Implementation of National Forests: Solving Land Tenure Problems, Avoiding Forest Degradation

Geographical location:

Latin America/Caribbean > South America > Brazil

Latin America/Caribbean > South America > Brazil > Pará > Rio Tapajós

Map of the national forest of Altamira, Para, Brazil.
© WWF Brazil


The project seeks to support measures to reduce deforestation in Brazil, in particular through the reduction of illegal logging and timber collection.

Deforestation is a major cause for concern in Brazil, leading to greenhouse gas emissions, the destruction of biodiversity and threats to species, as well as serious economic impacts on the government and population of the country.

WWF will aim to provide support to the Brazilian government and other NGOs to effectively manage forests and undertake research on the commercial timber process in the country.


Brazilian society is not equipped with enough information to demand drastic measures from the Brazilian government to ensure the conservation of precious forest resources. The only reliable data available simply indicates the disastrous year on year rates of deforestation.

Similarly, the government itself does not have access to reliable data about the extent of the problem caused by illegal activities in the forest sector. Moreover, it does not have an accurate measure of how much is lost in terms of taxes and jobs due to illegal activity in the forestry sector.

In order to change this situation, Brazilian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have developed a series of studies in which they have already shown that the greatest consumption of raw timber occurs in the states in the South and Southwest regions of Brazil. Furthermore, the sector which consumes most wood products is the construction sector, often financed by the government.

It is now important to focus on quantifying the illegal activities in the timber chain to show how much Brazil is losing in taxes, jobs and biodiversity by not adopting an efficient forest management system.

A further problem is the lack of definition of local land tenure and the consequent deforestation which takes place as a result of the illegal occupation of public land. WWF believes that one of the quickest alternatives for achieving the definition of land tenure in some of the areas of conflict is the creation of conservation areas for direct use as national forests.

This makes the establishment of land tenure possible, while at the same time providing an economic development alternative for the region including forest management. Through the development of national forest, land tenure can be established and regulated, and local development and sustainable production of wood are achievable. In consultation with the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Natural Renewable Resources (IBAMA), the national forest of Altamira with an area of 689,000ha in Para state has been selected for this work.


1) Support IBAMA in the development of the management plan for the Altamira national forest.

2) Develop a study on Brazil’s commercial timber chain from extraction to initial processing.


WWF believes that by showing the extent of the problem and the measures that can be adopted to minimize them, partners are able to work together to build coherent public policies with options for the Brazilian forest sector. From this, it could be possible to work towards acceptance of the European Union (EU) Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) instruments within the Brazilian government.

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