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This post is also available in (Post também disponível em): Português (Portuguese (Brazil))

Gabriel Abreu – From Cenarium Magazine
(*) Caroline Viegas

MANAUS – Considered the biggest seizure in history, more than 130 thousand cubic meters of wood – illegally removed from the forest – were rescued by the Federal Police (PF) during Operation Handroanthus GLO, carried out in the last seven days. The action raised the debate among experts who said it was “irreparable damage” to the environment.

In partnership with the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), the PF managed to reach 43,700 logs in Pará, along the Mamuru and Arapiuns rivers, in a region bordering the Amazon through the municipality of Parintins (the 369 kilometers from Manaus). Researchers interviewed by CENARIUM MAGAZINE commented on the impacts of crime on the forest.

According to the MPF, the investigations began in mid-November, after the seizure of a ferry in Parintins, with 3,000 cubic meters of wood extracted from Pará.

Information about the origin of this loading and analysis of satellite images through the Planet System took the Federal Police, in helicopter flights, to the points where the logs were found in the river.

Logs seized by the PF in Pará (João Paulo Guimarães / Cenarium Magazine)

Irregular extensions

The environmentalist Carlos Durigan explained that illegal logging is carried out without any good management practice, which leads to great impacts, both on exploited and logged species, as well as in the entire area where they occur, with the irregular opening of branches and trails for access to areas and extraction.

“In the absence of management, they end up extracting large trees that in a management area would not be removed. Many of them are hundreds of years old, so an area with this type of exploration”, said the expert.

For him, the area is unlikely to have the same physiognomy again since part of the region started to be used by other impacting activities, such as agriculture and extensive livestock. “With this change of scenery, the deforested area is more prone to forest fires,” explained Durigan.

According to the Attorney of the Republic Leonardo Galiano, the initial estimate in relation to the volume of wood seized is 131.1 thousand cubic meters, but this number maybe even higher.

The fight against wood exploitation in the Amazon rainforest was the subject of a meeting between the MPF and the Ministry of the Environment and the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) in the last week and resulted in measures to prevent the practice of crime in the country region.

The results of Operation Archimedes, the impact of the repression of illegal logging and deforestation rates in the Amazon were also discussed.

Endangered species

The need to include ipe in the list of forest species threatened with extinction or in a situation of alert of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was also the subject of the meeting between MPF, MMA, and Ibama.

The measure is subject to the MPF’s procedure in Amazonas. Ipe, whose scientific name is Handroanthus, is the most exploited species in the Amazon region, according to consolidated data from Operation Archimedes.

The Ministry of the Environment, Ibama, the Botanical Garden of Rio Janeiro, and other institutions are collecting data and identifying studies on the topic to meet the MPF’s requests, which should subsidize the measures adopted by the agency.

Statistics alert

In November, according to data from Imazon’s Deforestation Alert System (SAD), in just one month, 484 km² of green area in Brazil was cut down. The number is 23% higher compared to the same period last year when 393 km² were deforested.

The deforestation in November 2020 is the highest in the historical series for the past ten years. It is worth mentioning that, for some months, deforestation has been breaking records, which worries specialists

In the ranking of the states that most deforested the Amazon, Pará appears again in the first place, with almost half (48%) of all deforestation in the Legal Amazon. Next comes Mato Grosso (19%), Rondônia (10%), Maranhão (9%), Amazonas (8%), Acre (3%), Roraima (2%) and, finally, Amapá (1%).