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Publicado em 20 de Janeiro de 2021
What is fact and what is myth about Ipê’s management and logging in Brazil, as well as other forest species.


Due to the complexity and extent of the subject, this text in no way intends to deplete the subject related to sustainable logging, but just to bring some counterpoints in order to mark the foundations for a rational debate on the issue, leaving aside the popular imagination and prejudices that surround this theme.

Much has been said in social media and news reports that the Ipê’s logging is driving it (and other species) to extinction and that forest exploration in the Amazon is one of the great villains of forest degradation.

Sustainable Forest Management (MFS) is an economic activity, of sustainable exploitation, where the forest is conserved, with no deforestation of the area, with only mature trees being harvested, ensuring the perpetuation of the managed species, ensuring their renewal, for new future exploration, in successive cycles.

For this to happen - that is, to guarantee the sustainability of forest management - it is carried out, within norms, provided for in a legal framework, both at the federal and state level, which brings with it all the parameters, indicators and procedures for activity is licensed and authorized by the competent environmental agencies, and on how the managed area should be monitored in the post-exploratory period, which can last from 25 to 35 years.

Among the parameters established by the legislation for the Sustainable Forest Management Plan (PMFS), a document established by the New Forest Code and guided by Conama Resolution 406/2009, and which guide the execution of the MFS, any forest species, be it ipê or other species, can only be harvested by proving that its stock will be replenished by natural regeneration.

To start the PMFS, a forest inventory is carried out 100% of the species existing at the site, by a forest engineer, gathering information on the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of the forest, by conducting a census of all commercial trees, including the demarcation of the geographical position, which must guarantee the permanence of seed and remaining trees, also respecting the minimum maintenance limit of three trees per species per 100 ha (one hundred hectares), in each Annual Production Unit (UPA).

The 100% forest inventory means that each tree in the area will have its coordinates and species indicated in a document provided to the State Environment Departments. It is as if the name and “address” of the trees were documented for later assessment by the environmental agency.

Thus, having met all these management conditions, only a part of the trees in the forest is removed. And only trees that measure over 50 cm in diameter.

In addition, a large stock of mature trees below 50 cm remains (where the largest number of trees are concentrated, close to 80% of the total), and the 10% of trees that have a diameter above 50 cm must remain in place as “matrices”. No other activity has this information accuracy, much less a minimum fallow of 25 years. A true sanctuary for wildlife.





MYTH: Wood from PMFS is at risk of extinction


It is completely wrong to say that a species exploited through Sustainable Forest Management (MFS) is endangered. It should also be noted that the MFS is the only land use activity that guarantees the perpetuation of standing forests, since the very continuity of the activity depends on the conservation of the forest and its support mechanisms.

In fact, the possibility of including Ipê in the list of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) due to the statement that the species is being threatened when harvested through PMFS contradicts the literature, studies scientific data, data and legislation regarding the sustainability of management.

In addition, it is also wrong to state that species that are not on the CITES list are not covered by monitoring, given that Brazil has the best and most modern control systems for timber trade, they are Sinaflor (Ibama) and in Mato Grosso the Sisflora / MT (Sema).


FACT: Sustainable Forest Management guarantees the conservation of the Amazon rainforest


A forest doesn't just contemplate mature trees that are being extracted and entering a sinkhole forever. The species populations are formed by a structure composed of several diametric classes. In order to have old trees, there must be seedlings, small trees, medium-sized trees, mature and then the final stage, as senescents (in addition to the seed bank). In other words, a tree of a certain species can only be harvested after proving that there are enough individuals, both to recompose the basic structure and to produce new individuals in the medium term, since the structure that remains is huge.

In addition to this proof, after harvesting, the managed area will be monitored for a period of 25 to 35 years. Only after this time limit may be prepared a new document called Sustainable Forest Management Plan to be again submitted to analysis and approval by the relevant environmental agencies. In Mato Grosso, the Managed Forest Maintenance Term of Responsibility (TRFM) is also issued, where this obligation is registered with the property's registration until the end of the term established in the PMFS.

The PMFS work as an important tool for monitoring, protection of forests and also as a source of information for the development of a database of the current situation of the Brazilian Amazon forest.

It should be noted that Sustainable Forest Management has no connection with deforestation.




MYTH: Ipê is under pressure because it is the most exported species among all species produced in Brazil


Dozens of information circulate, replicated in the media and on social networks, stating that Ipê is under pressure because it is being exported, but it is a huge mistake, as this species is not even among the 10 most produced in Brazil. According to the study by Ibama, available in the book “Madeira Production of Native Brazilian Species - 2012 to 2017”, obtained through the movement data of the DOF and Sisflora Systems (MT and PA), collected by the teams of the Flora Use Monitoring Coordination (Coflo), the General Coordination for Monitoring the Sustainable Use of Biodiversity and Foreign Trade (CGMoc), the Directorate for Sustainable Use of Biodiversity and Forests (DBFlo), Ipê ranks 14th on the list of species with the highest timber production in the period 2012 to 2017, with about 90% still produced through PMFS, which, as explained, does not put the species at risk.

Regarding timber production in the state of Mato Grosso, according to data from the State Secretariat for the Environment (SEMA/MT), in the period from 2012 to 2020, the total production of wood, by the amount of Forest Guides was 26,015,106.2764 cubic meters of wood, and of that amount, only 1,587,174.6804 cubic meters were from Ipê, that is, equivalent to approximately 6% of the total legally produced in the last 8 years.

In the case of timber exports, control is still intensified, as in addition to the Brazilian systems, the purchasing countries also have their own systems that establish a series of prerequisites to allow the entry of wood into their borders. The Chain of Custody is the main foundation of these control systems, since it brings with it the traceability of the wood, allowing to prove the legal origin of the wood.


FACT: Most of the Ipê wood produced in Brazil is destined for export, and there is nothing wrong with that


Ipê has greater added value in the market due to the quality of its wood, which has high density, good natural durability, rot resistance, receives good finish and has excellent workability. Among its many possibilities of use, it serves both for heavy external and internal civil construction, as well as for decoration, floors, decks, walls, finishes and furniture.

With all these qualities, the product naturally ends up having this reflected in its market value. And due to exchange rate variations, it is difficult for Brazilian companies to obtain or show interest in competing with international consumers when purchasing the product.

Still according to the Ibama study, which demonstrates the real situation of timber movements in Brazil, the average value of Ipê wood products in 2017 was R$ 5,979.00 per cubic meter, while the general average of all species amounted to R$ 1,379.46 per cubic meter.

Therefore, it is a fact that a large part of the Ipê wood produced in Brazil is destined for the international market, such as the United States and Europe. Still according to the study, 91.97% of the Ipê wood products were consumed abroad.

Exporting products is important for the country, as it expands its markets and makes Brazil more competitive and attractive for investments. This contributes to their economic growth and development, also contributing to the generation of jobs and income, two of the three pillars of management sustainability (socially fair and economically viable).





MYTH: The removal of Ipê from the proposal for inclusion in CITES will leave the species vulnerable


This misinformation was conveyed along with the derogatory hint that the Productive Sector demanded to be consulted to validate the proposal. The intervention made by the Productive Sector was about the procedure followed and the lack of transparency for the construction of the proposal.

As already explained, Brazil is currently a world reference in technology and control systems, which are mandatory to use and serve to trace the origin of forest products. Thus, adding any species that is under the PMFS system to the CITES list, without effective technical, scientific evidence through serious and transparent data surveys, not only invalidates all legislation and technical and scientific studies involving the PMFS, but also challenges the very sustainability of the activity.


FACT: The Ipê is not the “new Mahogany”


This type of comparison has become quite common in some media recently. However, this comparison shuffles information and ends up arousing panic in society.

In the past, Brazilian Mahogany was widely used in the production of furniture, panels and finishes, due to its good resistance, beauty and high market value. However, the “similarities” with Ipê end here.

The so-called “race for the Mahogany” occurred in the 80s and early 90s, at a time when there was insufficient knowledge and studies regarding the regeneration of forests, as well as there was no specific legislation for the exploitation of reduced impact, as it currently occurs with Sustainable Forest Management Plans.

Due to this lack of legal provisions and mainly of technological control and monitoring systems, about 20 years ago, a series of normative acts were published aiming at the protection of the species, we highlight:

  • Decree No. 4.722, of June 5th, 2003: Established criteria for the exploration of the species Swietenia macrophylla (Mahogany), whose exploitation is allowed for the species only in the form of sustainable forest management.


Currently the situation is different, and Ipê, as well as all other species harvested through PMFS, are being identified, mapped and conserved.

In addition, the document proposing the insertion of Ipê as an endangered species, forwarded by the Government to CITES, also mistakenly compared the Ipê with the Mahogany, which cannot be sustained, since the distance between the exploitation models used exceeds 40 years. They are different times, with completely different premises.

Another point brought up in the proposal addressed that the 30-year cycle would not be enough for the remaining individuals of Ipê to replenish the volume stock that was removed. What they did not address is that, a tree can only be harvested by the PMFS if it reaches the Minimum Cutting Diameter (DMC) of 50 cm DAP (Diameter at Chest Height). That is, if the species have not reached the minimum measure at the end of the cycle, or do not have proof of the existence of remaining individuals and matrices, they will not be harvested and will remain conserved in the forest for about another 30 years.

Thus, the intervention made by the Productive Sector, when it questioned the total carelessness of the initiative to, without a technical basis include Ipê in CITES, was about the procedure followed by a total lack of transparency for the construction of the proposal.




  • Sustainable Forest Management, carried out within the applicable technical and legal standards, is a beneficial and necessary activity to ensure the balance between production and conservation of the forest environment, ensuring the maintenance of forests and the generation of income, avoiding deforestation of managed areas;

  • Wood products are essential for the population and serve several purposes: civil construction, manufacture of boats, furniture, car parts, musical instruments, biomass for power generation, tools and household utensils, among many other uses. In other words, logging is and will remain present in everyone's daily life.

  • Timber buyers, both from the national and international markets, must require the Document of Forest Origin (DOF) and the Forest Guide (GF) to guarantee the sustainable origin of the products.

  • Monitoring of logging activities, as well as forest stocks, is of extreme importance for the country to maintain the sustainability of logging, ensuring the adoption of protective measures for species with logging potential, including their inclusion in the list of threatened species, when effectively demonstrated the need for such an initiative.

  • In addition, the sustainability of the logging activity also depends on the adoption of command and control activities, through the relentless fight against illegal activities by the competent authorities, be it primary exploitation, as for the other stages of the wood production chain, encouraging the adoption and the promotion of good forestry practices.