Environmetal performance | Forest Management | Biodiversity
All of Fibria’s forestry activities are licensed by the appropriate environmental agencies. Before eucalyptus planting is initiated, the Company conducts a detailed environmental plan for the use of the land at each plantation, including identification of areas containing native vegetation(existing or needing restoration). During the environmental licensing process, the maps of current and intended land use are submitted to the environmental agencies for approval. When large eucalyptus plantation areas are established, the Companyalso conducts Environmental Impact Studies (EIA/Rima), which include issues related to biodiversity, among others.
Moreover, all of the activities of each work process at the Aracruz Unit are assessed for their environmental aspects and impacts, including those related to biodiversity (fauna and flora), and any significant risk of impact is dealt with through preventive measures or actions used to control impacts. The records of these evaluations are contained in the EHS ISO System software and the control actions are detailed in the operating procedures of each activity.
The Aracruz Unit incorporates in its Strategic Map goals such as “maximizing value on sustainable bases,” “to be a benchmark in terms of sustainability,” and “certified socio-environmental responsibility,” in order to align the actions of the Company with the corporate sustainability objectives. The conservation of biodiversity is an important component of this sustainability strategy, with impacts on the Company’s environmental and financial performance.
In the forestry activities of the Aracruz unit, the company takes responsibility for maintaining and improving biodiversity in comparison to the situation it originally found. As a result, many conservation actions and projects are prepared and put into practice, such as wildlife studies, the restoration of the Atlantic Forest, environmental monitoring and support of projects such as the Wildlife Reintroduction Center(Cereias). The targets and goals of each initiative are established through management control systems such as RGA (improvement projects), and are linked to performance targets and variable remuneration of the involved environmental and operating areas, as well as the Technology Center.
Also notable is the Socio-Environmental Performance Indicator (IDSA), currently being implemented in all of Fibria’s units, which seeks to improve the Company’s management practices, emphasizing the socio-environmental recommendations.
Through the results obtained in the studies and monitoring conducted in 2009, it was possible to update the data regarding biodiversity at the Aracruz Unit, particularly information about birdlife. The major focus on birds was due to the fact that they react to the slightest sign of environmental imbalance, and therefore they are recognized as important indicators of the quality of the environment.
Since 1989, more than 144,000* registrations of birds were made (considering their capture, census, transect survey and observations) belonging to 67 families and 605 distinct species. Of this total, there were 81 species already identified threatened, according to the list published by the Brazilian Environmental Institute (Ibama), the State Environmental Institute Instituto (Iema-ES), the State Environmental Secretariat (Sema-RS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Approximately 15,500 birds were banded, generating information regarding their stay and movements on Company land. With the inclusion of new data, the biodiversity databanks became more robust, leading to qualitative improvements in the analyses and technical recommendations issued by the Technology Center.
In 2009, the Fibria Bioindex was improved through the introduction of a new indicator, the value of natural vegetation. The Bioindex is a tool that makes it possible to produce statistical analyses of diversity indexes related to plantations and the Company’s native vegetation areas. TheAracruz Unit already is using the Bioindex to support planning and to detect opportunities to improve plantation management; in 2010, studies will begin for extending the system to Fibria’s other Units.
Also in 2009, the Bioindex was used to identify opportunities to change management of an area of high ecological importance to Fibria, known as Alcoprado, in the south of Bahia. The recommendations resulted in the introducing of new management techniques, such as “buffer” tree stands, seeking to attenuate harvest impacts, and the ecological corridors, designed to connect isolated natural fragments, among other actions.
The effectiveness of the strategy of establishing a connecting corridor of eucalyptus between isolated fragments of native forest was confirmed in 2009, with evidence that various species of forest birds were using the corridors. These are species that are generally averse to using open environments and for which conservationists are attempting to increase the connectivity between populations. They were captured in significant numbers within the corridor, for tagging, thus demonstrating the permeability of the plantations and the success of their ecological function. What is more, a specimen of the Hook-Billed Hermit (Glaucis dohrnii) — the most endangered and one of the rarest species of hummingbird in Brazil — was also captured within the central part of the corridor, suggesting that the corridor can also serve as a strategic alternative for the preservation of the species.
* Upon the sale of the Guaíba Unit, the numbers will be lower as of2010.