USDA Forest Service
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
This progress report,
covering the six-month period of October 1998 through March 1999, 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 the Forest Service's International Programs web site at:
and Environmental Change
- Support planning for the
1999 and 2000 field seasons for the Fire Assessment Program continued.
- Established a cooperative
agreement with the University of Brasilia to fund a graduate student
as a program assistant in 1999.
- Completed reconnaissance
of field photo series sites for data collection scheduled in August
1999 in the savanna ecosystem.
- Completed Leaf Area
Index (LAI) measurements for the Emas National Park photo series
- Continued searching
for a traditional selective logging site to compare flammability
with low impact logging and non-disturbed forest on the Tapajos
National Forest. Potential communities adjacent to the Floresta
Nacional do Tapajos have been identified.
- Conducted planning
and analysis on the flaming and smoldering combustion of tropical
forest biomass, and primary forest flammability in Alta Floresta,
Mato Grosso, and the Floresta Nacional do Tapajos, in preparation
for experimental burns in August and September 1999.
- Successfully negotiated
a $600,000+ program of work with Brazilian and other USG partners
to provide fire monitoring and management support to IBAMA "PROARCO"
project for the 1999 field season.
assessment for the first drought season after the low-impact logging
at the Floresta Nacional do Tapajos. A one-season evaluation of
canopy disturbance, fuel biomass, and microweather changes between
undisturbed stands and forest subjected to a Low Impact Harvesting
regime in primary forests for the entire dry season was also completed.
The experiment was run in cooperation with INPA from June to December
- Cost-Benefit Analysis
of Reduced-Impact Logging versus Conventional Logging in the Brazilian
- Prepared a final report
comparing the costs and benefits of Reduced Impact Logging versus
Conventional Logging in the Paragominas timbershed, titled "Financial
Costs and Benefits of Reduced-Impact Logging Relative to Conventional
Logging Practices in the Brazilian Amazon." A copy of the report can
be obtained by submitting a written request to Tom Holmes at the Southern
Research Station, P.O. Box 12254, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2254.
Translation into Portuguese is being completed in cooperation with
- Conducted an economic
analysis of the net present value of current and future harvests using
RIL and CL practices under conditions of uncertain price and growth
parameters. The analysis was reported in a Master of Science Thesis
at the University of Florida titled "Bioeconomic Returns Under Uncertainty
for Reduced-Impact and Conventional Logging Systems in the Brazilian
- Completed first post
treatment measurements to test the efficacy and costs of 4 post-harvest
silvicultural treatments on low impact logging sites.
- Linkages with the evaluation
of the effects of timber harvesting on the FLONA Tapajos and the Large
Scale Atmospheric/Biosphere Project (LBA) continue. LBA currently
provides partnerships with 171 researchers working in the area of
the FLONA Tapajos. LBA is improving infrastructure for investigation
in the area with a direct investment of over $1 million. Educational
and training activities linked to LBA and to ecosystem management
issues have begun in the Santarem area.
- IBAMA completed the "edital"
for the ITTO harvest areas and the final harvest plan is being developed
with the participation of all the key parties.
and Environmental Change
Activities during the first
half of 1999 involved continuing data analysis for the fire assessment,
technical discussions in Washington D.C. and Brasília, and planning
for an interagency, supplemental program of assistance to IBAMA through
the Programa de Prevenção e Controle às Queimadas
e aos Incêndios Florestais no Arco do Desflorestamento (PROARCO).
Rates of Land Burning
this reporting period, our analysis of fire occurrence rates in the
Cerrado region for 1996, the most recent year for which sufficient Landsat
Multi-spectral Scanner data is readily available, has been completed.
Based on a change detection of ash-covered ground from 120 pairs of
successive scenes, we estimated that a fraction of 0.14 of the land
surface was burned during July, August, and September of that year within
approximately 1.3x106 km2 in central Brazil. This
corresponds with an average recurrence rate of approximately once in
10 years, considerably longer than the once in 2 to 4 years commonly
assumed. These data are being provided to the Brazilian Ministry of
the Environment as a partial basis for their official estimates of greenhouse
gas emissions from Cerrado burning.
Analysis of Carbon and
Energy Flux from Fires
Analysis has been completed
on the spread, energy flux, and carbon flux of experimental fires at
the IBGE Reserva Ecolôgica at Brasília, a large freely
burning Cerrado fire in the Serra do Maranhão, and a slash fire
in selectively harvested primary forest near Marabá. From these
three fires we have developed a consistent method to predict the whole-fire
sensible heat and carbon emissions, and the rate of fuel consumption.
The method is based on remote sensing measurements of fire temperature,
spread, and fire-line structure. This provides a method for characterizing
fuel consumption per unit area burned for active fires as required for
regional estimates of greenhouse gas emissions. This research resulted
in co-authoring a manuscript describing use of fire remote sensing data
and a coupled atmosphere-fire mode(1).
Work continues on a draft manuscript entitled Remote Measurement
of Wildfire Energy and Carbon Flux.
Remote Sensing Technology
The working group has progressed
in a project to develop and apply a low-cost, thermal-infrared imaging
spectrometer for use primarily in fire and ecosystem monitoring. Construction
of an airborne thermal-infrared imager, the FireMapper, was begun with
grant money from the USDA Small Business Innovative Research Program
and a research joint venture involving the PSW Station and Space Instruments,
Inc., of Encinitas, California. The FireMapper is expected to be used
for deforestation and fire applications in Brazil and is intended for
demonstrations there in the year 2000. A paper related to this effort,
Field Applications of a Multi-spectral, Thermal Imaging Radiometer(2)
was published in March 1999. Integration of visible-light and near-infrared
Megaplus cameras within the FireMapper software framework was also begun
under sponsorship of the supplemental program of support to PROARCO.
this reporting period, invited presentations on the use of remote sensing
in fire measurement based on data from the Brazil program were made
to a workshop on Natural Disaster Mitigation sponsored by the White
House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and to a national conference
on fire science and technology sponsored by the Joint Fire Science Committee
of the USDA Forest Service and Department of the Interior.
Fire Risk Assessment
The development of combustion
algorithms of tropical biomass in cooperation with the Combustion and
Propulsion Laboratory of Brazil's Space Agency (INPE) continues. Plans
were initiated to implement a complete experiment in 1999 and 2000 to
study flaming and smoldering combustion of slash in two experimental
plots at an INPE experimental farm outside of Alta Floresta, Mato Grosso.
Assistance was also provided on the methods and analysis of a flaming
and smoldering experiment under controlled conditions at the combustion
laboratory at INPE's facilities in Cachoeira Paulista. Technical support
continues for INPE graduate students. A Brazilian doctoral student's
dissertation research at the University of Washington on the development
of a fire risk model for Amazon forest landscapes considering forest
physiology, fire meteorology, land use, and climate change will continue.
Development of a Fire
The research partnership
with the National Research Institute for the Amazon (INPA) located in
the Tropical Forest Foundation in Belem, Para will continue. A fire
risk assessment on low impact and traditional harvesting at the Floresta
Nacional do Tapajos in the state of Para on comparing fire risk between
low-impact, traditional harvesting, and undisturbed primary forest is
progressing. The assessment is being conducted on the Tapajos National
Forest. A search was initiated to locate a traditional logging unit
near the Floresta Nacional do Tapajos as there are not appropriate sites
within the Forest. Several adjacent communities have been identified
as potential sites.
USDA Forest Service, Pacific
Northwest Research Station (PNW)
Dr. David V. Sandberg,
Supervisory Research Biologist
Roger D. Ottmar, Research Forester
Robert E. Vihnanek, Research Forester
USDA Forest Service, Pacific
Southwest Research Station (PSW)
Dr. Philip J. Riggan, Ecologist/Project
Robert N. Lockwood, Ecologist
Jennifer Rechel, Geographer
University of Washington
University of Brasilia
Dra. Heloisa Miranda,
Chair - Department of Ecology
Dr. Antonio Miranda,
University of Sao Paulo
Joao A. De Carvalho
INPE (Instituto Nacional
De Pesquisas Espaciais)
INPA (Instituto Nacional De
Pesquisas Da Amazonia)
Dr. Fernando de Souza
Dr. Niro Higuchi
Joao Antonio Raposo Pereira,
Helvecio Mafra Filho,
National Center For Atmospheric
Dr. Teresa Campos, Atmospheric
James A. Brass
Scripps Institution of Oceanography,
Experimental Climate Prediction Center
Dr. John Roads
Tropical Forestry Foundation
of Reduced-Impact Logging Versus Conventional Logging in the Brazilian
The case study presented in
the report entitled "Financial Costs and Benefits of Reduced-Impact Logging
Relative to Conventional Logging Practices in the Brazilian Amazon" provides
a comparison of the costs and revenues of a typical Reduced Impact Logging
(RIL) system relative to a typical Conventional Logging (CL) system in
the eastern Amazon. The study focuses on financial, operational, and technical
aspects of CL vs. RIL systems. Although the study does not address biological
or ecological questions directly, measurements were made of two key parameters
affecting future forest productivity: damage to trees in the residual
stand and the proportion of ground area disturbed.
An economic engineering approach was used to estimate productivity and
cost parameters for typical RIL and CL operations. The standard for comparison
were two harvest blocks at Fazenda Cauaxi in the Paragominas, Para timbershed.
Standardized production and cost parameters were estimated by computing
mean values using data collected at Fazenda Cauaxi and other comparable
data sources. The volume of merchantable timber wasted in RIL and CL operations
was computed using a census of RIL and CL harvesting blocks. Wasted timber
was accounted for by adjusting variable costs to reflect true felling,
bucking, skidding and log deck costs as well as adjusting stumpage costs
to reflect differences in timber volumes recovered. Planning costs in
advance of the harvest were compounded to reflect the opportunity cost
of capital and training costs for instructing loggers in RIL methods were
accounted for. Revenues were computed using a weighted average price based
on species recovered.
RIL planning costs nearly doubled CL "up-front" costs. However, efficiency
gains due to planning RIL operations were large. Skidding and log deck
productivity increased dramatically on the typical RIL operation and led
to a 39% reduction in these costs relative to CL. Better recovery of potential
merchantable volume on the typical RIL site reduced average variable cost
associated with wasted wood by 78% and reduced stumpage cost by 16%.
Overall, average total cost of a typical RIL system was 13% less than
average total cost of a typical CL system. Net revenue for a typical RIL
operation was 21% greater than net revenue for a typical CL system. The
typical RIL system in the eastern Amazon is financially competitive with
the typical CL system primarily due to enhancement of skidding productivity
and reduction of wood waste.
The amount of ground area disturbed, per tree harvested, by the operation
of heavy machinery on the RIL block was 37% less than on the CL block.
On the RIL block, less than 10% of skid trails had mineral soil exposed
whereas 100% of CL skid trails were cleared to mineral soil. These results
suggested that regeneration will be delayed on the typical CL operation.
In addition, the RIL system reduced the number of fatally damaged commercially
valuable trees in the residual stand by more than 50 percent. The results
suggest that future economic and ecological benefits provided by residual
forest stands will be greater where RIL techniques are used.
Adoption of RIL methods are likely hindered by a number of factors, including:
(1) the mistaken perception that RIL systems are more expensive than CL
systems, (2) failure of CL cost accounting systems to recognize direct
and stumpage costs associated with wasted wood, (3) the necessity of training
crews in RIL methods and purchasing new equipment, (4) rates of return
to CL systems are very high and do not provide an incentive to change
behavior, (5) standing timber is undervalued by the market, and (6) environmental
regulations are not fully enforced.
A second case study comparison of RIL and CL is underway at the FLONA
Tapajós. To date, forest inventory and productivity data have been
collected at the FLONA and at a CL site. We are currently waiting for
the CL site to be logged to conduct the post-harvest inventories. Because
fewer species are harvested in the Santarém timbershed than in
the Paragominas timbershed, this case study will provide insight regarding
how forest type and market conditions influence the comparative economics
Planning is underway to design an analysis of data collected by FFT at
other sites in Pará and Mato Grosso. This analysis will allow us
investigate how RIL systems should be optimally adjusted to account for
differences in forest type, input and output markets and industrial scale
In addition, a verbal agreement has been reached with EMBRAPA in Belém
to translate the final report into Portuguese. Arrangements have also
been made for an extension ("street") version of the final report to be
prepared in Portuguese.
Effects of Harvesting
on the FLONA Tapajos and Other Areas
IBAMA issued the "edital" for
the managed selective timber harvest sponsored by ITTO. TREVISO, a local
Santarem firm, was selected by IBAMA for the harvest of timber from 3200
hectare site. The harvest rate is planned to be 640 ha. per year over
the next five years. Harvests are planned to begin in 1999. At this point,
TREVISO has delivered two versions of a harvest plan for the area to IBAMA.
IBAMA has requested amendments to the plans in order to comply with the
original conditions of the "edital." IITF partners, the Tropical Forest
Foundation (TFF) and EMBRAPA, have been requested by IBAMA to assist with
development of a third, and hopefully final, version of the harvest plan.
Dr. Michael Keller is monitoring progress of the negotiations through
contacts at IBAMA, TFF, and EMBRAPA.
In coordination with 7 ministries, the Brazilian government signed an
implementing agreement for the NASA sponsored LBA-Ecology project with
the US Government. IBAMA has granted approval for research to all LBA
Ecology sponsored groups who plan work in the FLONA Tapajos. LBA investigators
selected sites for major experimental infrastructure. IITF investigators
and partners have conducted measurements of productivity (above and below-ground)
as well as nutrient cycles in undisturbed forest on sand and clay soils
to provide background comparisons to future cut sites. Dr. Whendee Silver
(University of California, Berkeley) led this team that includes Dr. Jason
Neff (University of Colorado), Dr. William de Mello (Universidade Federal
Fluminense), Raimundo Cosme Oliveira Junior (EMBRAPA, Santarem) and three
The LBA-Ecology (NASA sponsored) office has agreed upon contracts with
two Santarem construction firms for experimental and infrastructure improvements.
This includes an office/laboratory facility in Santarem and facilities
at the FLONA. Other facilities include 6 micro-meteorological towers 20-65
m height, base camp facilities including diesel generators, improved communication
facilities, improvements to existing roads, and installation of deep wells
to supply water to 2 IBAMA field camps. Contracts will be signed upon
approval of the construction.
Work on forest structure and optical properties of vegetation began in
both the FLONA Tapajos and TFF Fazenda Cauaxi sites in order to provide
a basis for satellite identification of logging sites. Dr. Michael Keller
and Dr. Greg Asner (University of Colorado) conducted ground surveys at
Cauaxi to increase the base of optical data. GIS coverage of the logged
sites has been developed and canopy structure data was gathered at both
sites. Ground and aircraft acquired data will be used in developing models
for canopies with varying levels of disturbance. Dr. Asner and Dr. Keller
have submitted a proposal to NASA in order to acquire relevant images
during 2000 as part of the NASA EO-1 program. They have also requested
SPOT coverage (2 view angles) for the Cauaxi site using existing funds
from the University of Colorado and NASA. While, current approaches only
allow site identification for a limited time (2 years) following the logging,
the inverse modeling approach will allow not only identification of logging
sites but also analysis of the level of damage incurred in the harvest.
Field surveys of avifauna on the FLONA in collaboration with the Museo
Goeldi have progressed according to plan. Dr. Joseph Wunderle and Dr.
Mike Willig participated in background surveys as well as surveys of low
impact logging sites on the FLONA Tapajos.
In November 1998, William G. Edwards and Dr. Michael Keller visited Brazil
to coordinate USAID and FS programs for the current year. Meetings were
held with Paulo Fontes and Adalberto Fihlo of IBAMA to discuss the latest
draft of the implementation accord for forest management between the Forest
Service and IBAMA and present the proposed work plan for 1999. We reached
conceptual agreement on an implementation accord for signature by the
Chief of the Forest Service and the President of IBAMA.
The Forest Service participated in the USAID Coordination meeting in Pirinopolis
and met with our cooperators as well as other active organizations in
Brazil including TFF. As closure to this meeting, the group made a field
visit to Belem and Santarem where FS and LBA activities were showcased.
Discussions were initiated with Steve Cox & Laurenz Pinder of the
Nature Conservancy regarding potential opportunities for collaboration
in the Pantanal. Conversations were also held with Keith Alger from Bahia
and Bob Bushbacker of WWF.
Post-Harvest Silviculture Study
The first measurements were taken on the FFT post-harvest silvicultural
treatments at the low impact logging sites near Belem. 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. Results
are encouraging. Evaluation will continue for three years.
Holmes, Thomas P., G. M. Blate, J. C. Zweede, R. Pereira Jr., P. Barreto,
F. Boltz and R. Bausch. 1999. Financial costs and benefits of reduced-impact
logging relative to conventional logging in the Eastern Amazon. Final
Boltz, F. 1999. Bioeconomic returns under uncertainty for reduced-impact
and conventional logging systems in the Brazilian Amazon. School of Forest
Resources and Conservation, University of Florida. Master of Science Thesis.
Pattanayak, S. and E. Sills. 1999. Do tropical forests provide natural
insurance? The case of small farmers in the Brazilian Amazon. Working
Paper #23, The Duke - University of North Carolina Program in Latin American
Studies. Durham, NC.
USDA Forest Service, Southern
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.
Tropical Forest Foundation
Johan Zweede - Forester,
provides leadership and expertise in low-impact logging demonstration
and training elements of the component.
Paulo Barreto is collaborating
in the economic analysis.
University of Florida
International Institute of Tropical
Dr. Doug Carter
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
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.
1 Bossert, J.
E., J. M. Reisner, R. R. Linn, J. L. Winterkamp, R. Schaub, and P. J.
Riggan. 1999. Validation of coupled atmosphere-fire behavior models.
3rd International Conference on Forest and Fire Research & 14th
Conference on Fire and Forest Meteorology, Luso (Coimbra) Portugal,
November 16-20, 1998.
2 Riggan, P.
J. and J. W. Hoffman. 1999. Field applications of a multi-spectral,
thermal imaging radiometer. Proceedings of the IEEE Aerospace Conference,
Aspen, Colorado, paper no. 168.