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  • Centro Brasileiro Inovação e Sustentabilidade

Bamboo cutting and management in Brazil: legal framework

The cultivation, management and cutting of bamboo, a versatile plant with multiple applications, from biomass to the manufacture of utensils to low-carbon construction, requires special attention to current laws to ensure environmental sustainability and compliance with local regulations.

In an official consultation by the Brazilian Center for Innovation and Sustainability with Ibama - Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, the entity clarifies that the duties and competencies of SISNAMA entities were outlined by Complementary Law No. 140 of 2011 , which sets standards , in accordance with items III, VI and VII of the caput and the sole paragraph of art. 23 of the Federal Constitution, for cooperation between the Union, the States, the Federal District and the Municipalities in administrative actions arising from the exercise of common competence relating to the protection of notable natural landscapes, the protection of the environment, the fight against pollution in any of its forms and the preservation of forests, fauna and flora; and amends Law No. 6,938, of August 31, 1981, in accordance with art. 7th, 8th and 9th.


Therefore, any forestry or similar interventions on private rural property must be authorized or regulated by the State Environmental Bodies (OEMA) and in the case of intervention in an urban or municipal area, by the Municipal Environment Agency (OMMA).


Today, with Federal Law No. 12,651 of 2012 , which provides for the protection of native vegetation; amends Laws No. 6,938, of August 31, 1981, 9,393, of December 19, 1996, and 11,428, of December 22, 2006; repeals Laws No. 4,771, of September 15, 1965, and 7,754, of April 14, 1989, and Provisional Measure No. 2,166-67, of August 24, 2001; it is possible to understand that the collection of bamboo is free as seen in section III of art. 21:


Art. 21. It is free to collect non-timber forest products, such as fruits, vines, leaves and seeds, paying attention to:

I - the collection periods and volumes set out in specific regulations, if applicable;

II - the ripening time of fruits and seeds;

III - techniques that do not put the survival of individuals and the species collected at risk in the case of collecting flowers, leaves, bark, oils, resins, vines, bulbs, bamboos and roots.


Regarding transportation, based on Decree No. 5,975 of 2006 ,  which regulates arts. 12, final part, 15, 16, 19, 20 and 21 of Law no. 4,771, of September 15, 1965, art. 4th, item III, of Law no. 6,938, of August 31, 1981, art. 2nd of Law No. 10,650, of April 16, 2003, amends and adds provisions to Decrees No. 3,179, of September 21, 1999, and 3,420, of April 20, 2000, and provides other measures, which in the case of bamboo and related species, the transport document (DOF)  is not required, as seen in item VII of art. 23rd.


Art. 23.  They are exempt from the obligation provided for in art. 20, regarding the use of the document for transport and storage, the following forest products and by-products of native origin:


VI bamboo (Bambusa vulgares) and related species;


The exemption also maintained in Normative Instruction No. 21 of 2014   of Ibama, which provides as per item VI of art. 49.


Art. 49. As provided for in § 5 of art. 36 of Law No. 12,651, of 2012, are considered outside the scope of forest flow control and, therefore, exempt from issuing a DOF for transportation, unless more restrictive legislation at the state or municipal level, the cases of:  


VI - bamboo (Bambusa vulgares) and related species;  


It is important to note that this legal and normative framework presented is federal legislation, therefore it does not exempt those interested in cutting and/or managing bamboo from observing state regulations on the subject.


In the specific case of OEMAs, they are, for example: . Amapá: State Secretariat for the Environment (SEMA/AP ), São Paulo: Companhia Ambiental do Estado de São Paulo (CETESB br/ ), Rio de Janeiro: State Institute of the Environment (INEA ), Minas Gerais: State Institute of Forests (IEF .br/ ), Bahia: Institute of Environment and Water Resources (INEMA ), Paraná: Instituto Água e Terra (IAT ) and Tocantins: Instituto Natureza do Tocantins (NATURATINS ).


Regarding bamboo management in Federal Conservation Units for Sustainable Use, they are: Extractive Reserves (RESEX), Sustainable Development Reserves (RDS) and National Forests (FLONA), which are the responsibility of ICMBio.


Therefore, to cut and manage bamboo, especially on large scales or when dealing with native species, it is necessary to obtain authorizations from the competent environmental bodies, such as ICMBio or state environmental departments, depending on the ownership of the area. This process may include the presentation of a sustainable management plan that demonstrates how logging activities will not negatively affect the local ecosystem.

Sustainable bamboo management involves practices that guarantee the natural regeneration and longevity of bamboo groves, such as:


Selective Cutting: Select only mature culms for cutting, generally those over four years old according to ABNT 17043:2023 , preserving the youngest ones to ensure the continued growth of the bamboo grove.

Cutting Rotation: Implement a rotation system so that different areas are cut at different times, allowing the natural recovery of previously explored areas.

Preservation of Native Species: Give preference to the cultivation and management of native species, adapted to the local ecosystem, to avoid environmental imbalance.

Proper bamboo management not only complies with current laws, but also promotes significant environmental benefits, such as soil conservation, protection of water resources and carbon capture. Furthermore, bamboo represents a source of income for many rural communities, contributing to sustainable economic development.

Cutting and managing bamboo, when carried out in accordance with current laws and sustainability practices, can bring significant benefits to the environment and society. It is essential that producers, entrepreneurs and other interested parties are aware of the applicable regulations and committed to implementing responsible management practices, thus ensuring the sustainable use of this valuable natural resource.

This legal framework aims to regulate the use of natural resources, including flora, to ensure the preservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of these resources.

Before starting any bamboo cutting or management activity, it is essential to know the state's understanding of whether or not the necessary environmental authorizations or licenses are required. These processes aim to assess the environmental impact of proposed activities and ensure that they comply with environmental protection laws.



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