Igor Utsumi

Igor Utsumi

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Logging Permit In Brazil

Igor Utsumi

Igor Utsumi

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Brazil has been trying to get rid of its image as a deforester country, but the country is still seen as one of the biggest loggers in the world. This article will explain more about logging permits in Brazil.

Brazil has huge portions of green areas. The country has 5.44 million square kilometers of vegetation, the second largest in the world, only behind Russia.

Yet, Brazil is also the biggest logger in the world, according to an index elaborated by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. Between 1999 and 2010, Brazil was the country that lost the largest portion of green area, a total of 55.3 million hectares. This amount is nearly double of what was lumbered by the runner-up - Indonesia.

Regulating Bodies

The fiscalization of the logging activity in Brazil happens in three different levels.

At the federal level, there is the Ministry of the Environment, or Ministério do Meio Ambiente (MMA). There are different entities linked to MMA, each one covering a certain area or subject, such as:

  • The Brazilian Forest Service
  • IBAMA, which issues most permits and authorizations relating to the environment
  • ANA, the National Waters Agency
  • Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade

At the state level, there are the Secretariats of Environment and National Resources. Each state has one secretariat of its own. The names of this body differ slightly from state to state, but they are commonly known in Portuguese as Secretaria do Meio Ambiente.

Finally, Brazilian cities also have their own Secretariat of Environment. This entity is usually responsible for smaller and more specific cases, those that can be solved quicker than the ones presented at a federal level.

Types of Authorizations

Brazil has different types of environmental licenses, each of them required at certain points of the licensing or for specific activities such as mineral exploration or agriculture. The entity responsible for issuing each permit also varies, depending on the size of the lumbering.

The time conceded to an individual or a company to complete the logging service also varies. Ibama’s authorization, presented below, requires that the requesting company performs the service in the maximum period of three months. Authorizations for smaller demands, like the removal of a single tree, usually have tighter deadlines.

When the Authorization Is Not Necessary

In most cases, authorizations issued by Ibama or by Secretariats of Environment are only needed for native trees. This means that an individual or company can chop down exotic trees, which are not natural from Brazil, without a permit.

So basically if anyone has a license to plant eucalyptus, for example, these trees can be cut without a previous license by an environmental body.

There is an exception, though. If these exotic trees are located in environmentally protected areas, an authorization is needed.

Authorization to Cut Small Amounts of Trees

The most common procedure for individuals and companies that seek to chop a small amount of native trees that are inside their properties must contact the municipality administration or the local Secretariat of Environment.

The documents and steps, as well as the strictness of each municipality when conceding permits, vary from city to city. Basically, any interested party must present at least:

  • Personal documents of the individual, like CPF
  • Public deed or an equivalent document that confirms the possession of the property
  • Sketch indicating which tree will be removed, or pictures of the plant that will be cut

The recommended procedure is to check with the municipality administration, which documents and procedures are needed before performing any changes in the property’s vegetation.

In some cases the local Secretariat of Environment is not the main responsible body. An authorization by the State Secretariat of Environment might be needed if the types being removed are endangered or are located in protected areas.

Authorization to Deforest Large Green Areas

Companies intending to perform economic activities that might compromise or affect the environment need different licenses. During the licensing steps — previous license, installation license, and operation license — an Authorization for Removal of Vegetation might be needed.

This authorization, known as Autorização para Supressão de Vegetação (ASV) in Portuguese, is issued either by the State Secretariats of Environment, or by Ibama — Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis — when the project involves more than one state.

Again, the requirements to get an authorization varies according to the body issuing it. Ibama, for example, requests that the following documents are sent via Mail Service to their headquarters in Brasília:

  • Registration in Cadastro Técnico Federal (CTF), or Federal Technical Register
  • Active licensing process
  • Anotação de Responsabilidade Técnica (ART), or Technical Term of Responsibility
  • Approval of the work plan relating to the affected flora
  • Letter requesting the authorization

There are some variations depending which type of vegetation is being suppressed. The procedures needed to get an authorization from Ibama, in order to chop trees down from Mata Atlântica, might not be the same as the one relating to Amazônia, for example.