Brazil

Brazil

Brazil is one of the most extensively forested countries in the world.  Forests cover 60% of the country’s land area, the vast majority of which are natural forest; plantations account for less than 2%. Around 70 per cent of Brazil’s forested area lies within the Amazon Basin, while 30 per cent is to be found in the cerrado savanna and other eco-regions. The country has experienced rapid deforestation. Rates of deforestation fell significantly between 2004 and 2012, but they have risen somewhat in the following years. The average annual rate of deforestation was 0.4% for the period 2000-2010, and 0.2% for 2010-15 (Chatham House, 2014; FAO, 2015).

Brazil is a leading producer, processor and consumer of wood-based products. The majority of the country’s log production comes from plantations and plantation products account for nearly all the country’s exports – primarily pulp and paper. The country’s main export markets are the EU, China, the US and Japan. Production from natural forests is nearly all from the Legal Amazon, and this primarily supplies the country’s domestic market (Chatham House, 2014).

Illegal logging has long been a widespread problem in Brazil. Considerable effort has been put into improving law enforcement, and this was an important factor in reducing rates of deforestation in the previous decade. However, while there is a relatively strong legal framework, and the country makes extensive use of remote sensing technology, illegality, corruption and fraud remain widespread in the forest sector (Chatham House, 2014).