State has 4.7m hectares privately managed by loggers in 44 cities; generating R$300m of annual revenues
Frank Rogieri — Foto: Foto: Divulgação
Sustainable forest management can help Mato Grosso reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 16% in the coming years, contributing to the state’s goal of neutralizing carbon generation by 2035, according to a study commissioned by the Secretariat of the Environment (Sema-MT). If it grows as planned, with an increase of 3.6 million hectares by 2050, the activity will be able to accumulate a reduction of 1,195 teragrams of carbon dioxide equivalent (TgCO2) — a measure corresponding to one million tonnes ¬— by 2050, when the state intends to be carbon negative.
In Mato Grosso, loggers privately manage 4.7 million hectares, with about 300,000 new hectares being added per year. Production has already exceeded 4 million cubic meters of native wood per year, with revenues of more than R$300 million in 2021. It is the main economic activity of 44 municipalities in the north of the state.
The activity legally extracts native wood from private legal reserves of farms in the Amazon biome, and now can have a more complete traceability. Once harvested, the area is left untouched for 25 years and is periodically assessed to verify the growth of the forest where the wood was harvested. Today, there are approximately 8.5 million hectares in Brazil — in other states, exploitation also takes place in state-run forests.
The “harvesting” of mature individuals that have stopped sequestering carbon makes room for the birth of new trees that will be able to retain polluting gases from the atmosphere through photosynthesis.
“Management is about combining science and technology and putting it all into practice to renew the Amazon rainforest. Forest management makes the most of the natural life cycle of the forest — which is born, grows, ages, and dies. In this process, before it dies, we harvest it to make the best use of it,” said Frank Rogieri de Almeida, president of the National Forum of Forest-Based Activities (FNBF), an organization that brings together producers and companies that participate in the sustainable management chain.
The activity can contribute to the reduction of 16% of carbon emissions by 2030, calculates Sema-MT, behind the maintenance of forest assets (26.7%) and the protection of secondary vegetation (21%) in a list of actions that the state government has prioritized to be zero carbon in the next decade.
By 2030, Mato Grosso is expected to reach 6 million hectares of forest management, with an annual reduction of 38 TgCO2e. With new expansions of the managed area, it will remove 50 TgCO2e in 2050. The potential is much greater since 53% of Mato Grosso’s territory is in the Amazon biome, where the legal reserve of properties is 80% of the total area. Permanent Protected Areas (APPs) are not used.
With these actions, Mato Grosso aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 236 TgCO2 by 2030, about 92% of the level that the state should reach in that year (257 TgCO2). By 2050, the reduction is expected to be 373 TgCO2, or 118% of the emissions level projected for that year (316 TgCO2).
To make sure to the consumer market that those products come from areas approved by the Environmental Agency, the productive sector and the government have intensified efforts to provide more transparency and security to the process. The activity was already monitored, but the monitoring has been extended. Since May, with the implementation of Sisflora 2.0, every forest product in Mato Grosso can be traced, log by log, as it leaves the forest. Previously, monitoring was done by tree.
Now the logs are sawn, measured, and marked before being shipped. Each section is identified with a tag that carries the tracking code that follows it to the final product, such as a piece of furniture. Anyone can scan and see the information about the wood, along with its exact location, by georeferencing the geographic coordinate of the tree from which it came.
The state is a pioneer in the adoption of this measure and hopes that it will be quickly implemented at the national level to make traceable wood more competitive. “Any forest product from Mato Grosso that is marketed already has traceability from origin to the final consumer,” said Secretary Mauren Lazzaretti.
She said that forest conservation must be linked to income generation, employment, and economic development, and added that management is more effective than the carbon credit market to keep the forest standing. “Creating economic embargoes will not change the reality of the Amazon,” she said. “It will only encourage the illegality of these products. Our effort is to create legality, to create a healthy environment for adding value to the products that are legally produced in the Amazon.”
(The reporter’s travel costs were covered by Cipem-MT, FNBF, and Simenorte)
*Por Rafael Walendorff — Alta Floresta
Source: Valor International