Studies by Brazil’s Amazonian Institute for Man and the Environment (IMAZON), a non-governmental organization (NGO), show that over half the wood from the Amazon region is not utilized by industry.
The research, which involved more than 600 firms in the region, demonstrates that last year only 42% of the wood was processed, while most of the remaining 58% went to waste.
This means that 14.1 million of the 24.5 million cubic meters of wood removed from the forest were turned into residues.
According to IMAZON researcher, Dênis Pereira, 45% of these residues was simply burned, 24% was transformed into charcoal, 6% remained warehoused in the firms, 5% went to brick factories, and 5% was used to generate electricity. The other 15%, Pereira added, went to waste.
In an interview with the Amazon National Radio last week, the Ministry of Environment’s director of forests, Tasso Azevedo, confirmed that the wood utilization rate in the Amazon region is low, approximately 40-45%.
Nevertheless, he did not classify the wood transformed into charcoal or used to generate electricity as wasted. He said that industries could raise their utilization rate to as much as 60% by using the residues to produce energy, metal plates, and charcoal.
Pereira explained that there is natural waste in the Amazon, but there is also waste due to the use of outdated equipment in cutting the timber.
"Due to the tools, there is excessive waste of timber when it comes split or hollow from the forests. Consequently, the yield depends on the equipment and the way the wood is handled in the yard," the IMAZON researcher observed.
According to Azevedo, there are programs underway to increase the yield in this area. "One of them is the National Quality Program, which works specifically with the question of efficiency in wood processing," he said.
"There is also the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources’ (IBAMA) Forest Products Laboratory, which seeks improvements in manufacturing processes and the transfer of technology to industries," he added.
Azevedo went on to say that the growing use of biomass residues to produce energy in the Amazon can replace the use of diesel fuel. This, he said, is a way to utilize renewable resources from the region itself.
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