SAO PAULO – More than 50 percent of the lumber sold in Brazil comes from illegal sources, according to the estimate released Tuesday by the Environment Ministry as part of World Environment Day observance.
“That’s our estimate,” Edson Duarte said in a radio interview.
The environment minister said that the Brazilian lumber industry, which plays an important role in exports, has problems, he believes, because it is suspected of “being associated with illegal deforestation.”
“And nobody wants to be associated with the crime of illegal deforestation in the Amazon,” Duarte said.
In that regard, the minister said the government recently launched a new system of control by inspecting the origin of all the wood native to Brazil in order to combat the trade and illegal supply chains that exploit this resource.
The government is also keeping watch on the Amazon region by satellite and through a “tracking system” on the land where all the lumber that is cut and removed in a legal and authorized manner is registered.
The Brazilian Institute of Environment reported Monday the confiscation of 3,625 hectares (8,950 acres) and imposed fines worth a total of 24 million reais ($6.4 million) on lumber suppliers for deforesting wooded areas in the west-central state of Mato Grosso, which is in “an advanced state of regrowth.”
The Brazilian Amazon lost 6,624 sq. kilometers (2,558 sq. miles) of woodland between August 2016 and July 2017, an area equivalent to the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area, which represents 16 percent less than the area deforested in 2015-2016, according to official data.