Legal and illegal logging in the Brazilian state of Pará, 2010-2012. Graphic: Imazon / mongabay.com

By Rhett A. Butler
23 October 2013

(mongabay.com) – Illegal logging remains pervasive in the Brazilian state of Pará, finds an assessment released Monday by Imazon.

Analyzing satellite data and records from Pará's environmental agency Sema, the Brazil-based NGO found that 78 percent of logging documented via satellite between August 2011 and July 2012 was illegal. Some 122,337 hectares of rainforest was logged during the period, a 151 percent rise over a year earlier, when 48,802 ha were illegally harvested.

Illegal logging far outpaced legal logging in the state: the area illegally cut was three-and-a-half times larger than the 34,902 ha where sanctioned logging took place.

15 percent of illegal logging occurred in the municipality of Portel. Paragominas, the municipality that has been heralded for its progress in reducing deforestation since 2009, accounted for less than 4 percent of illegal logging.

Only 2,055 ha of illegal logging occurred within indigenous reservations in the state. In contrast, more than 8,000 ha of conservation areas were illegally logged.

Almost a quarter of illegal logging took place in areas set aside for colonization under Brazil's agrarian reform program. [more]

Illegal logging remains rampant in Brazil

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