Brazil's Federal Prosecutor takes action against criminal loggers

Posted by Richardg — 9 June 2014 at 11:45am - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: Marizilda Cruppe
Sawmill in Pará, deep in the Amazon rainforest

Last month we exposed the scams that loggers in the Brazilian Amazon are using to launder illegal timber. Now the Federal Prosecutor has taken action to stamp out timber laundering.

In November of last year, we visited a number of areas in the Brazilian Amazon where logging is permitted. We found evidence of timber laundering or illegal logging at twelve of them. The four best examples went into our report into timber laundering.

Together, these case studies show how loggers in the Amazon have systematically corrupted the regulatory regime established to stop illegal logging. They've turned it into a sophisticated laundering operation that hides their forest crimes behind official documents.

Those four logging sites we exposed - each of which is in the supply chain of companies that export timber from the Amazon to the UK - are still up and running. But now the Federal Prosecutor in Pará - the Brazilian equivalent of the Attorney General - is trying to shut them down.

The Federal Prosecutor examined 18 different logging sites. He found serious problems with each.

In ten examples - including our four cases - the problems he found were so serious that he's ordered the state of Pará and IBAMA, the government agency that monitors the timber industry, to intervene and suspend all logging activities.

He is calling for all forest management plans - all sites where logging has been permitted - to be inspected, so that any other criminal operations are weeded out. He also says that no new plans should be approved without an inspection.

This is yet more proof, if such a thing were needed, of the scale of the problem in the Amazon. Companies importing timber from the Amazon need to be very, very careful to avoid getting caught out.

Update: we have translated the Federal Prosecutor's submission to the court into English.

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