The world’s forests and the wildlife that calls them home are top of mind as climate change and other environmental concerns underscore the need for increasing preservation. Forests are major contributors to the health and wellbeing of our planet and those who inhabit it. They are home to 80 percent of terrestrial biodiversity, collect and filter rainfall to protect water quality, act as natural barriers against soil erosion, and help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Close to 1.6 billion people rely on forests for food security, livelihoods, and energy sources – that’s more than 20 percent of humanity.
The importance of continuing to protect wildlife and forests has never been greater. That’s why Bayer is proud to announce a partnership with Universidade de São Paulo (Esalq/USP), Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), and Suzano (a global reference in the manufacture of bioproducts developed from the cultivation of eucalyptus) to research how native forests can be restored at a faster pace in Brazil, with less expense and more sustainably using Bayer technology.
Bayer’s Environmental Science business is committed to offering innovative solutions that allow our forestry customers to achieve desired yield rates and improve the efficiency of their plantations while reducing our environmental impact. In addition to planted forests, Bayer is working toward the recovery of native areas. “We are focused on native restoration and protection as a business opportunity, not only in Brazil, but also in the United States, Canada, and New Zealand”, says Mathew Nespeca, Global Market Community Manager for Vegetation Management at Environmental Science.
Reforestation in Brazil is a legal obligation for farmers, forestry plantation, and other landowners under the government’s commitment to restore 12 million hectares of forests by 2030. But without the correct management of weeds, the costs of restoration are high and the success decreases due to competition between native trees and weeds.
Leading experts in Brazilian native species are involved in Bayer’s initiative, such as professor Caio Carbonari, Edivaldo Velini, and Iraê Guerrini, from UNESP, and Pedro Brancalion, from Esalq/USP. “Since the control of invasive plants is a big obstacle to restoration, the development of new management strategies represents one of the main frontiers for the advancement of science and technology”, says Brancalion. In this sense, offer new possibilities with fewer costs and interventions are essential to make large-scale restoration viable, especially in tropical areas, highlights Flávia Flórido, the forest engineer responsible for the technical management of the tests in the field.
The project will evaluate the incremental results of utilizing the solutions offered by Bayer versus the conventional model used today – with off label products, with glyphosate, and manual treatment. The main objective is to optimize the overall operation.
Ending competition with invasive plants can bring not only gains in productivity to native forest, but also increase in biodiversity and carbon sequestration from the atmosphere. “There is also a potential for reputational and financial benefits related to the preservation of native areas and generation of carbon credits, all linked to the demands of sustainability and compliance with the Forest Code in Brazil”, says Fabricio Sebok, responsible for Forestry R&D at Environmental Science Latam, who shares the local leadership of this project with Luis Brena and Vinicius Santos, from the Marketing team.
The first trials have begun in an area of 20 hectares in the cities of Itatinga and Paulínia, and in some fields of Esalq/USP, Bayer, and Suzano.
Our planet has a vital need to ensure forests thrive, today and in the future. There is much work to be done, but with a continued focus on increased sustainability in the midst of rapid innovation, we are poised to ensure the health of our forests for generations to come. Through collaborative partnerships, innovative technologies, and sustainable practices, Bayer continues to work with stakeholders across the globe to help both increase yields on forest lands and preserve native forested areas and ecosystems – for all of us who depend on them.