Keywords: Amazon, forest policy, industrial organisation, sustainable development, sustainability, unsustainable logging, Brazil, technological development, timber industry
Industrial development on logging frontiers in the Brazilian Amazon
In this paper, we review the concept of forest sector industrialisation and technology adoption with the goal of identifying reasons that have shaped the technological development, or lack thereof, in the Brazilian forest sector. The image of the timber industry in the Amazon has been one of excessive harvest, deforestation, and arguable misuse of a renewable resource. In this paper, we use the results of a survey of 499 mills in the Amazon, as well as secondary data, to discuss the drivers of unsustainable frontier development. Our research suggests that unsustainable logging, or the 'boom-and-bust' scenario, is not an inevitable outcome for the industry. New and intermediate frontiers are sufficiently different from old frontiers, in key issues, to show that the industry can respond rationally to policy interventions.