Recommendation of the Brazilian Coalition to promote legal and sustainable tropical forest management in Brazi

Brazil has today more than 300 million hectares of natural forests in the Amazon region, but less than three million hectares are sustainably managed. There are huge challenges in terms of conservation and the country has the highest annual rate of conversion of terrestrial ecosystems in the world.

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture believes that a competitive, thriving and sustainable forest-based economy that simultaneously guarantees the conservation and production of natural forests — through actions such as good forest management, forests restoration and related social benefits — can provide a fundamental contribution to support Brazil’s commitments to the reduction of greenhouse gas emission (GHG), as well as to strengthen resilience and enable the country to adapt to climate change.

The major problem in the sector today is the high level of illegality and informality of wood production in the Amazon, which has damaged businesses and reduced investments. In this context, the objective of the Coalition’s Tropical Forest Economy working group is to increase by 10-fold the area of sustainably managed forest in Brazil by 2030 (as per the Coalition’s proposal 14, copied below). This will result in 25 million hectares under sustainable management, in addition to controlling the sale of illegal wood products from native forests.

Sustainable forest management in Brazil:

  • is an economic activity with great capacity for generating income[1], creating jobs[2] and collecting taxes in rural areas;
  • has the potential to contribute more to the country’s exports[3];
  • combines production with conservation of forests, contributing to the maintenance of ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as key services such as water supply and carbon stocks;
  • its promotion and expansion are one of the priority points of Brazil’s NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions).

Considering all these points, one of the Brazilian Coalition’s priorities is to promote and enhance the forest economy derived from tropical forest management, with the aim to encourage sustainable forest management. To achieve this objective, Proposal 14 lists a few strategic actions. Some of them were prioritized for urgent action, in conjunction with the public sector:

  1. To provide transparency and access to logging permits and documents related to the control of tropical timber flows (DOFs, Forest Origin Documents), so as to allow the monitoring of management operations by society in general, with the objective of reducing the unfair supply and competition with products of illegal origin;
  2. To increase demand for products of legal and sustainable origin, requiring that all public procurement of timber products require traceability from their origin to the final product, giving preference to products certified by FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) and/or by Cerflor (Brazilian Forest Certification Program).

The Brazilian Coalition believes that the combination of these measures is fundamental for the process of improving the economic conditions necessary for the legal and sustainable tropical forest management.

At the same time, we propose the creation of an intersectoral working group coordinated by the Brazilian Coalition that includes participants from the public, private and NGO sectors, as well as the academic community, in order to recommend public policies and promote actions to be adopted by both the public and private sectors that result in the removal of barriers, the implementation of initiatives to promote sustainable forest management and the prevention of illegal logging of native forest products.

 

Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture’s Proposal 14

Increase the area of sustainably managed forest in Brazil by 10-fold, by 2030, and curb the sale of illegal wood products from native forests. Strategic actions include:

  1. Ensure complete transparency of authorizations and monitoring of management operations for native forests.
  2. Employ tracking technology for geo-referencing all production chains, based on the use of products from managed native forests, and their respective monitoring and inspection, at least every 5 years.
  3. Encourage voluntary certification by FSC or Cerflor, for products originating from the sustainably managed native forests, and adopt a minimum standard for control, similar to “controlled timber” on the referred to certifications, for noncertified products.
  4. Assign co-responsibility to purchasers of products from illegal, non-traceable sources.
  5. After 2020, tax all products that are untraceable, at a rate of 40% of their estimated market value, before being released for sale. The amounts collected by this tax, on a state level, would be used to develop programs for sustainable reintegration in the production chain and help in the monitoring and control of illegal logging.
  6. After 2020, all public purchases, direct and indirect, and those by organizations that receive any type of public funding, would be required to purchase traceable forest products, from harvest through the chain of custody
  7. Encourage private companies to require traceable forest products in their purchases.
  8. Give preference to purchase of forest products certified by the FSC and/or Cerflor, which include a guarantee of traceability, in their bidding processes.

 

São Paulo, 08 February 2017

Tropical Forest Economy working group

Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture

[1] The sector produces approximately 13 million m3/year, generating a gross annual income of R$ 4.3 billion. (Brazilian Forest Service, 2013).

[2]  The sector generates more than 200,000 direct jobs, 2% of the economically active population in the region. (PEREIRA ET AL, 2010).

[3]  In 2012, export trade in the Legal Amazon reached about US$ 500 million. (Brazilian Forest Service, 2013).