Ongoing work to conserve the greatest biodiversity in the world

Brazil is the country with the greatest biodiversity in the world, and a vast richness of flora and fauna. The country contains 20% of global biodiversity, as well as 30% of the planet's tropical forests by area. With the work that began in the 1970s and intensified over the years, and faced with the growing emphasis placed on this topic by corporate and government strategies, the national planted tree industry has significantly demonstrated its commitment to Brazil’s continued leadership in this ranking, dedicating resources to studies that involve surveying, monitoring, managing fauna and phytosociology, restoring flora, and landscape management.

Investments in continuous improvement of management practices are ongoing, and are mainly intended to mitigate impacts and promote the conservation of biodiversity, always considering the scale and intensity of productive activities by associate institutions. This is one way the Brazilian forest industry plays an important role in meeting Aichi Target #7, which attributes sustainable management to forestry and ensures conservation of biodiversity. All in all, the Aichi Targets include 20 proposals that should be implemented by 2020 in order to reduce biodiversity loss on a global scale.

While forest companies make their contributions, nature expresses her thanks in her own way. Notable among the environmental services conservation of floral biodiversity provides are reserves of timber and non-timber products. Fauna species include natural enemies of pests and efficient seed dispersers and pollinators, as well as an extraordinary genetic bank which contains solutions to global challenges related to responsible use of natural resources.

To highlight the significant numbers of companies involved in the planted tree industry, and their commitment to conserving biodiversity, Ibá organized a groundbreaking database which showed not only that many species are found in areas managed by Ibá member companies, but also that the sector makes significant contributions to promoting knowledge management and professional technical training, as established in the Aichi Targets (#19).

The studies concentrated especially on the Atlantic Forest (60%) and Cerrado (36%) biomes, which are considered Brazil’s most threatened, and indicated that 38% of endangered mammal species and 41% of endangered bird species were found in areas pertaining to Brazilian forest companies. Other research included in the database studied the Pampas, Amazon, and Caatinga biomes. Diversity of bird species is an important environmental bioindicator, and provides relevant information for assessments of connectivity, the edge effect, and ecological corridors. There are consequently many reasons to celebrate the fact that over half of the species recorded in Brazil were found within the records of forest companies. The indicators also showed the existence of 161 species of amphibians, 174 reptile species, 241 mammal species, and a rich array of flora spanning more than 1570 species.

The study conducted by Ibá among its member companies found that the sector's contributions to biodiversity are nothing new; this work began in the 1970s and intensified in recent years. To strengthen initiatives by the industry, government policies and mechanisms that combat deforestation must be strengthened, and conservation units must be created so that the country can reach a model of economic development which is guided by an economy with low environmental impact.