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Eduardo Ciriello

Director of Futuro Florestal


Overview: potential alternative species for forest production

Alternative species for forest production has always been a challenge for the sector in the search for new options compared to eucalyptus and pine, and in the focus of decades of work carried out by research institutions in the country such as Embrapa,

Forestry Institute of São Paulo, among others. They have several plantations implemented in their experimental units that in the last twenty years have grown with the commercial scale investment carried out by rural producers and forestry companies. They seek to serve the tropical lumber market, which relies almost exclusively on the supply of wood from natural forests.

In this scenario, exotic species such as Teak, which already has a consolidated national and international market, such as African mahogany, which has grown significantly in planted areas, and Australian cedar, which has evolved into new genetic materials, are the main highlights of that period.

As they are exotic species, they receive greater investments, as they do not require additional registration and controls by environmental agencies, and provide greater legal certainty to producers and investors.

Native species face more difficulties due to the existence of greater legal restrictions that demand greater bureaucracy in their commercial production, requiring technical support at all stages for the regularization and exploitation of their crops. Despite these obstacles, they have received investments, but to a lesser extent. In this group, we have Paricá with the great success story, which has already overcome many challenges, and which has an extensive planted area in the North region. It specifically serves the plywood market, due to the characteristics of its wood, and has a consolidated industrial complex, occupying a prominent place in the national and international market.

In the group of native species for the production of wood for sawmills, Guanandi stands out as a widely planted and tested species during this period. Several initiatives that tested the Brazilian mahogany, had difficulties due to the management of the bridge borer. Other species have gained space, such as Jequitibá-rosa, Louro-pardo and Ipê-felpudo, which have joined this team bringing innovations to the cultivation system.

Among the innovations, we can mention the implementation of mixed plantations as an alternative to homogeneous plantations, with the insertion of the concept close to nature which has been widely experimented in several countries, providing proven benefits to commercial forestry.

With the strengthening of the Climate Change mitigation agenda, through the implementation of goals by countries and the private sector as a whole, focused on reducing their impacts and implementing environmental, social and corporate governance policies, the demand has been considerably increased. for Carbon Credits. They have become the major financiers of this new agenda and act as a currency and a tool that direct and give rise to the massive investments announced in global terms.

Therefore, Nature-Based Solutions projects have been the focus of most of these investments. In this concept, native silvicultural projects , preferably alternative exotic species and agroforestry systems, have fully adhered to this agenda and tend to receive a good part of these investments and can finally leverage the development of potential alternative species already mapped, and give a boost extra to the potential native species of our flora so that they become a reality for the sector.

Efforts carried out by the Native Silviculture GT, which operates in the Coalização Brasil Clima, Florestas e Agricultura, with the active participation of the Futuro Florestal team, which complement the initiatives carried out by WRI Brasil, such as the Verena project and the Gaps project, these efforts identified demands and promoted advances. Among them, we can highlight: the identification of legal bottlenecks in the legislation; mapping and analysis of productive systems and existing initiatives with assessment of productive potential and economic viability; identification of potential species; the development of a research program for potential species, among others.

All these initiatives helped to consolidate the importance of investing in potential species for production, whether exotic or native. Today there is availability of quality technical information, much greater than 20 years ago, when we, at Futuro Florestal, started our projects on a commercial scale, using and testing these species. Therefore, it is vitally important to encourage and support investors and producers to believe in this sector.

Today, they can count on companies and professionals that are fully capable of supporting and developing these projects in a more assertive and responsible manner. In fact, they are fundamental in this process, since they are investments that demand intensive medium and long-term capital for maturation and return.

I believe that by 2030 we will have a completely new scenario for the silviculture of alternative species, whether in planted areas or with the entry into the market of wood from these species, which will reach greater volume at the end of this decade. When many African mahogany plantations reach their 20 years, the dream of many producers and investors who bet on these alternatives will come true. There will be superior genetic materials available and, perhaps, a greater range of species entering the market, whether for long-term wood production or as short-cycle species for different industrial uses.

The consolidation of new options for Agroforestry and Silvipastoral Systems is also a solid option for expanding the use of alternative species. Among such species, non-timber products deserve special mention, such as Castanheira and Baru, which have a wide market for their nuts, in addition to enormous timber potential.

They are among the most consolidated species. There are also fruit species from the Atlantic Forest, such as Cambuci, Grumixama, Cereja-do-rio-grande, Araçá-roxo, Uvaia and Bacupari. They have excellent potential for pulp and juice production and are “superfruits” rich in vitamins and antioxidants.

We need to share responsibilities to multiply opportunities and expand access to them. We still need to invest and strengthen the players in the chain as a whole, fighting for representation in national policy discussions for the sector through associations and cooperatives, which have been created in recent years. Among them are Nativas Brasil, the Brazilian Association of Seed Producers and Native Seedlings.

Today, with 50 associates, they work with the mission of strengthening the base of the country's ecological restoration chain and guaranteeing the production of thousands of seedlings needed to meet national climate targets, since seedlings are extremely important for the growth and business success. We will continue fighting for the development and consolidation of new potential species for the sector's growth.