Sustainable forest planning and management that support forest productivity, disease and pest control, maintenance of biodiversity, environmental preservation, and the provision of ecosystem services – creating a virtuous cycle.
Management of biodiversity in forestry operations
Due to the high cost for creating and maintaining protected natural spaces, these initiatives are almost always promoted by the state. However, most of the world’s land, and its biodiversity, is on private property. Thus, private sector engagement in establishing protected areas and protecting natural areas plays a significant role in global efforts to increase conserved surface area.
Suzano’s protected areas comprise the Permanent Preservation Areas, and Legal Reserves, established and managed in accordance with environmental legislation. Depending on their ecological, environmental, and social attributes, some of these areas can be considered as High Conservation Value Areas (HCVA) and/or Private Reserve of Natural Heritage (PRNH). In this case, special forms of management and protection of the values identified must be established in accordance with specific requirements and legislation applicable to these conservation areas.
Suzano maintains and protects approximately 960,000 hectares of native vegetation, which corresponds to 40% of its total area. In this territory, Suzano voluntarily identified 69 areas defined as High Conservation Value Areas (HCVA) and seven Private Natural Heritage Reserves (IUCN Category IV), totaling more than 57,000 hectares considered of global or national importance for biodiversity.
The purpose of Suzano’s protected area management is to promote the conservation, improvement, and sustainable use of biodiversity, protecting ecosystems, species, and genetic diversity and ensuring compliance with the applicable legislation.
Suzano’s management of biodiversity has a corporate Manual for Managing Protected Areas, which establishes the general guidelines, procedures, and responsibilities relating to management for conservation of its protected areas.. Regarding the HCVAs defined, Suzano has a specific HCVA Monitoring Plan in place for each unit. This plan presents the monitoring indicators, potential risks to high biodiversity value attributes identified, and the necessary protection measures.
In addition, for the areas where the need for intervention to re-establish ecological functions has been identified ( due to previous use for cattle grazing and other uses by third parties, which currently comprise the company’s conservation areas), Suzano has an ecological restoration strategy in place, which considers landscape planning and the integration of its stakeholders, in order to contribute to biodiversity conservation, generate social benefits, and increasingly become a company with a positive net impact.
The actions of the Suzano Ecological Restoration Program are based on the following strategic areas:
- Landscape planning: carry out spatial planning at the micro-watershed scale, considering the Conservation Units, native remnants, ecological corridors, springs, and social and environmental projects in place in the territory, in order to expand the restoration actions at the landscape scale
- Integration of its stakeholders: build a cooperation network with public and private institutions, civil society organizations, the scientific community, and landowners, in order to join efforts for ecological restoration actions
- Biodiversity conservation: recover natural ecosystems by promoting passive and active restoration, the control of invasive species, and the formation of corridors in order to reestablish the ecological functionality
- Social benefits: develop the ecological restoration chain by organizing stakeholder participation, quantifying and disclosing its results in order to expand the social benefits and society’s perception of ecosystem services
- Legal compliance: ensure society’s main interests by complying with legislation.
Suzano’s guidelines for the ecological restoration strategy are defined in the company’s corporate Manual for Ecological Restoration, which establishes operating procedures and responsibilities within the management of the program.
External commitments and partnerships
The signing of the Pact for the Restoration of the Atlantic Forest, which provides for the recovery of 15 million hectares of forests in Brazil by 2050, is a clear example of Suzano’s readiness to establish solid partnerships. More than one hundred institutions and companies are involved in this initiative, which will contribute to restoring an important portion of the biome’s native plant coverage. Based on the pact, Suzano conducted a field test in an 11.3 hectare area on its property in Aracruz (ES), in which 40 native Atlantic Forest and eucalyptus species were planted in June 2011. The purpose of this experiment is to develop and test eight planting models with native species, including the use of eucalyptus as a pioneer species to ensure economic yield in Legal Reserve areas and areas with low agricultural potential in northern Espírito Santo and southern Bahia.
At the Espírito Santo and Bahia Forestry units, the Nascentes do Mucuri Program—a Suzano initiative in partnership with various private sector leaders, NGOs, government agencies, and individuals—is intended to promote efforts in environmental education and qualification of local producers to strengthen a culture of preservation, fostering the design and solidification of public policies and strategic partnerships to stimulate the entire chain involved in the process, in addition to the restoration of some 2,500 springs.
Suzano also participates in the Alliance for the Restoration of the Amazon, a pact for the conservation of this biome, which today is considered the largest biodiversity reserve on the planet. Restoring the Amazon Rainforest is a priority action for the Alliance and for the organizations that joined together to create it ( including: civil society organizations, governmental institutions, research institutions, and companies), also seeking to boost the forest restoration economy in this biome and to stimulate all the links in this productive chain, generating business opportunities, jobs, and income. Suzano is a member of the Strategic Coordination Council as a representative of the private sector and is responsible for establishing norms, rules, principles, and policies for the management and operation of the Alliance.
Also concerning the Amazon biome, Suzano is a member of two other initiatives:
- Partners for the Amazon Platform: it is a private sector platform for collective action to foster new models for sustainable development in the Amazon. Its goal is to develop and identify tangible and innovative solutions for the conservation of biodiversity and natural resources in the Amazon and to guarantee the quality of life of the communities in the region.
- Project Promoting and implementing Large-Scale Assisted Natural Regeneration in the Brazilian Amazon: a result of the partnership between the World Resources Institute – WRI Brasil, Instituto Centro de Vida – ICV, Instituto Homem e Meio Ambiente da Amazônia – Imazon, and Suzano, its objective is to stimulate the restoration of approximately 300,000 hectares through assisted natural regeneration. The project will focus on eight municipalities (three in Pará and five in Mato Grosso) and three lines of action: (i) identify and map success factors and priority areas for assisted natural regeneration; (ii) design and test packages and solutions for implementing assisted natural regeneration in priority landscapes; and (iii) increasing the scale of successful initiatives in municipalities, states, and the biome.
Furthermore, Suzano is a signatory of the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS), whose purpose is to promote sustainable development by working together with governments and civil society, in addition to disseminating the most current concepts and practices on this topic.
CEBDS is the representative in Brazil of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), which has 60 national and regional councils in 36 countries and 22 industry sectors, in addition to 200 corporate groups operating in every continent. The institution has represented its members in all the United Nations Conferences of the Parties on Climate Change, since 1998, and on Biological Diversity, since 2000.
The following are more examples of commitments and multi-sector platforms in which Suzano is a formal member:
- Diálogo Florestal (https://dialogoflorestal.org.br/ )
- Coalização Brasil Clima Florestas e Agricultura (http://www.coalizaobr.com.br/home/ )
- Call to Action – Business for Nature (https://www.businessfornature.org/call-to-action )
- New Generation Plantation (https://newgenerationplantations.org/ )
To ensure careful and efficient management, Suzano uses different approaches for the biodiversity conservation and ecological restoration processes. To this end, the company participates in the Sustainable Forest Mosaics Initiative (IMFS – Iniciativa Mosaicos Florestais Sustentáveis), which seeks to integrate planning and implementation of land use and conservation activities together with NGOs and other companies in the sector. The initiative also seeks to insert conservation elements into forest development programs (private incentives, credit, and technical assistance to support forestry activities performed by other rural landowners).
Based on the actions that are already being developed by companies and organizations, which are constantly discussed and improved (as is the case of the Forest Forum of the Far South of Bahia, a local branch of the Forest Dialogue), the IMFS aims to increase the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation efforts in forest mosaics that combine native remnants and planted forests. Regarding the Ecological Restoration Program, the IMFS has established priority areas for the Program’s activities, in order to form connections between important natural areas, such as Conservation Units and extensive and well-preserved forest fragments.
The joint work with other entities, such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), universities, and companies, is an essential part of this process. Through partnerships, Suzano understands that new methodologies for restoration, protection, conservation, and monitoring are created, analyzed and tested, which will help improve management efficiency, reduce impacts, generate new job opportunities, and promote knowledge sharing.
The following are some examples of the partnerships established and their strategic objectives:
- The Nature Conservancy (TNC): partnership with TNC for more than 12 years for the implementation of ecological monitoring in the areas of restoration. This partnership has already produced a large database for analyzing the efficiency of restoration methods and techniques and for technology exchange.
- SOS Mata Atlântica: partnership for the development of Municipal Plans for the Conservation and Recovery of the Atlantic Forest (PMMA) in 30 municipalities where Suzano operates in the states of São Paulo, Espírito Santo, and Bahia. The Municipal Plans for the Conservation and Recovery of the Atlantic Forest were introduced through Law No. 11,428, of December 22, 2006, known as the Law of the Lei da Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest Act), and regulated through Decree No. 6,660, of November 21, 2008, which established its minimum content. The goal is to mobilize and encourage local managers and players to participate in municipal planning and to train municipal environmental advisors to prepare the PMMA.
- WRI and IMAZON: partnership established for the development of the project “Promoting and implementing Large-Scale Assisted Natural Regeneration in the Brazilian Amazon.”
- University of São Paulo (USP) / Laboratory of Ecology and Forest Restoration: technical partnership since the beginning of its Ecological Restoration Program, in the 1990s, for the improvement of methodologies, definition of partnerships to work in the selection of species, and other relevant issues for managing this topic.
- Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) / Rio Claro campus: partnership for scientific research on the black lion tamarin (Leotopithecus chrysopygus) on Rio Claro Farm, in Lençóis Paulista (SP).
- Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) / Bauru campus: research partnership for the postdoctoral project “Analysis of the dynamics in the amphibian community on Rio Claro Farm in Lençóis Paulista (SP)”
- Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) / Botucatu campus: research partnership for adaptive management in areas with eucalyptus for restoration – Parque das Neblinas, Mogi das Cruzes
- Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) / Ilha Solteira campus: partnership for testing the progenies of Pequi (Cariocar brasiliensis) and Baru (Dypterix alata) in Três Lagoas (MS)
- Federal University of Espírito Santo (UFES) and Canopy: partnership for the automation of LIDAR classification and quantification of biomass and diversity
- Federal University of Viçosa (UFV) Sociedade de Investigações Florestais (SIF): partnership in the assessment of the conservation status of endangered primates on São Sebastião do Ribeirão Grande Farm, in Pindamonhangaba (SP) and Parque da Neblinas, in Mogi das Cruzes (SP), using the southern muriqui (Brachyteles arachnoides), the largest neotropical primate and endemic to the Atlantic Forest, listed in the “endangered” category by the Ministry of the Environment. It is estimated that there are about 1,200 adult individuals in the wild. The project includes ground and air monitoring using a specific drone to recognize the primate populations, detailing the demography and population viability of the Southern muriqui groups in order to identify the main threats and indicate priority actions to protect the species.
- Universidade Estadual da Região Tocantina do Maranhão (UEMASUL): partnership in seven undergraduate and master’s degree research projects related to the survey of flora and communities of entomological species in a High Conservation Value Area of the Itabaiana block, in Açailândia (MA).
- Universidade Federal do Sul Baiano (UFSB): In 2020, a contract was signed with UFSB for the transfer of scholarships for research on Biodiversity.
- Save Brasil / Bird Life: partnership for the study on the occurrence of the marsh antwren (Formicivora paludicola) on Putim Farm, in Guararema (SP).
- Veracel: In 2019, Suzano started a partnership with Veracel for integrated monitoring of biodiversity in the landscape, covering part of the states of Espírito Santo, Bahia, and Minas Gerais, where companies have an established forest base. The purpose of the integrated monitoring is to understand the dynamics of the species in this territory, found in the central corridor of the Atlantic Forest, and how the companies’ forests contribute to the conservation and maintenance of biodiversity in the territory.
- Instituto Baleia Jubarte (IBJ): partnership for the monitoring of dolphins in Caravelas (to comply with the environmental requirements for the dredging of the Tomba Canal, Caravelas – BA).
- Centro de Reintrodução de Animais Silvestres (CEREIAS): Suzano is a partner and sponsor of the wild animal reintroduction project, located on an 11.5 ha area loaned by the former Aracruz (currently Suzano), in Barra do Riacho, municipality of Aracruz – ES, which was classified by the Ministry of Justice as an OSCIP – Civil Society Organization of Public Interest, a private non-profit entity that is supported by donations and subsidies from private and public companies.
- Casa da Floresta: partnership for monitoring the flora of the native vegetation (shrub and tree species) on São Sebastião do Ribeirão Grande Farm in Pindamonhangaba, Tijuco and Suina Farms in Capão Bonito, and Rio Claro Farm in Lençóis Paulista, in order to evaluate the effect of forest management on biodiversity and characterize the composition, structure, and dynamics of the flora of its main fragments of native forest. By doing this, our goal is to help identify and conserve endangered species that are endemic to the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado.
- Biophilium Consultoria Ambiental: partnership for the project “Mapping, classification and characterization of the vegetation of the natural areas on Suzano S.A.’s farms in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.” This characterization will make it possible to specifically point out the most relevant areas for environmental conservation, thus guiding the choice of High Conservation Value Areas (HCVA). The results will also support the planning of the program for the ecological restoration of degraded areas, which will allow for the indication of the most appropriate methods for each type of vegetation found in the Cerrado biome. The project also includes training Suzano’s direct and indirect employees on the ecology of the Cerrado, with emphasis on the characterization, conservation, and restoration of the different vegetation physiognomies.
- Procter & Gamble / WWF: joint planning for the restoration of the Atlantic Forest in Espírito Santo. The initiative, together with other native forest recovery projects implemented by Suzano, is part of P&G’s commitment to having 100 percent carbon-neutral operations throughout this decade. The purpose of the project is to guarantee the protection and recovery of the Atlantic Forest based on a movement that encompasses social, environmental, and sustainable development aspects. The actions in Espírito Santo will be headed by WWF-Brazil and will have the support and expertise of Suzano in generating income for local communities.
- Bayer: partnership for innovation in the control of grasses in ecological restoration, aiming to develop innovative and cost-effective methodologies for controlling invasive grasses, based on the use of pre- and post-emergent herbicides, for the restoration of native ecosystems.
- Agroícone: partnership to restore native vegetation using direct seeding in different Suzano Units.
Management and identification of risks and opportunities
Suzano’s management of the topic of biodiversity conservation and related risks is also monitored through external audits, in accordance with the standards for responsible forest management of the FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council®)1 and PEFC/Cerflor (Brazilian Forest Certification Program).
Furthermore, in order to prevent, reduce, and mitigate the impacts resulting from forestry operations, a series of actions are planned that involve several areas of the company, as examples:
- Microplanning of forestry operations (environmental recommendations, mosaic harvesting)
- Pre- and Post-Operation Monitoring of Silviculture, Harvesting, and Logistics
- Management of Environmental Aspects and Impacts related to the Silviculture, Harvesting, and Logistics operation
- Sustainability Education Program for employees and neighboring communities
- Emergency Control and Fire Fighting Program / Integrated Forest Protection System
- Property Security that, in addition to registering occurrences, takes protective measures to control hunting, predatory fishing, thefts of flora, deforestation, and fires, among other risks
- Periodic monitoring of biodiversity (Wildlife and Flora) and Water Resources (tracking the development and changes to components and parameters of the landscape and the communities of wildlife and flora)
- Monitoring of Social and Environmental Events by a specialized team
- Solid Waste Management (generation, storage, and disposal)