How to contain the drop

In the first half of this year, the 20 municipalities that extract the most ipês already add up to an area the size of the municipality of São Paulo (SP) in alerts for forest clearing. Concessions supervised by the government deliver only 2% of the native woods that reach the markets; in the rest, suspicions of illegality hover.

How to contain the drop

Halting the tendency towards extinction of the ipê depends on tougher actions against illegal extraction, the use of other trees and, to meet current demand, the expansion of the management of the species. According to Imaflora estimates, a minimum forest management area of ​​16 million hectares would be required — six times more than the current 2.5 million hectares under concessions and certified undertakings at the federal, state and municipal levels. Management is logging in batches interspersed over up to 30 years, allowing time for the vegetation to recover.

“Studies show that the forest recovers well two years after handling. It generates jobs and income, maintains biodiversity and avoids clearcutting, which emits carbon by replacing natural environments with pastures and monocultures”, highlighted the director of Forestry Concessions and Monitoring of the Brazilian Forestry Service (SFB), Paulo Carneiro.

Today, there are 21 federal concessions on public forests in the Amazon. By the middle of next year, the government wants to expand federal authorizations for management from just over 1 million hectares to 4 million, a 300% jump. The planned offers include areas in the North and South of the country and will even allow the exploitation of tourism and the carbon credits market , to face the climate crisis.

The director of the Brazilian Association of Forestry Concessionaires, Daniel Bentes, assesses that the management potential in the country is even greater. “The concessions deliver only 2% of the national production of native wood. It is little compared to the potential of 35 million hectares for native forest management, ”he said. In the remaining 98%, there are suspicions of illegality.

But expanding the market for managed native woods depends on containing fraud in the extraction and sale of ipe and other species. Analyzes by civil entities, such as Greenpeace , have shown that companies inflate the number of trees per hectare and the percentage of logs converted into sawn wood to sell products removed from Conservation Units and Indigenous Lands.

“Fighting this situation depends on automating systems and reducing human influence on processes and information. Without this, companies and communities that practice forest management and contribute to the conservation of the Amazon and other biomes will continue to be associated with illegal practices and suffer from illegal competition that does not value the Brazilian forest resource”, highlighted Bentes.

Using other native woods will also contain pressure on more targeted trees. Only ten species account for 80% of the wood that leaves the Amazon, such as ipe, maçaranduba, angelim, jatobá and cumaru. “We tried to promote the use of other woods in concessions, but the market did not accept it. It's hard to convince anyone who wants an ipê deck to buy another species”, recognized Carneiro, from SFB.