CITES), as appropriate.
Companies transporting timber from native forests must carry a DOF (Documento de Origem Florestal), issued by IBAMA (Federal Environmental Agency) or a state equivalent, as well as a nota fiscal (invoice). The DOF is a computerized timber control system. It should contain information about the timber’s origin, species, type of product, quantity and value of the cargo, as well as detailed transportation route. Products and subproducts should be accompanied by the relevant DOF from the originating timber yard up to customs terminal.
The DOF is not always required. Subproducts such as windows, doors and furniture, and cellulose and wood paste, for example, are exempt. Some states have their own transportation licenses, which are integrated with the DOF system. These states are Mato Grosso, Pará and Rondônia (Guia Florestal - GF) and Minas Gerais (Guia de Controle Ambiental - GCA).
The DOF is issued with an expiration date: 5 days for state road transportation, 10 days for interstate road transportation and 30 days for logs being transported by rafts. Companies transporting exotic species from planted forests must carry a nota fiscal (invoice).
See DOF Manual.
Concessionaires must pay relevant fees to the government for exploring the forest. Timber companies must pay the following fees to the government: social tributes, goods taxes, environmental and labor duties and tributes. The exporting company should pay export tax (imposto de exportação, or IE).
CITES Agreement Information
CITES is an international agreement among governments whose purpose is to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plant species does not threaten the survival of these species. 175 countries have agreed to be bound by CITES, which is a binding legal agreement. It is up to each Party to CITES to draft its own domestic legislation in order to comply with its CITES obligations. Brazil acceded to the Convention in 1975.
Six commercially traded tree species that grow in Brazil are currently listed on one of the three CITES appendices, and require additional valid documentation in order to be legally traded out of Brazil. For more information about how CITES works, see the official website of the Convention.
IBAMA has some helpful information about obtaining CITES permits at its website (Portuguese only). IBAMA also offers a “quick verify” service here, so that anyone interested in trading CITES-listed timber species can quickly check to see whether the license is valid.
A full contact list for official Brazilian CITES authorities, including Management Authorities competent to grant permits is available on the CITES website.
Laws & Regulations
This section provides a list of local contacts who can serve as sources of further information, including industry associations, civil society organizations and government ministries.