Boosting competitiveness of Brazil’s forestry sector provides the country with an opportunity to play a leading role in the international market and in the sustainability agenda
Brazil has a large forest cover – it’s the second largest in the world, second only to Russia. Brazil’s forestry sector accounts for about 3.5% of the country’s GDP (2007) (US$ 37.3 billion), and for 7.3% of the country’s total exports (US$ 10.3 billion). This sector is also responsible for the generation of approximately 7 million jobs.
The planted forest sector relies on a complex integrated supply chain structure, including providers of equipment, inputs, engineering projects, and forestry products. However, despite it’s significant share of the national economy, there is still room to expand production and add value to forestry products in the country.
The segment responsible for the sustainable exploitation of native forests still faces high levels of illegal activities and low competitiveness. Those operating legally in the native forestry sector find it difficult to expand their business – especially in the Amazon region – due to regulatory restrictions resulting from the region’s environmental attractiveness.
Illegal activities must be countered in order to build an adequate environment to tackle the technical, regulatory and political challenges to the development of a tropical timber market. Command and control actions must be implemented using intelligence and the information and control tools available, such as the National System for the Control of the Origin of Forest Products (Sinaflor) by the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) without creating additional red tape.
The expansion of forest concession areas driven by sustainable forest management provides an opportunity to increase the supply of tropical timber from native forests and is an important strategy for the conservation of remaining forest areas.
The forestry industry needs to develop its full potential, whether by increasing production or promoting new products and business models with a focus on the development of new materials. Developing an enabling business environment and strengthening the relevant institutions are key factors for enhancing the sector’s competitiveness and developing the country’s forestry potential, both for planted and native forests.