Tracing timber: assessing forest degradation impacts and illegality in Brazilian supply-chains using big data (TRACTION)
Research Project, 2023 – 2025

Forest degradation rivals deforestation as a driver of carbon and biodiversity losses in the tropics. Yet, our understanding of logging—a major anthropogenic cause of forest degradation—remains limited, partly due to a large share of tropical timber harvesting being illegal. In Brazil, among the world’s top exporters of tropical wood products, it is estimated that 50-70% of timber is illegal, but illegal practices remain poorly understood. This proposal aims to fill this knowledge gap, by drawing on >45 million records on timber transactions from Brazilian federal and state-level timber crediting systems in 2007-2020. By identifying discrepancies in the volumes of timber logged, transported, and processed we will be able to quantify the amount illegally harvested wood entering timber supply-chains, and where this happens. We will also assess the amount of forest degradation due to logging and quantify the resulting impacts on biomass carbon stocks and biodiversity. Through a physical input-output model, we will then trace these illegality and sustainability risks to downstream consumers, domestically and in major export markets such as the EU, US and China. This first comprehensive identification and quantification of illegality and sustainability risks in the supply-chain for Brazilian timber can help strengthen the enforcement of both domestic and consumer market timber regulations, providing crucial support for a transition to a sustainable Brazilian forestry sector.


Martin Persson (contact)

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory



Project ID: 2022-00810
Funding Chalmers participation during 2023–2025

Related Areas of Advance and Infrastructure

Sustainable development

Driving Forces


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