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Keeping an eye on the climate

With our attention focusing on climate change, we have undertaken actions and initiatives to reduce the impact of our operations on the climate.

 

The effects of climate change pose a risk we monitor constantly. In the mid- and long-term, they may lead to changes in air currents, vegetation and rainfall, with consequent impacts on biodiversity.

In order to reduce the potential negative impact of our operations on these events and to ensure the resilience of the company in the face of climate change and consequent changes in landscape, we promote control of emissions into the atmosphere, we practice landscape management, we apply sustainable forest management and we minimize chemical use, among other initiatives. Learn more about Veracel’s atmospheric emissions in the text: “We take care of the ozone layer” [G4-DMA Biodiversity]

Do you want to learn more about climate change? Have a look at Ibá’s website.

 

 

A respectful tenant

The properties that make up our forest base in the south of Bahia State, the State’s South Coast are in the Atlantic Forest biome, which enjoys high biodiversity. Among the potential impacts that our forest operations might bring to this biome are changes in land and aquatic biotic environments, changes in the landscape, changes in the soil and intensification of climate change. We are well aware of all this, so we pay close attention to landscape management, endeavor to maintain the very best forest handling and promote different initiatives to monitor, protect and conserve. Examples are the Atlantic Forest Program, Municipal Plans for Conservation and Recuperation of the Atlantic Forest and actions to maintain High Conservation Value Areas. See more about these initiatives in this chapter. [G4-EN12, G4-EN13]

 

25 years’ environmental preservation
Our Forest base, located in the Atlantic Forest Corridor, has been implemented in areas that were formerly degraded and anthropized. We keep up the mosaic system, whereby planted forests are interspersed with areas of native vegetation, enabling circulation of fauna through ecologic corridors.

 

LOCATION AND SIZE OF THE AREA OWNED, LEASED OR ADMINISTRATED WITHIN OR ADJACENT TO PROTECTED AREAS, AND AREAS WITH A HIGH BIODIVERSITY INDEXES OUTSIDE PROTECTED AREAS [G4-EN11]
2016Own and Leased (hectares)Forest Producer Program – PPF (hectares)Total (hectares)
Within protected areas9,925.42437.8510,363.27
Adjacent to protected areas16,439.543,379.9819,819.52

Areas are considered to be “within” when they are inside areas classified as Private Reserve of Natural Heritage (RPPN) and High Conservation Value Areas (HCVA). “Adjacent” areas are within 3 kilometers.

 

USE AND OCCUPATION OF LAND – PRESERVATION AREAS [G4-EN11]
2016Own and Leased (hectares)Forest Producer Program – PPF (hectares)Total  (hectares)
Permanent Preservation Area22,988.556,105.4129,093.96
Legal Reserve47,485.869,461.0056,946.85
Private Reserve of Natural Heritage (RPPN)6,062.94391.566,454.49
Additional Protected Areas36,534.2736,534.27
Total113,071.6115,957.96129,029.57

Additional protected areas are preserved as part of the company’s environmental management although this is not a legal obligation (Legal Reserve of Permanent Preservation).

 

Atlantic Forest Program (PMA)

Veracel has kept up this program since 1994. Its main objective is to create a balanced landscape by means of forest restoration of remainders of this biome located in the ten municipalities where we act. Our commitment is to restore at least 400 hectares/year by effective planting and/or enrichment, in order to have revegetated 16.9 thousand hectares with native species by 2030. As at 2016, 6.1 thousand hectares had been reforested, distributed over different points within our areas.

In 2017 PMA strategies and methodology are under review, taking into account current legal requirements such as Rural Environmental Registration (CAR), which is compulsory for all rural real estate in the country (learn more in www.car.gov.br).

 

 

The Atlantic Forest Program enables us to align Atlantic Forest biodiversity and our own forest projects, by planting in mosaic form in order to interconnect fragments of native forest in the region.

Municipal Plan for Conservation and Recuperation of the Atlantic Forest

We support preparation of Municipal Plans for Conservation and Recuperation of Atlantic Forest (PMMA) in the municipalities where we act, through a cooperation agreement with SOS Mata Atlântica Foundation. The plan is required by the Atlantic Forest Law and must be prepared on the basis of norms and orientation in the Forestry Code, in line with laws concerning climate change, biodiversity and water resources. Preparation of plans is the responsibility of Bahia Environmental Group (GAMBÁ). Veracel, because it is an actor in the territory, contributes monitoring data.

On account of the 2016 municipal elections, four plans have not yet been approved, which is expected to take place in 2017. Also in this year, the integration of plans is being structured, in an initiative involving the Ministry of the Environment and WWF, the global conservation organization. This is positive for all actors involved because it provides a regional vision of the priority areas and necessary intervention to conserve and restore the biome.

 

Maintenance of High Conservation Value Areas (HCVA)

High Conservation Value Areas (HCVA) require the attention of our environmental management. They are locations with environmental or social conditions that are exceptional or deemed critical and considered a priority for conservation. To this end, in addition to monitoring flora and fauna (see more under “Monitoring” in this chapter), we maintain a physical protection plan, which identifies critical or fragile areas and determines necessary strategies and action to prevent, control or mitigate threats, pressure and risks that might cause damage both to these areas themselves or people’s safety. An example of action is Operation Fine Comb, which involves close inspection to identify indications and traces of hunting or theft of native lumber.

 

Monitoring

Flora and fauna: monitoring carried out in the company’s HCVAs endeavors to understand the behavior of biodiversity in the face of forest operations. Since 2015, interference of eucalyptus and pasturing on fragments of forest has also been monitored, using birdlife as a bio indicator.

Marine life: we carry out monitoring of turtles and cetaceans from aircraft and boats, as well as watching over sand dredging operations, with the objective of assessing the impact of barges at Belmonte Maine Terminal. Instances of beaching, population density, reproduction conditions and other aspects are watched over. Watching over turtles is a condition for operating the Terminal.

Vegetal cover: in order to watch over evolution of the landscape in the South and Deep South of Bahia State, Veracel, Fibria and Suzano sponsored a first-time study to analyze satellite images, checking changes in the landscape of the territory since the 1990s. This was the Independent Monitoring of the Forest Cover of the Northern Basins in the Deep South of Bahia State, carried out in 2015 and made public in 2016. Learn more about this subject in the text: “What has happened to the vegetal cover in recent years?”

 

From 2008 to 2016, monitoring of fauna and flora registered:

871 species of plants
328 species of birds
30 species of mammals

 

Joining NGP is an important step, placing us in contact with the most advanced initiatives to restore and conserve the Atlantic Forest and the relationship between this biome and society.”

Renato Gomes Carneiro Filho, Veracel’s Sustainability Manager

Our daily water and soil

Forest operations of an enterprise such as Veracel involve potential risks, such as changes to soil due to leaks and dumping waste, and they may cause impacts such as conflict over water use, health of micro-watersheds, impacts downstream and the soil’s productive potential. As a part of managing such risks and impacts under the principles of Sustainable Forest Management, we monitor quality of water, soil and micro-watersheds.

Edaphic/water monitoring is carried out annually at 10 points under direct and/or exclusive influence of eucalyptus trees. Five are within the company’s property and the other five are in properties belonging to members of the Forest Producer Program (PPF). Four micro-watersheds within Veracel’s property are watched over both continuously and simultaneously, using the indicator comparison method: hydric balance, hydrochemistry of creek, losses of soil and nutrients. Work is carried out in partnership with the Program for Environmental Monitoring in Micro-Watersheds (PROMAB), coordinated by the Forestry Science and Research Institute (IPEF) together with University of São Paulo (USP). [G4-DMA Biodiversity, G4-EN22]

 

 

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