Protecting the Amazon by promoting sustainable forest management

brazil forest

The dense forests of the Amazon are under threat from legal and illegal clearcutting and logging - a trend the Integrated Forest Management for Sustainable Production in the Amazon Region project seeks to reverse.

By creating national forests within regions vulnerable to rampant deforestation, Brazil is working to promote sustainable economic development while protecting precious forest resources.

October 21, 2022
  • SDG: #8, #9, #11, #12, #13, #15, #17
  • SECTORS: Development Consulting, Environment and Ecology
  • COUNTRIES: Brazil
  • DONOR: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through KfW Development Bank
  • CLIENT: Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA), Brazilian Ministry of the Environment (MMA); Brazilian Forest Service (SFB/MAPA); Institute for Biodiversity (ICMBio/MMA)
  • CONTRACT VALUE: EUR 15 million
  • DURATION: September 2014-December 2018; extended until December 2023
  • TA VALUE: EUR 4,577,000
  • LOCATION: Southwestern Brazilian Amazon region and along BR-163 highway Cuiabá - Santarém

National forests help to ease the pressures of deforestation if managed correctly. The pressure of deforestation on the Amazon Forest is immense – and it is increasing. According to a report published by the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment (MMA), 13,235 square kilometres of Amazon forest were cleared between August 2020 and July 2021, representing a 21.97% increase from the year before.

13235 sq km

area of Amazon Forest cleared, August 2020-July 2021

In order to combat this longstanding trend, the MMA initiated the Forest Management for Sustainable Production in the Amazon project in 2012 with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), through the German Development Bank (KfW). NIRAS-IP Consult, in partnership with Detzel Consulting, has been supporting the Brazilian Forestry Service (SFB) and the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) in the implementation of the project since September 2014. Since 2019, MAPA is participating in the project via the Brazilian Forest Service (SFB).

brazil forestry
This sustainable forestry initiative provides an incentive for local entrepreneurs to become involved in the conservation of forest resources.

In reducing deforestation and promoting the sustainable economic use of forests, the project aims to conserve resources for generations to come. As part of these efforts, we are providing support to manage 24 national forests, Floresta Nacional or Flona for short. Flonas are protected areas where no logging can take place unless governed by a concession, a legal instrument which gives selected companies the right to use natural resources in a sustainable and ecologically sound fashion.

Concessions are the key

The Flonas are located in the region around the Purus and Madeira Rivers in the southwest of the Amazon Basin, as well as along highway BR-163 connecting Cuiabá and Santarem. This area represents the “arc of deforestation”, a section of the forest which is under the most severe threat from poor use of resources and illegal logging.

To reduce deforestation and promote sustainable forest management in these areas, NIRAS-IP Consult has worked to strengthen the regional structure of the SFB and provide ICMBio with the infrastructure necessary to administer and monitor the Flonas. Furthermore, the project aims to increase the number of Flonas under concession, reducing illegal logging and mining and providing local companies with incentives to manage the forests sustainably.

Flonas are category VI protected areas according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – meaning that ecosystems and habitats are conserved while simultaneously respecting local needs to utilise natural resources in sustainable ways.

More than 12 million

hectares of forest falling within the currently demarcated Flonas

Holding a forest concession gives the contractor the right to extract timber and non-timber products up to a certain level, but also obliges the concessionary to protect and conserve the Flona. By August 2021, the project has supported the demarcation of nine Flonas as well as the development of two management plans; six of the Flonas within the project area are currently under concession.

As a part of sustainable forest management, trees of a certain size may be felled only if the area is subsequently left untouched for an extended growth period.

Supporting the local economy while conserving the forest

The concession of the Flona de Altamira demonstrates the benefits of well-managed, sustainable forest concessions to reduce deforestation in the Amazon. The forest is located along the highway BR-163, one end of which travels through the state of Mato Grosso in what once was dense rainforest and now is the centre of Brazilian agri-business. It continues to western Pará, a troubled area where representatives of the logging industry, agri-business, cattle farming, illegal mining, indigenous peoples, locals, and environmental agencies and NGOs regularly clash.

The concession is held by Patauá Florestal SPE, an entity created by five local entrepreneurs – all owners of small and medium-sized enterprises within the timber industry – for the sole purpose of managing the concession of the national forest. As the wood is processed within the vicinity of the town of Morais Almeida, Patauá and its partners currently employ around 500 people directly in a variety of roles: management of the concession, logging, wood processing, and logistics. Further, an estimated 1,500 jobs have been created indirectly in businesses supplying goods and services to the forest sector.

500 jobs

directly created in sustainable forestry in Flona de Altamira

Patauá supports the local economy, driving up standards of living and reducing precarity among the 10,000 inhabitants of the town. Since the start of the concession in 2016, illegal deforestation within the Flona has been reduced significantly, while outside of the protected area it remains an issue. This showcases how a locally managed concession can not only improve economic outcomes, but also reduce deforestation and support the ICMBio in monitoring the national forests.

In general, the Project's impact logic strengthens the management of National Forests and contributes to the implementation and monitoring of Forest Concessions. In this way, it contributes to increasing the supply of legal and sustainable wood on the market. Its actions promote forestry production as an economic alternative for the sustainable use of forest resources, adding value to the standing forest.

Learn more about this programme

Alfred Buck

Alfred Buck

Senior Consultant Natural Resource Management

Stuttgart, Germany