According to the FAO (2015), Brazil has around 493.5 million hectares of forested land, which constitutes 58% of the total land area. Brazil represents the second largest forested area in the world, second only to Russia (Brazilian Forestry Service). Around 485 million hectares are primary or otherwise naturally regenerated forests, while the remaining 7.7 million hectares is planted forest, mainly consisting of introduced species such as Eucalyptus and Pine, and to a lesser extent Acacia, Teak and Rubber wood (TFT). The vast majority of the country’s planted forests are located in the south of Brazil, while the native forests that provide timber are almost exclusively part of the Amazon. Brazilian forests can be classified broadly as Amazon rainforest, Atlantic rainforest (Mata Atlântica), central ‘cerrado’ savannah, arid ‘caatinga’ and the wetlands of the Pantanal (ITTO, 2011). Forest land cover in Brazil has declined over the last 25 years, with an average rate of deforestation in the Amazon of around 6,000 square km a year since 2010 (figure derived from official National Institute of Space Research (INPE) data).
Forests can be publicly or privately owned. Public lands subject to forest management are covered with natural forests (there is no plantation management on public lands) and can be carried out by private companies or by traditional communities. The management of natural forests may also occur on private land. Around 60% of the forest area in Brazil has been identified as “Permanent Forest Estate” (PFE) (ITTO, 2011). PFE is defined as: Land, whether public or private, secured by law and kept under permanent forest cover. This includes land for the production of timber and other forest products, for the protection of soil and water, and for the conservation of biological diversity, as well as land intended to fulfil a combination of these functions. Forest area that is not classified as PFE is open for conversion to other land uses. The PFE area is roughly divided into Production and Protection areas. The Production PFE is separated into:
- FLONAs (floresta nacional (national forest) - type of conservation units),
- extractive reserves,
- sustainable development reserves,
- legal reserves and permanent preservation areas on private land.
In general, Protection PFE is forest inside designated protected areas, where timber production and other forms of resource exploitation such as mining and commercial hunting are prohibited. Protection PFE in Brazil includes: units of integral protection (federal and state) and indigenous lands.
Production and export
According to ITTO (2017) in 2015 the Brazilian industry produced about 136 million m3 of logs. Total export value of primary timber products in 2015 was about 980 million US dollars (ITTO 2017).
Commonly harvested tropical species for industrial roundwood (ITTO, 2011), in terms of volume:
- Maçaranduba (Manilkara huberi)
- Angelim (Dinizia excelsa)
- Cupiúba (Goupia glabra)
- Jatobá (Hymenaea courbaril)
- Cedrinho (Erisma uncinatum)
Other common native species:
- Amapa (Brosimum utile)
- Cumaru (Dipteryx odorata)
- Faveira (Parkia spp.)
- Garapa (Apuleia leiocarpa)
High value species:
- Ipê-amarelo / Brazilian walnut (Handroanthus serratifolius; previously referred to as Tabebuia serratifolia)
- Ipê-roxo / Brazilian walnut (Handroanthus impetiginosus; previously referred to as Tabebuia impetiginosa)
- Cedro Vermelho / Cedar (Cedrela odorata). This species is listed on CITES Appendix III.
- Itaúba (Mezilaurus itauba)
Principal plantation species:
- Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.)
- Pines (Pinus spp.)
Other plantation species:
- Acacia (Acacia spp.)
- Teak (Tectona spp.)
- Parica (Schizolobium amazonicum)
- Rubber Wood (Hevea brasiliensis)
In the figure below we see that the main destination markets for Brazil are the USA, Mexico and Europe.
The main products Brazil exports are mouldings (softwood and hardwood), plywood, furniture, joinery, pulp and paper and sawn wood.
The key processing sites are principally located in Belém and Santarém in the state of Para. 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, Santarém and Vila do Conde in the northern part of the country, and Paranaguá in the south.
Sources of information
- Brazilian Forestry Service
- BVRio Practical guide to conducting due diligence of tropical timber products: Brazil
- FAO (2015) Forest Resources Assessment
- PRODES Annual deforestation rate in the Brazilian Legal Amazon
- Fordaq - timber trade network
- Forest Legality Alliance country profile - Brazil
- ITC (International Trade Centre) calculations based on UN Comtrade statistics
- ITTO (2011) Status of Tropical Forest Management 2011 - Brazil
- ITTO (2017) ITTO Biennial review and assessment of the world timber situation 2015 – 2016
- NepCon Brazil Timber Risk Profile
- TFT Country guide to timber legality - Brazil
- World Port Source - Map of ports in Brazil with container liner service.
- WWF / GFTN: TRAFFIC: Framework for Assessing Legality of Forestry Operations, Timber Processing and Trade Annex
The forest law, the Brazilian Forest Code (Law No. 4.771) has a national scope and was in force from 1965 up to 2012, when it was replaced by the Brazilian Forest Law (Law No. 12.651). The management of Brazil's forests involves different institutions at three levels of government (federal, state, and municipality). In the federal government, the forest management is under the direct responsibility of four institutions:
- The Ministry of the Environment (MMA) is responsible for formulating forestry policies. It operates by granting power for sustainable forest production and is responsible for signing forest concession contracts.
- The Brazilian Forestry Service (SFB) is the administrative institution of the federal public forests for the sustainable production of goods and services. It is also responsible for the generation of information, qualifications, and fostering the forest area.
- The Brazilian Institute of the Environment and of Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) is the institution responsible for environmental control and inspection, and is also responsible for licensing and environmental control of the Brazilian forests in its area of competence.
- The Institute Chico Mendes of Conservation and Biodiversity (ICMBio) is responsible for proposing, implementing, managing, protecting, inspecting, and monitoring the Conservation Units instituted by the Federal Government.
At the state level, generally, the state departments of the environment are responsible for formulating policies and forest standards, and the state environmental institutions are responsible for licensing, controlling, and inspecting forest activities and conservation. In the municipalities that have a forest management structure, the arrangement is similar.
As the management of Brazil’s forests involves different institutions at three levels of government (federal, state, and municipality), timber importing operators should also comply with relevant and applicable legislation at federal and state level. The rules for the management of native forests are much more stringent than those for plantations. The need for an environmental license for plantation management varies from state to state.
Only Brazilian-based community associations, cooperatives and companies can participate in forest concessions. Timber extraction in Brazil occurs in public (forest concessions within National Forest) or private land. The licensing process for the extraction varies depending on if the forest is public or private. But, in all cases, the annual operation plan must be approved by means of a logging permit issued by the relevant state environmental agency (except for federal forests, where the permit is issued by the federal environmental agency - IBAMA).
All concessionaires must be on IBAMA’s technical register (Cadastro Técnico Federal). IBAMA also has an active database that can be consulted to find out about ‘blacklisted’ forests and companies (‘areas embargadas’). The output is a list of areas (and the managing company) where harvesting is prohibited. Maps are also available per search result.
In order to harvest from concessions in native forests, concessionaires must hold a concession contract. In order to harvest from private lands in native forests, timber companies must hold land title documents (or leasehold).
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.
In most cases, companies harvesting from planted forests which are not considered an area of permanent conservation (PFE), do not need to have a harvesting permit, but need to declare to the authorities the purpose of exploitation when establishing the plantation (Law No. 12.651).
In Brazil, the responsible body for the collection and inspection of income tax is the Secretaria da Receita Federal do Brasil (Secretariat of the Federal Revenue of Brazil), commonly referred to as Receita Federal (RFB). The RFB has a computerized system to collect the income taxes of all statutory individuals and entities, cross-checking data between different payers and income recipients. Anyone can check if a company has any disputes with the Secretariat of the Federal Revenue of Brazil through the RFB website.
When harvesting in native forests, timber companies 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 (generally called Autorização de Exploração – AUTEX, except in the State of Pará, where it is called AUTEF, and in the State of Amazonas, where an Operating License – LO is required). In addition, when harvesting from concessions in native forests, concessionaires must hold a concession contract.
In terms of workers’ rights, Brazil has a broad legal framework relating to the legality of employment. The Decree Law 5452/1943 (Consolidation of the Labor Laws CLT) is the main guideline on this matter. Its Clause 41 stipulates that all workers should be registered by the company employer. Other points present workday rules, paid rest, child and woman labor, compensation, unionization, and other matters. In addition, the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MTE) have created and regularly updates a register of employers who have submitted workers to conditions analogous to that of a slave, which is then disseminated by the NGO Reporter Brazil.
For Health and Safety requirements, the authority responsible for inspections and regulations is the MTE. There is a large range of Regulating Norms (NR) that deal with the matter, with the most applicable to the forestry sector being the NR 31 (Security and Health in the Work in Agriculture, Livestock Farming, Forestry, Forest Exploitation and Aquaculture), which has the objective of aligning the planning and development of rural activities with the health and security of the workers.
IBAMA must be informed of any applications for an environmental license for activities in the vicinity of Indigenous or Quilombola (descendants of rebelled slave communities) (Inter-ministerial administrative decree issued by the Environment Ministry under No. 419/11). IBAMA will then consult with the entities involved. It might be necessary to prepare an EIA/RIMA (Environmental Impact Study and Report) following public consultation.
The transportation of timber within Brazil requires a timber transport authorization, called Guia Florestal (“GF”, in the states of Pará and Mato Grosso) or Documento de Origem Florestal (“DOF”, in all other states). Timber should also be accompanied by a Nota Fiscal Eletrônica - a Federal digital invoice/receipt of the Brazilian revenue department, to record all sales in the country and the amount of taxes due.
DOFs are issued by IBAMA and can be used for any type of native timber product. 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 sub-products should be accompanied by the relevant DOF from the originating timber yard up to customs terminal. Sub-products such as windows, doors and furniture, and cellulose and wood paste are exempt and so do not require a DOF. 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. 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). Companies transporting exotic species from planted forests are not required to carry a DOF but must carry a nota fiscal (invoice).
Guia Florestal (GFs), used in the states of Pará and Mato Grosso, are issued by SEMA (Secretaria do Ambiente e Desenvolvimento Sustentável, or State Secretariat for the Environment). They are divided into two types:
- GF1 – authorization to transport logs, from the forest of origin to a sawmill;
- GF3 – authorization to transport sawn or processed timber products.
GF3s are also issued when timber is exported, and in this case, should contain the name of the importer and the destination country.
All GFs have a barcode which can be used to retrieve an electronic version of the document. On the electronic version, the documents of a concession or sawmill (e.g. licenses and AUTEF/AUTEX) and sanctions against the operator can be searched.
All 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. In addition, all sawmills must be enrolled in the DOF system (or the Sisflora system, if in the states of Para and Mato Grosso). The timber processing company must complete relevant sections of the DOF (Documento de Origem Florestal).
Exportation in Brazil is also regulated by the Brazilian Federal Revenue (RFB) through the online system called SISCOMEX (Integrated Foreign Trade System). Private individuals and companies must be registered with SISCOMEX in order to perform imports or exports when the operation requires a license from SISCOMEX. This registration with SISCOMEX, is also known as RADAR (Ambiente de Registro e Rastreamento de Atuação do Intervenientes Aduaneiros).
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 SISCOMEX or through paper forms. The full customs declaration must be processed online via SISCOMEX.
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 Registration) from SISCOMEX;
- Copy of the nota fiscal (Invoice);
- Packing list;
- Transportation Authorization;
- Export authorization for wood products and sub-products (e.g. CITES), as appropriate.
The below listed key documents are based on the applicable legislation and are considered to play a key role in demonstrating legal origin. The full list of applicable legislation is accessible here (NEPCon).
BVRio’s ‘Practical guide to conducting due diligence of tropical timber products: Brazil’ contains examples of the key documents and is accessible here.
Processing and Trade
Bans and quota
Brazil has a ban on log exports (since 1996) and focus on exports of secondary processed wood. (source: TFT). Export of logs from plantations is permitted (NEPCon).
Cites and protected species
CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement among governments that aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
The following tree species are found in natural forest in Brazil and covered by CITES (Appendix I, II or III):
- Jacarandá / Brazilian Rosewood (Dalbergia nigra) - Appendix I
- Pau Rosa / Brazilian Pinkheart (Aniba roseodora) - Appendix II
- Palo Santo / Verawood (Bulnesia sarmientoi) - Appendix II
- Pau Brasil / Brazilwood (Paubrasilia echinata) - Appendix II
- Mogno Brasileiro / Brazilian Mahogany; also called "Caoba" or "Acajou" (Swietenia macrophylla) - Appendix II
- Cedro / Spanish Cedar (Cedrela odorata) - Appendix III
- Cedro Rosa / Cedro Colorado (Cedrela fisillis) - Appendix III
- Cedrilho / Cedro Del Cerro (Cedrela lilloi) - Appendix III
IBAMA is the only scientific and administrative authority in Brazil able to grant CITES licenses.
The import / export of CITES species in Brazil can only be performed in a limited number of ports:
- North region: Belém Port (PA)
- South region: Paranaguá (PR), Itajaí (SC) and Uruguaiana (RS) Ports
- Southeast region: Santos (SP) and Vitória (ES) Ports
Some natural forest tree species are protected and have restrictions and even prohibitions for commercialization (export / domestic market) by Brazilian law, and some of these species are also CITES-listed as above (FLA):
- Castanha do Pará / Brazil nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa)
- Araucária / Brazilian Pine (Araucaria angustifolia)
- Pau Brasil / Brazilwood (Paubrasilia echinata)
- Jacarandá / Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra)
National action on timber legality
In Brazil, production of timber is controlled by three official timber control systems. The main system, developed by the Federal Government, is the Document of Forest of Origin (Documento de Origem Floresta – DOF), introduced by the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment in 2007 and adopted by most states in the country. Two states (Pará and Mato Grosso), however, developed and operate their own systems, Sisflora (Sistema de Comercialização de Transporte de Produtos Florestais). In general, the three systems are similar to each other and cover all activities related to the extraction (logging), transportation, processing, and commercialisation of timber products. The main focus of these systems is to ensure that every activity is documented, to enable wood products to be traced through the chain and forest management regulations to be enforced.
Brazil does not have, and is not negotiating, a VPA with the EU.
Third party certification
There is an approved national FSC standard for Brazil’s Natural Forest and one for Plantation Forests. Furthermore there is a so called SLIMF-standard, which shall be used in FSC timber & non-timber forest management certification audits, for traditional communities, indigenous peoples and small-scale producers in Brazil. 6.7 million hectares of the Brazilian forests are covered with a FSC FM certificate (FSC, August 2018).
- PEFC: Brazilian Forest Certification Programme (CERFLOR)
The CERFLOR certificate is a Brazilian forest certification initiative, whose standards were prepared by ABNT (Brazilian Technical Standards Association). The CERFLOR system includes forest management standards for native forests as well as for plantations. The system is endorsed by PEFC. As of June 2015, there are more than 3.8 million hectares of forests certified (PEFC, June 2018). The majority of CERFLOR-certified companies also has a FSC certificate.
Sources of information
- Centralized National Risk Assessment (FSC) Category 1 Brazil Consultation
- CITES database
- EU FLEGT facility
- Forest Legality Alliance (WRI) risk tool - Brazil
- FSC report Facts & Figures – August 2018
- Global Forest Registry
- ITTO (2011) Status of Tropical Forest Management - Brazil
- NEPCon Sourcing Hub: Forestry risk profile: Brazil
- PEFC report Facts & Figures – June 2018
- Portal da Legislação
- SCS LegalHarvest Verification (LHV) certificates
- TFT Country guide to timber legality: Brazil
Brasília - DF
The Ministry of Environment is responsible for forestry as well as for planning, coordinating and controlling activities related to the national environment policy and policies for developing the Amazon. It supervises the activities of IBAMA and the Brazilian Forest Service.
Ed. sede do IBAMA
70.818-900 – BRASÍLIA - DF
70818-900 - Brasília - DF
The Brazilian Forest Service from the Ministry of Environment coordinates the National Registry of Public Forests (NRPF), which includes Federal, State and Municipal Public Forests Registries.
CEP: 70.670-350 - Brasilia - DF
ICMBio is primarily responsible for the management, protection and inspection of federally protected ‘Conservation Units’ (in Portuguese known as ‘unidades de conservação’), which can be divided in two groups: full protection and sustainable use.
www.sema.mt.gov.br/ (Mato grosso)
SEMA State Secretariat for the Environment, responsible for issuing environmental licenses for any activity that occurs in a state land.
Cep: 66610-770; Tel: (91) 3184-3600
Secretaria Executiva: Departamento de Apoio ao Conselho Nacional do Meio Ambiente - DCONAMA
Edifício Sede do Ministério do Meio Ambiente, Esplanada dos Ministérios - Bloco B, 9º andar, sala 950
70068-901 - Brasília/DF
SEPN 505, Ed. Marie Prendi Cruz, 5º andar, sala 501.
70730-542 - Asa Norte - Brasília/DF/Brasil
Jardim Botânico. 80.215 090 Curitiba PR
SCN Q1 Bl. E - Ed. Central Park - Sala 1215/1216 - Cep: 70711-903
Fone: 61 3202.8686
São Paulo office:
Av. Brig. Faria Lima,1234 - 15 andar - 151 - Cep:01451-913
São Paulo/SP, Brazil
Fone: 11 3817.8711
Belém - Pará - Brasil
Belém – Pará – Brasil
367 - Jardim Botânico,
Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 22460-190, Brazil
BVRio’s Responsible Timber Exchange (www.bvrio.com/timber) is an online negotiations platform for sourcing legal and sustainable timber products from all over the world.
Integrated into the platform is an online Due Diligence and Risk Assessment system (www.bvrio.com/timber) to help buyers understand and evaluate the supply chain of a timber consignment, facilitating compliance with EUTR and the US Lacey Act.
Source: Transparancy International