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Germano Aguiar Vieira

Forest Director at Eldorado Brasil Celulose


Modernization of the Brazilian forest system

As we know, the Brazilian Forest System has stood out over the last few years as one of the most successful in the world, as well as all agribusiness in Brazil. We have a natural ability to be competitive with climate and soils sufficient to place us at the top of the forest classification, and our progress was paved not only by a lot of technical and scientific effort, but also by entrepreneurs who believed in the sector.

It is also true to say that all this has happened in the last 120 years, more significantly in the last 50. It is, therefore, a very short period to say that we have had enough experiences, that we are already mature and there is nothing more to to do. In my opinion, we are living through a period of strong changes in the scientific, cultural, social, technological and climatic aspects, which should guide the sector for the coming years. In the scientific aspect, we have increased our knowledge of the eucalyptus and pine culture through the experience and experimentation of forest-based companies; there are more than 10 million hectares planted in various regions of the country.

We have internalized a culture of sustainability in the sector, with a strong environmental and social bias, non-tolerance of any type of racism and segregation, and we have implemented governance in our companies that guarantees the use of good administrative and managerial practices. In the social field, we created indicators to show the effects of our organization in the communities where we operate, we improve our jobs, increase safety at work, and create an increasingly friendly work environment.

We hitchhiked in the pool of global technological development in recent years and we started to use a lot of solutions in the areas of image interpretation, telemetry, algorithms for different decisions, measurement equipment, internet of things and field connectivity. We were scared, but we learned a lot from the climatic anomalies experienced in recent years, which caused a significant reduction in the productivity of the planted forest, an increase in fires and forest pests, putting our protocols for improvement and forest management into question. But what can be understood as modernization of the planted forest sector?

The modernization of an agribusiness productive sector has several aspects, but in this approach, we will only talk about the technical aspects, leaving strategic, cultural and institutional themes for another opportunity. The first step in carrying out a good forestry project is the detailed knowledge of the environment where we want to plant a forest, that is, the soil and the climate. In this case, the state of the art presents us with specific solutions for physical and chemical analysis of soils, through sampling equipment and also the use of images that show the use of this soil at different times.

Efficient meteorological stations will be necessary to support us with our management, in addition to a good analysis of the climatic history of the region, which can give us important information to establish the best management and the appropriate genetic material for each location. The use of drones and VANTs also allows us to accurately map our planting lines, demarcate firebreaks, conservation areas and legal reserves. With the help of RTK technology and autopilot, we guarantee the best use of the soil, respecting all legal frameworks and a better flow of wood removal in the future. With the help of specific programs, we can define the ideal nutrition for each possible forest productivity, combining the type of fertilizer and the biological utilization coefficient of each clone.

Several planter projects and mechanized irrigators are already in operation at the companies, and many others are being tested, to improve the planting activity, improving the work of the team and also increasing the productivity of the resources used. Forest measurements have received important allies, such as analysis methodologies by neural networks, images and LiDAR technology (Light Detection and Ranging).

Harvesting the forest accounts for an important cost of this activity, but there is no lack of high-tech machines to carry out this task effectively and that has been improved every year by its manufacturers. No less relevant, the transport of wood has been supported with increasingly adequate vehicles, logistics management programs and improvement of the infrastructure of roads and access to the farms.

Inventory inventories and wood measurements also received valuable equipment and program assistance to ensure required accuracy. Field connectivity combined with sophisticated telemetry sensors anticipate maintenance decisions, increasing mechanical availability and asset life. All this boils down to a much more efficient silviculture than we had a few years ago, but we are still losing a lot with the climatic anomalies of recent years, and the new frontier of excellence must bring more technology to a greater knowledge of forest genetics, climate, soil, plant and the interaction between them. In the featured illustration, we can see the state of the art of modernizing forestry activities in Brazil.