SOME STATISTICAL FACTS AND FIGURES ON LOGGING IN THE AMAZON (2):
• According to scientists, Amazon logging companies extract
or damage 10 to 40 percent of the live biomass of a
forest area, and open up the canopy by14 to 50 percent.
• Working in remote forest areas, the loggers often use
false permits, ignore limitations of legal permits, cut species
protected by law and steal from protected areas and indigenous lands. These
are often small or medium scale
operations that are able to avoid detection because of the remoteness of
the logging locations, the weak
presence of the federal environmental agency IBAMA, and a complex chain-of-custody
in the cutting, hauling and
transporting of the logs.
• Legally approved forest operations in the Brazilian
Amazon commonly provide cover for illegal logging. Logs are
frequently cut illegally upriver from approved operations and clandestinely
floated downstream. Once past an
approved operation, they are “legalised” with forged documents claiming
that the logs were cut on the property of
the forestry operation.
• An area of 589,000 km2, larger than France, has disappeared
in the last 30 years. Satellite data has shown
that deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon last year (19,532 km2) was greater
than at any time since 1995.
• According to Brazil's National Institute for Space
Research, which monitors deforestation via satellite, the
total annual deforested area equalled 19,836 square kilometres between August
1999 and August 2000.
This is equivalent to four million soccer fields. This represents a 15 percent
increase in deforestation
compared to 17,259 from August 1998 to August 1999.
• The logging industry in the Amazon is highly wasteful.
Seventy percent of all logged timber ends up as
unusable fragments or sawdust.
• According to the Brazilian government, approximately
100 million hectares of land, or 20 percent of the entire
Amazon region, is held illegally.
• The Samauma tree is known in the Amazon as the
"Queen of the Forest" because of its great height which
can reach well over 50 metres. Some Indian groups consider the tree sacred.
The softwood timber of the
Samauma is pink-white and is used by locals to make rafts, while the roots
are often used to make huts by
forest dwellers. The Samauma tree is now being cut to make cheap plywood
• The Brazilian (Big Leaf) mahogany tree is one of the
most well known hardwood species around the world.
But it is also a symbol of the environmental and human degradation inflicted
upon the Amazon rainforest and
its indigenous populations by the logging industry. Since the 18th century,
the tropical forests of South
America have been plundered for Mahogany for ship building and later for
furniture making. Today, furniture
manufacture is the principle end use of Brazilian Mahogany, mainly in the
US and the UK. These two
countries export finished Mahogany all around the world.
• In Brazil’s Amazonas State, all plywood and veneer
exporting companies were either directly or indirectly
involved in illegal logging between 1997 and 1999, including WTK that regularly
exports plywood to the UK.
In Pará state, the largest exporters are known to have purchased
from illegal sources, including the
Japanese logging company Eidai do Brasil which exports wood products to
Japan, the Netherlands, US and
• Between January 2000 and April 2001, exports from the
Brazilian port of Santarem to the Netherlands alone
totalled 22,681 cubic metres of wood and wood products.
• Within a period of only two and a half months this
year, 22,392 cubic metres of wood and wood products
were shipped from the Brazilian port of Belem to the US.
• Pará state is the biggest log producer in the
Amazon, producing approximately 12 million cubic meters in
1997, of which 19 percent was exported. The remaining was consumed by the
Brazilian market. Sao Paulo
state consumer 12 percent alone, followed by Minas Gerais (8 percent) and
Rio Grande do Sul (6 percent).
• Brazil exported 30,968 tonnes (31,600 tons) of mahogany
in 2000. The US alone imported 22,442 tonnes
(22,900 tons) or 72.4 percent of the total at US$28.2 million.