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4.1 Status of NWFP statistics

Statistics on NWFP production have been collected and published for many years in Brazil by the Brazilian Institute for Statistics and Geography (IBGE) in the Anuário Estatístico do Brasil and in more detailed form in an annual series entitled Produção da Extração Vegetal e da Silvicultura. Another factor that has contributed to the enhanced status of statistics is the fact that the concept of extractive reserves originated in Brazil in the 1980s and this has spawned numerous studies of the Amazonian NWFP. Four recent examples of more detailed publications are as follows: a study of the commercialization of NWFP (Richards 1993); an investigation of extractivism’s role in regional development (Clüsener-Godt and Sachs 1994); a collection of articles on various aspects of extractivism (Emperaire 1996); and a study focused on rubber and Brazil nuts (Assies 1997). A current ITTO-funded project on NWFP in Amazonia has resulted in the creation of a database of non-wood products (LATEQ 1998). With a few exceptions (e.g. ornamental plants and mushrooms), Brazil’s NWFP are well documented, as evidenced by the 44 entries in the accompanying table.


4.2 Non-wood goods and services

Brazil’s extensive area, in particular the vast Amazon Basin region, provides a great number of NWFP. The most important products can be summarized as follows:

Tourism is a major economic activity in Brazil, for the country’s own large population and for foreign visitors alike. Brazil has an extensive network of 50 protected areas; 24 are national parks. The total area under protection is 10,6 million ha (IUCN 1982). As of 1993, Brazil had also established five extractive reserves, covering 2,16 million ha. Four of the reserves are in the Amazon Region with natural rubber as the major forest product; the human population of these rubber extractive reserves was estimated to be 21 910. The fifth is a marine reserve. Four additional babaçu palm extractive reserves had been decreed as of 1993, but not yet formally established. The babaçu reserves cover an area of 36 322 ha in the states of Maranhão and Tocantins (Ruiz Pérez 1993).


4.3 Non-wood goods

Brazil publishes national production and value data on most NWFP, but it is difficult to assess the total value of NWFP products because certain products are derived from both wild and cultivated sources. Likewise, data on the value of exports, often the most reliable, may or may not represent the full value of production. The current ITTO project has calculated that the value of NWFP in Brazil’s Amazon Region alone was US$65 436 600 in 1995 (LATEQ 1998).


4.3.1 Fibers

Buriti palm leaf fiber production in 1995 was 387 t, which is obviously underreported for this palm which is the most common in the Amazon Basin. A reported 2 078 t of carnaúba fiber was produced in 1995. Both these fibers have wide use in weaving baskets, hats, mats and so on for local and domestic consumption. Piaçava fiber (84 990 t in 1995) is the most commercialized with a major export market; it is used principally in brush making.

4.3.2 Resin, rosin, turpentine and tanin

Brazil has extensive areas of tree plantations (7 million ha in 1994-95) which in addition to wood products, yield resin (60 000 - 65 000 t in the mid 1990s), rosin (36 000 t per year in 1987-89), gum turpentine (8 000 t per year in 1987-89) and tannin (191 830 t of acacia bark in 1995). 72 t of Copaíba balsam was produced in 1995.

4.3.3 Essential oils

Commercial essential oils from the wild consist of rosewood oil (68 t exported in 1992) and tonka beans (48 t in 1995). Oiticica oil recorded production of 13 613 t of seeds in 1995. Eucalyptus leaf oil (26 160 t in 1995) is obtained from plantations. In addition, tung trees are cultivated for seed oil (1 286 t in 1995).

4.3.4 Rubber and latex

Products include natural rubber (53 000 t in 1997), sorva latex (1 106 t in 1989), balata (18 t in 1990) but possibly no longer commercialized and maçaranduba latex (116 t in 1990) which also may no longer be collected.

4.3.5 Wax

Carnaúba wax has been a product of northeastern Brazil for decades and continues to be because of its unique characteristics; production of wax was 5 228 t and powder 12 164 t in 1995.

4.3.6 Palm hearts

Brazil is the world’s major producer of canned palm hearts, supplying a large domestic and export market. Production in 1995 was recorded as 20 653 t, virtually all from wild stands of the palm in the lower Amazon.

4.3.7 Medicine

Data on two medicinal plants are collected, although dozens are sold in local markets. Ipecac root production was 2 t in 1995 and there were 2 155 t of jaborandi leaves harvested the same year.

4.3.8 Edible oils

Brazil derives edible oil from four native trees: babaçu palm (76 000 t of oil in 1997. NB. Babaçu kernel production in 1997 was given as 190 000 t. The degree to which these kernels are represented in production data for babaçu oil is unclear); licuri palm (6 696 t) , pequi (2 454 t) and tucum palm (2 257 t), the last three representing tons of seed collected in 1995.

4.3.9 Nuts

Three major cultivated nuts are coconut (647 000 t), cashew (113 000 t) and walnut (4 000 t), all data for 1997. Brazil nuts represent the most valuable wild nut with production in 1995 reported at 40 216 t, in shell. Pine nut (Araucaria) production was reported to amount to 5 319 t in 1995.

4.3.10 Fruits

Fruit production form natural forests in 1995 was: açaí fruit 108 922 t, mangaba 310 t and umbu 10 969 t.

4.3.11 Colourants and dyes

Annatto cultivation resulted in production of 8 870 t of seed in 1994.


4.4 Other NWF plant products

Black pepper vine growing is a major activity; 34 927 t were produced in 1994.

Guaraná is native to Brazil and is a caffeine beverage plant; 2 243 t of seed were produced in 1995. Cocoa bean production is another significant crop with 293 000 of beans recorded for 1997.

4.4.1 Honey

Honey production reported for Brazil (18 000 t in 1997) apparently combines wild and bee farming sources.

4.4.2 Silk

Brazil is a silk producer and exporter. Production in 1997 was recorded as 2 000 of raw and waste silk.

4.4.3 Commercial Wild Animals

There are no published data available on the production levels or value of faunal resources in Brazil, although they must be considerable. The export value of ornamental fish alone, in 1988 amounted to US$826 million (Richards 1993). Listed below are animal species which have been identified as being of commercial significance.



Saguinus spp. (1)

Ara spp. (4)

Saimiri spp. (1)

Aratinga spp. (4)

Cebus spp. (1,2)

Brotegeris spp. (4)

Alouatta spp. (1)

Amazona spp. (4)

Lagothrix lagotricha (4)


Lutra longicaudis (3)


Pteronura brasiliensis (3)


Leopardus paradalis (3)

Podocnemis expansa (2)

Panthera onca (3)

Podocnemis unifilis (2)

Trichechus inunguis (2)

Peltocephalus dumerilianus (2)

Tapirus terrestris (2)

Geochelone denticulata (2)

Tayassu pecari (2,3)

Caiman crocodilus (3)

Tayassu tajacu (2,3)

Melanosuchus niger (3)

Mazama americana (2,3)

Boa constrictor (3)

Odocoileus virginianus (2)

Eunectes murinus (3)

Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris (3)


Agouti paca (2)


1. Live animals for biomedical research
2. Meat
3. Skin
4. Live animals, pets, etc.

Source: TCA, 1995.


4.4 References

Assies, W. 1997. Going nuts for the rainforest: non-timber forest products, forest conservation and sustainability in Amazonia. Tropenbos, Amsterdam.

Clüsener-Godt, M.,Sachs I. (eds).1994. Extractivism in the Brazilian Amazon: perspectives on regional development. MAB Digest 18. UNESCO, Paris.

Coppen, J. J. W. 1995a. Flavours and fragrances of plant origin. Non-Wood Forest Products 1. FAO, Rome.

Coppen, J. J. W. 1995b. Gums, resins and latexes of plant origin. Non-Wood Forest Products 6. FAO, Rome.

Coppen, J. J. W., Hone, G. A. 1995. Gum naval stores: turpentine and rosin from pine resin. Non-Wood Forest Products 2. FAO, Rome.

Emperaire, L. (ed). 1996. La forêt en jeu: l’extractivisme en Amazonie centrale. ORSTOM, Paris.

FAO. 1995. Forest resources assessment 1990. Tropical forest plantation resources. Forestry Paper 128. FAO, Rome.

FAO. 1997. Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission. State of forestry in the region - 1996. Forestry Series No. 8. FAO, Santiago.

FAO. 1998. FAO production yearbook. Vol. 51 – 1997. FAO, Rome.

IBGE. 1998a. Anuário Estatístico do Brasil – 1996. Vol. 56. IBGE, Rio de Janeiro.

IBGE. 1998b. Produção da Extração Vegetal e da Silvicultura. Vol. 10. IBGE, Rio de Janeiro.

Iqbal, M. 1995. Trade restrictions affecting international trade in non-wood forest products. Non-Wood Forest Products 8. FAO, Rome.

IUCN. 1982. IUCN Directory of Neotropical Protected Areas. Tycooly Publishing, Dublin.

LATEQ. 1998. Non-wood tropical forest products: processing, collection and trade. Laboratório de Tecnologia Química, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, D.F. Brasil.

Richards, E. M. 1993. Commercialization of non-timber forest product in Amazonia. Socio-economic Series 2, Natural Resources Institute, Kent, U.K.

Ruiz Pérez, M.,et al 1993. El extractivismo en América Latina. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

TCA. 1995. Uso y conservación de la fauna silvestre en la Amazonia. Tradato de Cooperación Amazónica, Secretaria Pro-Tempore, Lima.


4.5 Resource Persons

José de Arimatéa Silva, Departamento de Recursos Florestais, IBAMA, SAIN, Av. L4, Lote 4, Ed. Sede do IBAMA, Bloco B, Sala 2, Cep 70800-200, Brasília, D.F. Brasil. Tel: 5561 226 2081; Fax: 5561 226 8711.

Floriano Pastore Jr. and Vag-Lan Borges, Laboratório de Tecnologia Química, Departamento de Química, Universidade de Brasília, Caixa Postal 04574 – Cep 70910-900, Brasília, D.F. Brasil. Tel: 5561 347 5509; Fax: 5561 340 6645; E-mail:

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