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History

The Institute

IFT is a Civil Society Organization of Public Interest (OSCIP) in the Brazilian Amazon with a focus on forestry issues. The entity reports to the Brazilian Public Prosecutor’s Office and is subjected to external assessment in relation to its institutional transparency. For this purpose, it has adopted effective control practices of financial resources, thus achieving a high level of transparency. IFT is supported by several donors, who receive and approve projects with a focus on the mission of promoting good forest management practices in the Amazon.

The institution provides the so-called “hands-on” experience – on-site practice and theory for actual application of the techniques – for government agents, workers in the timber industry, communities, small rural producers, students from technical schools and universities, and decision makers in several levels.

For IFT, the multiple use of the forest is an important source to generate social benefits and development to rural populations in the Amazon. So, it struggles to ensure that forest management is carried out in observance of the best practices and existing techniques, so as to effectively conserve the resources harvested in the long run. Over the past two-year period, IFT intensified its operations in rural communities in the Amazon, helping producers to make the best choices regarding the use of their forest resources.

Much of what the technicians and engineers of IFT teach during the training and awareness courses is the result of tests, experiments and field observations gathered over more than 20 years of experience of the institution. IFT holds the most lasting forest management improvement program in the tropics and is the only independent organization in the Amazon to run a forest management applied research program.

 

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All this technical expertise prompts a demand by government entities, communities, businesses and other organizations, which contract IFT for forestry-based technical studies. Also, IFT participates in specialized forums for the discussion of challenges in the area of forestry – a way to expand the reach of the lessons learned.

For formatting and conducting the training program, the institution relies on a structure that includes a Forest Management Center in Paragominas, in a partnership with company Cikel Brasil Verde, which provides 5,000 hectares of managed forests for demonstrations and training. Thanks to other partnerships, the Roberto Bauch Forest Management Center (CMFRB) also has timber harvesting machinery and equipment to use in forest management practices. IFT has a portfolio of 11 practical forest management courses that can be held at the Forest Management Center or within the companies and communities.

The Roberto Bauch FMC is today one of the few forest management training centers in operation and the only independent one. It is associated with Cenaflor, the National Center for Forest Management Support, which is linked to the Brazilian Forest Service (SFB), and this organization is one of its strategic partners to develop its actions.

Mission

To foster good forest management practices, thus contributing to the conservation of the natural resources and improving the quality of life of the population.

Vision

The development of a fair, sustainable and inclusive forest sector in the Brazilian Amazon, supported by an industry that is heavily based on building technical capacity and on legality, and one that acknowledges traditional communities as an important source of knowledge and as a supplier of social and biodiversity products.

Johan Zweede, IFT founder, at the Management Center giving a course.

Fundação Floresta Tropical

In 1992, with 28 years of experience in forest management in the Amazon and in Latin America countries, Johan Zweede was invited by Christopher Uhl of the Institute of Man and the Environment (Imazon) to act as a technical advisor for the institution in a comparative research of Conventional Logging vs. Low-Impact Logging, funded by WWF. As a consultant and expert in forest management, Zweede helped the technicians of the institution with the improvement, design, operational innovation and implementation, in the Amazon, of a new low-impact logging system. Amongst his contributions to the project, he provided the technical guidance and initiative to secure the support from CAT International to use a skidder during the research project for skidding the logs instead of crawler tractors fitted with a hitch, which was common in logging operations early in the 1990s.

In May 1994, Johan Zweede escorted Mr. Peterson, president of the American NGO Tropical Forest Foundation (TFF) and CEO of Caterpillar in the USA during an institutional visit to Paragominas, in the southeastern region of Pará. Caterpillar was the company that, at the request of Zweede, provided support by lending machines to Imazon’s forest management research project at “Fazenda Sete”. Upon completion of the research and presentation of results, and soon after the visit, it was discussed with Johan Zweede the possibility of creating in Brazil an entity to replicate the experience of low-impact forest management, which, in the future, after creating the FFT, would be called Reduced Impact Logging.

On September 15, 1994, Johan Zweede was authorized by TFF to create a subsidiary entity in Brazil to promote demonstrative forest management models. The work was started immediately, including field activities; but FFT, as a legal entity in Brazil, was created only in January, 1995.

In the early years, FFT was dedicated to establishing five forest management models in the Amazon. In 1995, with the support from Cikel, the Cauaxi Farm, located in the municipality of Paragominas, eastern Pará, was established as the first and main operating site for FFT, and the focus of the organization became the training in Forest Management and Reduced Impact Logging for all levels of public, both at the Training Center in Cauaxi (on-site course) and off-site courses in the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon.

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Instituto Floresta Tropical

The creation of IFT was discussed in 1999 during a meeting with several public, private and third sector organizations, in addition to distinguished names of the forest scenario at the time, in which Johan Zweede and all other invited institutions envisaged having an organization with a national identity. For the sectors involved, FFT should be that organization, and, for such, it should change from FFT to IFT, thus absorbing the expertise, human resources and equipment, and that took place in October 2001. It was when FFT began to prepare to be a Brazilian NGO, after the proposal was presented and approved by the Board of Directors of TFF. The creation of the IFT entity began in August 2002, and was effected in September 2003 with special funds from the United States Forest Service (International Programs).

From September 2003 to September 2008, the two entities worked together, sharing infrastructure and personnel. In 2006, IFT was officially recognized by the Brazilian Government as an OSCIP, and the Management Center in Cauaxi was renamed as Centro de Treinamento Florestal Roberto Bauch (CMFRB), named after one of the backers to the creation of the Center, Forestry Engineer Roberto Bauch. Robert was responsible for actively supporting the implementation of two models in the State of Mato Grosso, with funding from the World Bank. The closing of the activities of FFT was completed with the official donation to IFT of all the infrastructure, personnel, equipment and materials that belonged to FFT.