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Zoning of Timber Extraction in the Brazilian Amazon

Authors

  • Adalberto Veríssimo,

    1. Instituto do Homem e Meio Ambiente da Amazônia, Caixa Postal 1015, Belém, Pará, 66.017–000, Brazil
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  • Carlos Souza Júnior,

    1. Department of Agricultural, Resource and Managerial Economics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, U.S.A.
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  • Steve Stone,

    1. Instituto do Homem e Meio Ambiente da Amazônia, Caixa Postal 1015, Belém, Pará, 66.017–000, Brazil
    2. Department of Agricultural, Resource and Managerial Economics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, U.S.A.
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  • Christopher Uhl

    1. Instituto do Homem e Meio Ambiente da Amazônia, Caixa Postal 1015, Belém, Pará, 66.017–000, Brazil
    2. Biology Department, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, U.S.A.
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      § Address correspondence to C. Uhl, email

§ Address correspondence to C. Uhl, email cful@psu.edu

Abstract

The state of Pará (1,248,042 km2), in eastern Amazônia, produces 65% of Brazil’s roundwood. Logging is now spreading across this state in an unplanned and unregulated fashion. Using a geographic information system (GIS), we combined and analyzed spatial information on forest cover, legal land classification, log processing industries, biodiversity, and infrastructure for the entire state. We first used this GIS, in combination with economic data, to analyze the spread of logging activities in Pará. We found that in the mid-1990s, the potential already existed (in economic terms) to harvest timber from 80% of Pará’s forested lands: 21% of Pará’s forest was accessible for the harvest of all commercial species, including those of low value; an additional 30% was accessible for logging a select group of medium-value species; and a final 29% of the state’s forest was accessible for the logging of mahogany, a high-value species. Although 29% of Pará’s lands are legally protected from logging, protection is weak: almost three-quarters of these “protected” lands fall within the zone in which timber can now be profitably harvested. We also used the GIS to develop a rationale for zoning where logging might be permitted, as well as prohibited, in Pará. First, we noted that 19% of the state contained lands without timber (12% deforested, 6.3% nonforest vegetation types, and 0.7% water). The land that we designate for logging, based both on economic and conservation considerations, would be approximately 32% (400,000 km2) of the state. This would include areas where logging is already underway (24%), production reserves and buffer areas (3%), and remote areas with no conservation restrictions (5%). We propose that the remaining area (49%, or 611,540 km2) be protected from logging, at least for the time being. These lands include forested areas where logging is already “officially” prohibited (28% of Pará) as well as nonprotected areas with a high conservation priority (21%) (i.e., areas that are especially rich in biodiversity).

Zonación de la Extracción de Madera en la Amazonia Brasileña

El estado de Pará (1,248,042 km2), en el este de la amazonia produce 65% de la madera redonda del Brazil. La tala se esta dispersando actualmente a lo largo de este estado sin planificación ni regulación. Usando un Sistema de Información Georgráfico (GIS), combinamous y analizamos información espacial de cobertura forestal, clasificación legal de la tierra, industrias procesadoras de troncos, biodiversidad e infraestructura para la totalidad del estado. Primero utilizamos este GIS en combinación con datos económicos para analizar la dispersión de las actividades de tala en Pará. Encontramos que a mediados de los 90’s el potencial ya existía (en terminos económicos) para cosechar madera en 80% de las tierras forestales de Pará: 21% del bosque de Pará era accesible para la cosecha de todas las especies comerciales, incluyendo aquellas de bajo valor; un adicional 30% era accesible para tala de un grupo selecto de especies de mediano valor y un final 29% del bosque estatal era accesible para la tala de cahoba-especie de alto valor comercial. Aunque un 29% de las tierras de Pará estan legalmente protegidas contra la tala, la protección es débil; casi tres cuartas partes de estas tierras “protegidas” se encuentran de la zona en que la madera puede ser ahora cosechada de manera rentable. También utilizamos GIS para desarrollar los fundamentos para una zonación donde la tala podría ser permitida, así como prohibida, en Pará. Primero, notamos que 19% del estado contiene tierras sin madera (12% deforestado, 6.3% tipos de vegetación no forestal y 0.7% es agua). La tierra que asignamos para tala, en base a consideraciones tanto económicas como de conservación, sería de aproximadamente 32% (400,000 km2) del estado. Esto incluye áreas donde la tala se encuentra actualmente en camino (24%), áreas de producción de reserva y áreas amortiguadoras (3%) y áreas remotas sin restricciones de conservación (5%). Proponemos que el área restante (49% ó 611,540 km2) sea protegida de la tala, al menos por un tiempo inmediato. Estas tierras incluyen áreas boscosas donde la tala es actualmente prohibida “oficialmente” (28% de Pará). Asi como áreas no protegidas con un alta priridad de conservación (21%) (i.e. áreas que son especialmente ricas en biodiversidad).

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