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Pacific Northwest Research Station
Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team


USDA Forest Service International Programs
U.S. Agency for International Development
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Brazil Report
International Forestry
USDA Forest Service
December 1998


The Brazil Program consists of several components that are independently managed but closely coordinated to provide the greatest possible payoff to Brazilian and United States forest managers and forest users. The Sustainable Forest Management Project provides baseline biological and socioecconomic information underlying the development of advanced forest management strategies, providing assistance with institution building and analysis for silviculture, environmental conservation, and ecotourism. Silvicultural development has concentrated on the multiple advantages of low-impact harvesting. The Forest Management Project has been focused on the Tapajós National Forest, but also includes development and training at Cauaxi in conjunction with the Tropical Forestry Foundation.

The Fire and Environmental Change Project is a coordinated series of research and development activities addressing questions of biomass burning, global change, and fire-danger rating in Brazilian ecosystems. The project contributes remote sensing for fire detection and mapping, and compiles inventories of fire activity and air pollution through cooperation by the Pacific Southwest Research Station and NASA with IBAMA and other Brazilian institutions. A fire-hazard rating system, used to anticipate flammability and fire effects in tropical ecosystems, is being developed by the Pacific Northwest Research Station in collaboration with the Brazilian Space Institute and others.

These projects contribute to forest management, fire management, and environmental management in both countries. The collaborative program integrates research and management in a rich experimental and social environment that adds rigor and breadth of experience to meet the shared challenges of ecosystem management.

This progress report, covering the six-month period of March through October 1998, is one in a series of outputs describing the mission, scope, activities, and accomplishments of the USDA Forest Service / USAID Program in Brazil. Additional information can be obtained from the National Coordinator or from our website at:

Fire and Environmental Change in Tropical Ecosystems


  • A complete set of weather and drying rates, primary-forest flammability trials, biomass consumption and transition-forest fire behavior measurements were completed in the Alta Floresta slash burn.

  • Laboratory work in smoldering combustion was completed at Cachioera Paulista. Resulted in successful Master's thesis for Brazilian graduate student.

  • The relation of flammability to fuel moisture conditions, fuelbed characteristics, canopy condition, meteorology, and precipitation history was monitored in the Tapajós National Forest and at Alta Floresta .

  • Logging and forest flammability is being investigated at the Floresta Nacional do Tapajós in collaboration with the Tropical Forest Foundation and INPA and in Alta Floresta, in cooperation with INPE.

  • The annual aircraft campaign for fire and deforestation monitoring was completed early this year (May/June) to support the monitoring and evaluation of the damage caused by the Roriama fires.

  • The AIRDIS scanner was prepared for shipping back to Brazil in late July for the remainder of the fire season to support IBAMA and the PROARCO fire campaign. However, due to lack of funds and lengthy negotiations with the proposed PROARCO World Bank project, the scanner was never sent and a second aircraft campaign never materialized.

  • Imagery from the 1997 aircraft campaign was analyzed.

  • Initiated comparison of remote sensing measures of disturbance between low-impact logging and standard-practice harvesting sites.

  • Worked with USAID to develop a $2 million dollar proposal of technical assistance in fire prevention, training and mobilization to support IBAMA/World Bank PROARCO project.

  • Two fire specialists assisted IBAMA/PREVFOGO in August/September in planning and organizing federal and state cooperation for the National PROARCO campaign.

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Sustainable Forest Management Technologies and Practices


  • Continued support to the evaluation of the effects of timber harvesting on the FLONA Tapajós including coordination with the Brazilian-led LBA and logistical support to investigators working in the Santarem area.

  • Linkages with LBA provide partnerships with some 52 scientists and a planned budget of $2.5 million over 3 years at the Tapajos site.

  • Initiated on-site demonstration and training to test the efficacy and costs of 4 post-harvest silvicultural treatments as well as training foresters and practitioners in their design and application in low-impact logging sites.

  • Provided training opportunities to qualified Brazilian candidates that will strengthen forest management especially in the FLONA System in recreation and protected areas, non-wood resources, and forest and natural resources administration and management.

  • Developed a case study with the Tropical Forest Foundation using low-impact logging (LIL) and conventional logging (CL) data collected at the Cauaxi site as the first case study for the economic evaluation. The draft report (The Costs and Benefits of Low-Impact Logging Relative to Conventional Logging Practices in the Brazilian Amazon) has been reviewed by about a dozen specialists in tropical forestry and is currently under revision.

  • Because IBAMA and the public forest sector may be important clients for LIL methods, a second case study was implemented on the Tapajós National Forest, and forest inventory and productivity data have been collected at this site.

  • Results of an ecotourism analysis and a copy of a report titled "Conjoint Analysis of Tourist Preferences for Ecotourism Characteristics on the Tapajós National Forest" ("Conjoint Analysis das Preferências por Touristas por Características de Ecotourismo na Floresta Nacional do Tapajós") were provided to the Tapajós National Forest.
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Fire and Environmental Change in Tropical Ecosystems

Activities and Progress

Activities and Progress

Combustion and Carbon Emissions from Tropical Biomass

The Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team (FERA) continued the cooperation of a multi-year project with INPE to study the biomass combustion in Amazon clearings. The project is studying the combustion of fine, medium, and large material during the flaming and smoldering phase. The objective is to understand the physical process of combustion in heterogeneous biomass components and to refine the estimates of carbon release into the atmosphere from slash burns in primary forest.

The project has conducted experimental burns in Manaus, Tome Acu (Para), and Alta Floresta. Three slash burns in Alta Floresta were conducted in 1997 and 1998. The combustion completeness for Alta Floresta has varied between 22.7 and 26.1% for the 1997 burns and 44% for the 1998 experimental burn. These results will allow more accurate estimates of carbon emissions which have, in the past, assumed a combustion completeness of greater than 75%.

In addition to refining smoke emission estimates, the results of this project will provide guidelines to reduce smoke emissions through land use practices and manipulation of those factors within a fire management program.

Photo Series to Assess Flammability in the Cerrado

Development of biomes estimation photo series for the cerrado continued in collaboration with the University of Brasilia. A trip to Chapada da Diamantina National Park was conducted this year. We are complementing data already collected from the cerrado during previous years with leaf area index (LAI) measurements to correlate ecological processes with the biomass estimates. We plan one more year to complete the cerrado assessment. We also are negotiating with Heloisa Miranda to extend the series of experimental burns to assess flammability limits in the cerrado.

Development of a Fire Hazard Rating for the Amazon Forest

The Fire and Environmental Research Applications (FERA) team of the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station continued to assess a fire hazard rating for the tropical ecosystems of Brazil (see page 7 for a concept paper on this research).

The experiment at the FLONA Tapajós is designed to compare the change in fire hazard between the low-impact logging treatments, no logged forests, and pastures. A set of flammability plots was established on the permanent plots of the logging treatments conducted by the Tropical Forest Foundation at the FLONA. For the 1998 field season, the field experiment is running from June to December. Preliminary data analyses for the first two months show no significant difference in microclimate and fuel moisture between the low-impact logging and the no-logged forest. The preliminary analysis supports the hypothesis that the low-impact logging causes minimal damage to the forest. However, the comparison cannot be conclusive until we include a traditional logging unit on the study.

A complete experiment should include a treatment on traditional logging and ignition of small experimental burns throughout the entire dry season. A traditional logging unit within a convenient distance from the FLONA was not located this year on time. Next year's experiment should include this forest condition. As a result of the uncertainty on the IBAMA's approval to conduct the experiment at the FLONA, the implementation of the experimental burns on the flammability plots was put on hold.

The increase in flammability of the fragmented no-logged forest adjacent to new deforested areas and old pastures is being studied in Alta Floresta, Mato Grosso. Conducting this experiment in this region is important because the area is experiencing a high rate of deforestation in Amazonia according to the latest data released by INPE earlier in the year. The remaining forest is highly fragmented and it becomes more vulnerable to understory wildfires escaped from pasture and agricultural burns. The flammability experiment in Alta Floresta was run in the field from May to September of 1998. The experiments were established on the forest around an experimental clearcut conducted by INPE in early May with the purpose of studying efficiency of biomass combustion.

On the edges of the deforested experimental unit, fire from the slash burn was allowed to escape into the adjacent forest. Fire behavior was monitored on the slash unit and documented the advance of the fire into the adjacent forest. Data is being analyzed to correlate the depth of the understory fire with the microclimate and fuel moisture conditions from the edge and several stations inside the forest along a transect. A number of trees located in the affected forest were tagged to monitor the mortality caused by the understory fire. Landsat TM images are being used by INPE to correlate changes in the canopy of the edge forest before the fire with Forest Service ground measurements. This will allow assessment of the extent of forest around deforestation that becomes vulnerable to fire. Another TM image from next year will be used to correlate on-the ground mortality with canopy changes detected from satellite imagery.

Two more experimental burns are schedule for next year. One of the units has been logged and is "curing"; microclimate sensors are in place to monitor the depth of increased flammability of the surrounding forest. A second experimental unit is scheduled to be logged next April or May. Both units will be burned in August 1999 and will be monitored for changes in flammability of the surrounding forest.

Briefing paper on Fire Danger Rating in Tropical Ecosystems

1998 Remote Sensing Campaign

The working group is providing technical assistance to the government of Brazil through a multi-year effort to assess the extent of agricultural and wildland burning in tropical forest and savanna of central Brazil, quantify the magnitude of fire emissions to the atmosphere, and evaluate the impacts of these emissions as a source of regional air pollution. The working group is also supporting activities to improve IBAMA's ability to monitor and regulate harvesting and clearing in the tropical moist forest and to examine the productivity of the cerrado and its response to fire. Activities during 1998 involved continuing data analysis for the fire assessment, an aircraft campaign to map selective harvesting and recent deforestation in the Amazon, and development of remote sensing capability for IBAMA .

At the request of IBAMA, the working group implemented an aircraft campaign in May and June of 1998 to map recent fire activity in the State of Roraima, to monitor rates of selective harvesting and deforestation over large regions of Mato Grosso and Pará, and to map the Floresta Nacional de Tapajós including recent demonstrations of low-impact timber harvesting. The NASA/Forest Service Extended Dynamic Range Imaging Spectrometer, which has been designed specifically for fire measurement, was integrated with a high-resolution digital color camera aboard a Lear 35 aircraft of the Força Aérea Brasileira. The FAB Lear was modified in the United States to accommodate this equipment by both private contractors and NASA Ames Research Center. IBAMA managed the deployment this year with early assistance from NASA and the Forest Service. Selective harvesting targets were successfully mapped as was the entire Floresta Nacional de Tapajós. Data analysis during the latter half of 1998 is being conducted by IBAMA. Recent fire activity in Roraima could not be mapped, despite a three-week deployment there, because of persistent low-level clouds and rain throughout the period of the campaign. This year's remote sensing campaign provided training for IBAMA personnel in management of the program and successfully integrated our technology with the FAB group tasked with environmental monitoring under SIVAM.

NASA and the Forest Service also provided assistance to IBAMA during late 1998 in the planning of a possible fire remote sensing mission in August, as part of a World Bank supported program, and in the design and procurement of remote sensing systems for fire and forest measurement. The August campaign was not initiated due to protracted discussions between IBAMA and the World Bank. Assistance with remote sensing system development included advice and consultation on the technical specifications of a multispectral imager to be acquired by SIVAM and the development of a low-cost thermal infrared imager suitable for use in light aircraft.

Rates of Land Burning

During this reporting period, we have continued analysis of fire occurrence across central Brazil by a change detection of ash-covered ground from successive scenes of Landsat Multi-Spectral Scanner (MSS) data. Analysis is nearing completion on our measurements of over 180,000 fires recorded during 1986. A more rapid technique of image classification was developed and fire occurrence was classified in a geographic information system according to regional land use and vegetation type. These data are being analyzed to provide a basis for estimating the sub-continental scale emissions of greenhouse gases and to determine the potential errors and utility for fire monitoring by future satellite remote sensing. Analysis is continuing of potential errors in the regional fire occurrence estimates.

Analysis of Carbon and Energy Flux from Fires

The rates of carbon and energy flux from fires are key to our understanding of the potential role of tropical fires as an agent of global change. During 1998 we have completed an analysis of the spread and energetics of experimental fires at the IBGE Reserva Ecolôgica at Brasilia and a large freely burning Cerrado fire in the Serra do Maranhao. We are nearing completion of the analysis of a fire in selectively harvested primary forest near Marabá. We have integrated remote sensing-based measurements of radiant energy flux and fire temperature with the plume measurements to provide a complete picture of energy and carbon flux from Cerrado fires. Results have demonstrated a linear relation between sensible heat and carbon flux across the range of extant fire conditions we have encountered in Brazil. Furthermore, we have shown that characterization of fire temperatures and fire line structure by remote sensing provides an accurate predictor of whole-fire carbon flux, sensible heat flux, and with estimates of areal rate of spread, the rate of fuel consumption in the cerrado.

Web Site Development

During the latter half of 1998 we have continued development of a web site to facilitate outreach for the project and provide access to important data sets. Among the first products to be available will be selected images of fire in the Cerrado, examples of patterns of selective harvesting, and products from the Reserva Ecológica do IBGE at Brasília including a high-resolution terrain map and registered imagery of vegetation at the Reserva collected by the EDRIS spectrometer.

Remote Sensing Technology Transfer

Further progress has been made toward development of a low-cost, imaging thermal-infrared spectrometer for use primarily in fire, ecosystem, and deforestation monitoring. We tested a prototype imaging system in the field in California, developed software analysis tools, and analyzed these data under the auspices of a research joint venture involving the PSW Station and Space Instruments, Inc., of Encinitas, California. A second field trial has been conducted in preparation for use of the instrument to monitor vegetation temperatures and potentially water use in conjunction with experiments with the Universidade de Brasília. Development was begun of improved software tools for the quick analysis of large image data sets. This software will be transferred to IBAMA for use in future airborne campaigns.

Fire Management

In response to the extreme fire danger in the Brazilian Amazon during the 1998 dry season, and the Brazilian government's newly launched program for fire prevention and control – PROARCO -- the Forest Service (representing the United States firefighting community) along with USAID developed and negotiated a list of concrete actions to help support the Brazilian prevention efforts. This included funds to support a local workers association for conducting fire prevention training in the rural Amazon, support to a remote sensing campaign and technology for mapping and detection of fires, technical assistance to IBAMA/PREVFOGO and INPE, and follow-on training identified through a study tour in the U.S. Funds to support the proposed activities were to be reprogrammed from the U.S. government's contribution to the World Bank Pilot Program.

The program was never fully realized due to protracted negotiations between the World Bank and IBAMA on the PROARCO emergency fire project. To date, only local level training has been accomplished and short-term technical assistance to INPE and IBAMA/PREVFOGO by NASA and the Forest Service respectively.

Two Forest Service fire experts spend 3 weeks working with IBAMA/PREVFOGO in late August and early September to provide support in carrying out aspects of the PROARCO project. There appeared to be a lack of endorsement of the observations and recommendations of the team which stemmed from ongoing and often conflictive negotiations with the World Bank on the broader emergency assistance package. Regardless, the team offered observations including : strengthening national fire prevention and media campaign; improving training and organizing of suppression resources at all levels – people, equipment, communication; need for improved fire weather information system; targeting a variety of aircraft support options for suppression efforts; and increased education and training with local farmers and ranchers on controlled burning.


During 1998 presentations were made on the fire and global change assessment at a workshop on remote sensing hosted by the Forest Service, International Programs, in Ft. Collins, Colorado, at a seminar sponsored by International Programs in Washington, DC.; and at a Forest Service-sponsored conference on the Role of Information Technology in Fire Management. A manuscript describing use of fire remote sensing data and a coupled atmosphere-fire model was submitted for publication. A draft manuscript, Remote Measurement of Wildfire Energy and Carbon Flux, was begun and is nearing completion. Other recent theses and publications, previously unreported, are as follows:

Andrade, S. M. A (1998) Dinamica de combustivel e producao primaria em areas de campo sujo submetidas a diferentes regiems de queima. MSc. Thesis. UnB Brasília. Miranda, A. C. & Santos, A. A. (1997) Caracteristicas aerodinamicas de um cerrado sensu stricto. In: Contribuicao ao conhecimento ecologico do cerrado. L.L.Leite & C.H. Saito (eds.). ECL/UnB, Brasilia. p.3-6.

Andrade, S.M.A. & Miranda, H. S. (1997). Dinamica de combustivel em uma área de campo sujo de cerrado submetida a queimada prescrita no final da estacao seca. In: contribuicao ao conhecimento ecologico do cerrado. L.L.Leite & C. H. Saito (eds.). ECL/UnB, Brasilia. p. 262-267.

Neto, W. N.; Andrade, S. M. A. & Miranda, H. S. (1998) The dynamics of the herbaceous layer following prescribed burning: a four year study in the Brazilian savannas. In: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Forest Fire Research. Coimbra, Portugal. In press.

Sato, M. N.; Garda, A. A. & Miranda, H. S. (1998). Effects of fire on the mortality of woody vegetation in Central Brazil. In: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Forest Fire Research. Coimbra, Portugal. In Press. Proceedings (Abstracts)

Neto, W. N. & Miranda, H. S (1998). Producao primaria da vegetacao do estrato herbaceo de areas de campo sujo submetidas a diferentes regimes de queima. IV Congresso de Ecologia do Brasil. Belem, PA. Sato, M. N.; Garda, A. A. & Miranda, H. S. (1998). Mortalidade da vegetacao lenhosa de cerrado submetida a queima controlada. IV Congresso de Ecologia do Brasil. Belem, PA.

Negrao, M. N.; Silva, L.B.P.; Andrade, L. A. Z. & Miranda, H. S. (1998) variacao diaria e sazonal do teor de umidade do combustivel fino em campo sujo de cerrado. IV Congresso de Ecologia do Brasil. Belem, PA.

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Success Stories

FERA continued a successful cooperation with the Combustion and Propulsion Laboratory at INPE (National Institute of Space Research). The 1998 experimental burns in INPE's laboratory facilities at Cachoeira Paulista, Sao Paulo, and in the field in Alta Floresta, Mato Grosso, provide initial data sets for a comprehensive modeling of smoldering combustion of large forest fuels. These results will have a direct impact on FERA's domestic research agenda. It will allow FERA and the international fire research community to have a better understanding of the smoldering combustion of biomass fuels in wildfires and prescribed fires. The results of this collaborative research will provide science and models that will be incorporated into smoke emissions and air quality research currently being conducted by FERA in the United States.

The experimental burn in Alta Floresta in 1998 allowed us for the first time to document the weather, canopy condition, biomass fuels, fuel moisture, and fire conditions that allow primary forest on the edges of clearcuts to become flammable and ignite from escaped fires. Flammability of forest edges is of great interest for Brazil because of the increasing landscape fragmentation throughout the Amazonian forest.

FERA consolidated a cooperative work with the National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA) to work in flammability of traditional and low-impact logging of primary forest at the Tapajós National Forest in the state of Para. Dr. Niro Higuchi (INPA) and one of his students participated in all the research stages from the planning process to the field implementation from June until December of 1998.
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USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW)

  • David V. Sandberg, Research Forester/Project Leader
  • Roger D. Ottmar, Research Forester
  • Robert E. Vihnanek, Forester

USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW)

  • Dr. Philip J. Riggan, Ecologist/Project Leader
  • Robert N. Lockwood, Ecologist
  • Robert Tissell, Computer Analyst
  • Jennifer Rechel, Geographer
  • James A. Brass, Ecosystem Scientist
  • Bob Higgins, Electronics Engineer
  • Dr. Edward Hildum, Electronics Engineer
  • Dra. Heloisa Miranda, Chair -- Department of Ecology
  • Dr. Antonio Miranda, Micrometerologist
  • Ernesto Alvarado

University of Sao Paulo

  • Joao A. de Carvalho


  • João Antonio Raposo Pereira, Program Coordinator
  • Helvecio Mafra Filho, Computer Analyst
  • Dr. Teresa Campos, Atmospheric Chemist
  • Joao Antonio Raposo Pereira, Progam Coordinator
  • Helvecio Mafra Filho, Computer Analyst

Tropical Forestry Foundation

  • Johan Zweede

Sustainable Forest Management

Activities and Progress

Activities and Progress

Field Research and Demonstration

Activities in the evaluation of the effects of harvesting on the FLONA Tapajós continued at a reduced level awaiting the completion of the edital and contract by IBAMA for harvesting of the ITTO blocks. IBAMA re-advertised the edital and at the end of the reporting period was awaiting bids. Completion of the contract is anticipated by December 31. Once the contract is in place, the harvesting will be conducted during the next dry season. Dr. Michael Keller is monitoring this process to assure the contract reflects the needs of the harvest evaluation in terms of scheduling the harvest. Meanwhile pre-treatment measurements continue. Logistical support was provided to investigators working in the Santarem area, and training and user manuals in both Portuguese and English for field application were developed. The work was accomplished with various partners including FFT and the University of New Hampshire.

The agreement between Brazil and NASA for the Large-scale Atmosphere Biosphere Experiment in the Amazon proceeds toward execution. The previously reported leverage in the number of projects and investments of collaborators in the evaluation of harvesting effects on the FLONA Tapajós continues.

The field surveys of avifauna on the FLONA in collaboration with the Museo Goeldi progressed satisfactorily. These include baseline surveys as well as surveys on the low-impact logging sites. Dr. Joseph Wunderle directs this work.

Dr. Frank Wadsworth visited the FFT low-impact logging sites near Belem. One concern with these treatments relates to incorporation of silvicultural concerns in training and demonstration. Based on this field visit, a new activity was initiated in cooperation with FFT to explore post-harvest silvicultural treatments. This activity integrates on-site demonstration and training to test the efficacy and costs of 4 post-harvest silvicultural treatments as well as training foresters and practitioners in their design and application. The 4 methods include treatments to favor the next harvest trees, thinning to favor the 3rd harvest trees, vine cutting to favor 2nd and 3rd harvest trees and cleaning and planting of high value species. Initial results are encouraging. Evaluation will continue for three years.

Capacity Building

A key component of sustainable forest management is to build capacity in Brazilian institutions to strengthen forest management, especially in the FLONA System. Based on previous interchanges and site visits, three areas were identified for capacity building. These include development and management of recreation resources, opportunities to reduce impacts on tropical forests through development and marketing of non-wood forest products, as well as broaden the managerial perspectives of key leaders to develop strategies and methods to manage and conserve natural resources for the sustained delivery of goods and services to meet the full range of human needs. Training opportunities were provided to qualified candidates to meet these needs. Trainees are expected to pass on the results of the training to their peers.

An important issue on the FLONAS is how to effectively diversify the multiple use mission of the units. This includes development of strategies and plans for use of recreational resources. To accomplish this objective, Gabriel El Kouba, Superintendent of FLONA Tres Barras, was selected to participate in the Colorado State University Management of Wild and Protected Areas course. This training provides students with the opportunity to see, understand and participate in recreational uses in a variety of settings and learn how to plan for, develop and coordinate recreation resources with other uses of protected areas. The trainee is expected to pass on the lessons learned at this course with other FLONA superintendents in Brazil.

Another issue is diversification of the values available from tropical forests, particularly through non-wood forest products thus contributing to their protection and sustainable use. This capacity is particularly useful for the FLONA Tapajos in light of the riverine communities dependent on the FLONA. Superintendent of FLONA Tapajós, Selma Malgaco, was selected to participate in Value of Tropical Forests for Non-wood Resources that explores a wide variety of options to increase the value of tropical forests through case studies and visits to innovative projects based on non-wood products that promote economic diversity for communities dependent on forest resources.

Lastly there is a need to provide the skills and insights for senior level people to more effectively participate in the ongoing policy dialogue in Brazil related to natural resources, particularly the forestry sector. To accomplish this objective, Angela Tresinari TNC - Brazil was selected to participate in the International Seminar on Forest and Natural Resources Administration and Management (ISFAM). This study tour presents a broad spectrum of natural resource management techniques and institutional arrangements so participants may selectively gather ideas that can assist in the management of their lands. The seminar focuses on strategies and methods to develop, manage, and conserve natural resources for the sustained delivery of goods and services to meet the full range of human needs.

Coordination of activities with IBAMA and CNPq continues to be a concern. In late March of 1998, a "Supplementary Agreement related to cooperation in Science and Technology involving IBAMA and the USDA Forest Service was formally extended. Ms. Jan Engert visited Brazil in July and developed a draft implementation arrangement with IBAMA. This arrangement will facilitate program development and execution with IBAMA. It will also assist in the process of compliance with the Brazilian Law of Scientific Expeditions through CNPq. We anticipate this arrangement will be finalized in early 1999.

Progress was slower than planned on the evaluation of harvesting effects on the FLONA Tapajos. The delays were caused by challenges to the edital issued by IBAMA to secure bids for a contract to harvest the ITTO blocks on the FLONA Tapajós. The edital process was monitored closely and alternative sites for the work in the vicinity of Santarem were explored, should an alternative site be necessary.

Multiple language proficiency in Portuguese, English, Spanish can be a deterrent in capacity building. At times a common language capability may not exist with prospective candidates and trainers. We have overcome this difficulty by expanding the target institutions as sources of candidates and we have sought out training opportunities in closely allied languages such as Spanish that will meet the identified needs.

Economics of Low-Impact Logging in Latin America

The overall goal of this research is to evaluate the economic competitiveness of Low-Impact Logging (LIL) methods relative to Conventional Logging (CL) methods in Latin America. A critical component of this project is to conduct a comprehensive review of the literature. This phase of the project is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Doug Carter and Fred Boltz at the University of Florida. Preliminary findings were presented at the Southern Forest Economics Workshop in Williamsburg, Virginia and will appear in the published proceedings. The literature review is currently being prepared for submission to a refereed journal.

The literature review revealed that very few comparative economic analyses of logging methods have been conducted in Latin America, and in November of 1997, a trip was made to Brazil to initiate collaborative research with the Tropical Forest Foundation. During the November trip, it was decided to use LIL and CL data collected at the Cauaxi site as the first case study for the economic evaluation. Collaboration with the non-governmental organization IMAZON was also established.

A second trip was made to Brazil in May 1998. During this trip, protocols for analyzing data from the Cauaxi sites were decided upon. Since that time, data from Cauaxi has been assembled and analyzed and a preliminary report has been drafted. The draft report (The Costs and Benefits of Low-Impact Logging Relative to Conventional Logging Practices in the Brazilian Amazon) has been reviewed by about a dozen specialists in tropical forestry and is currently under revision. Results of the analysis were presented at an International Programs Seminar in Washington D.C. in August, 1998. Currently, a manuscript for a refereed journal is under preparation.

After the May meeting it was decided to include a second case study. Because IBAMA and the public forest sector may be important clients for LIL methods, it was decided to implement a second case study on the Tapajós National Forest. To date, forest inventory and productivity data have been collected at this site. It was recently decided to use the conventional harvest planned for the FLONA as the CL comparison. This harvest may occur during the current harvest season.

A meeting is planned for January 1999 in Belém to finalize the preliminary report and discuss protocols for assembling the final report which will include information from all of the case studies.

While providing useful information, the case study approach is limited because of the lack of control over a variety of factors that may influence outcomes. It would be very useful to conduct experimentally-designed replicate studies so that potentially confounding factors (e.g, species marketed, initial forest inventory, prices, labor costs, machinery costs) can be experimentally controlled.

It would be extremely useful to incorporate information regarding the flammability of forests into the economic analysis of LIL versus CL methods. This could perhaps be accomplished for moderate cost as flammability information is currently being collected by other researchers.

Logging is the first step in the process of land use/ecological change occurring in the Amazon basin. It would be extremely useful to develop a better understanding of the factors that influence forest conversion at large spatial scales and investigate how existing and potential policies and regulations can be most effectively developed and implemented for influencing forest management decisions.

Alternative Economic Opportunities for the Tapajos National Forest

In November, 1997 a trip was made to Santarém to meet with Selma Barra Melgaço, Forest Supervisor of the FLONA Tapajós. At that meeting, results of an ecotourism analysis were discussed and a copy of a report titled Conjoint Analysis of Tourist Preferences for Ecotourism Characteristics on the Tapajós National Forest (Conjoint Analysis das Preferências por Touristas por Características de Ecotourismo na Floresta Nacional do Tapajós) was delivered. This paper is currently being revised for submission to a refereed journal. Discussions were also held regarding preliminary analysis of community surveys conducted by Erin Sills (Duke University). Results of the community surveys were presented at the 1998 American Association of Agricultural Economics annual meeting (Household Responses to New Opportunities in Non-Timber Forest Product Markets). This paper is currently being revised for submission to a refereed journal.


International Institute of Tropical Forestry

  • William G. Edwards - Assistant Director provides overall leadership in the forest management component particularly capacity building.
  • Dr. Michael Keller - Research Scientist, provides leadership and coordination for the involvement of numerous scientific institutions working on the FLONA Tapajos and the LBA Ecology Module.
  • Dr. Joseph Wunderle - Research Scientist, provides expertise and leadership in the avifauna component of the Tapajos Project.
  • Dr. Frank Wadsworth - Research Silviculturalist, provides silvicultural leadership and expertise in low impact logging.
  • Dr. Whendee Silver - also of the University of California Berkeley, provides expertise and leadership related to soil nutrients and below ground processes.

USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station

  • Dr. Thomas P. Holmes, Research Forester. Dr. Holmes is the leader of the economic assessment of the costs and benefits of Low-Impact Logging versus Conventional Logging in the Brazilian Amazon.


  • Johan Zweede - Forester, provides leadership and expertise in low-impact logging demonstration and training elements of the component.


  • Jason Neff - provides expertise to describe behavior of organic matter at the FLONA Tapajos.
  • Alan Townsend and Greg Asner (University of Colorado) and Mercedes Bustamente (University of Brasilia) provide expertise in the analysis of satellite imagery and soil and vegetation samples from the vicinity of the FLONA Tapajos.
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For more information on these projects, please contact Jan Engert, International Programs/Brazil Coordinator USDA Forest Service 1099 14th Street NW, Suite 5500W Washington, D.C. 20005 Phone: (202)273-4752 Fax: (202)273-4748 email: jengert/




For further information, contact:
Dr. David Sandberg, Team Leader
3200 SW Jefferson Way, Corvallis, Oregon 97331 USA
(541)750-7265; (541)758-7760 fax
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