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Brazil tightens inspections to fight illegal timber trade

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Through Friday, representatives from Colombia, Spain, the United States, France, the Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Russia and Venezuela will learn about document and species identification techniques and conduct inspection practices in the Brazilian jungle.

The aim of the course, led by the Brazilian Federal Police, is to strengthen inspections at Brazilian and foreign ports of timber coming from the South American giant.

Representatives of some 10 countries began training in Manaus to curb illegal timber trade from Brazil. (photo internet reproduction)

The goal is for authorities in these countries to understand the specifics of timber that is legally exported from Brazil to these and other countries, in order to prevent its illegal commercialization and help curb deforestation of the rainforest.

Illegal logging in the Brazilian Amazon is among the main causes of the growing deforestation of the rainforest, also devastated by illegal mining and fires.

According to official sources, 99% of the timber traded in Brazil is illegally extracted from the Amazon, an issue caused by corruption among public bodies and the lack of controls by the responsible authorities.

With over 13,000 km2 of native vegetation devastated, deforestation in the planet’s largest rainforest in 2021 was the highest in the past 15 years.

Environmental associations blame the devastation of the rainforest on the Jair Bolsonaro government’s unwillingness to fight this crime.

According to a recent report by the Climate Observatory, a network comprising over 70 organizations including Greenpeace and World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), despite allocating more than R$219 (US$41) million to fight environmental crimes last year, the Bolsonaro administration only used 41% of these resources, while previous governments typically used between 86% and 92% of the money earmarked for environmental controls.

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