A vast undertaking, the new National Forest Inventory hopes to gain "a broad panorama of the quality and the conditions in the forest cover", according to Brazil's Forestry Minister Antonio Carlos Hummel.
The census, set to take place over the next four years, will scour 3,288,000 square miles, sampling 20,000 points at 20 kilometer intervals and registering the number, height, diameter, and species of the trees, among other data.
The initiative, aimed to better allocate resources to the country's forests, is part of a large-scale turnaround in Brazil's relationship to its forests. While it once had one of the worst rates of deforestation in the world, last year only 1,797 square miles of the Amazon were destroyed - a reduction of nearly 80% compared to 2004.
Photo: Flickr/Nico Crisafulli