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Conserving the Atlantic rainforest in Brazil
A direct dependency on ecosystems
Veracel, a joint venture between Stora Enso and Fibria, is a pulp mill and tree plantation company in southern Bahia, Brazil. The company depends on the environment and the ecosystem services it provides, such as clean water and soil nutrition, to sustain its business in the long term. It is therefore critical for Veracel to protect the environment in and around the tree plantation, in order to guarantee its future operations.
The right balance between eucalyptus planting and native rainforest restoration
Veracel has adopted a land use model based on a mosaic landscape approach that combines both growing eucalyptus for industrial use and conserving and restoring the native Atlantic rainforest. Veracel plants eucalyptus mainly in plateaus, leaving valleys, riversides, steep slopes, and other areas with special characteristics reserved for environmental preservation. This results in a land use pattern where eucalyptus covers less than half of the total area, while the non-planted areas of the Atlantic rainforest are destined for conservation and regeneration.
The area reserved for the Atlantic rainforest is mainly allowed to regenerate naturally, but the most degraded areas are restored through active planting of native tree species. Veracel also works to protect existing remnants of the natural forest and aims to connect those remaining patches through forest corridors.
Every year, Veracel replants some 400 hectares of Atlantic rainforest. By the end of 2009, Veracel had altogether restored over 3500 hectares.
These reforestation efforts, together with the protection of large areas, are critical for Veracel to ensure its business license to operate and also to secure its future operation through maintenance of the native forest ecosystem services that are key to providing good growing conditions for its eucalyptus plantation.
Further information on Stora Enso’s actions can be found on the following website: www.storaenso.com/ globalresponsibility/