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Adriana Maugeri

President of the AMIF - Forestry Industry Association of Minas Gerais


New concepts of production and sustainable development

In recent decades, the forestry agroindustry has advanced significantly in harvesting techniques and mechanization and in the improvement of wood processing for the benefit of the industry. We advanced in chemical optimization and alternatives, adaptation of equipment and machines, efficiency of the process as a whole, conquering prominent positions and world excellence. However, the forest production that gives rise to our industry has not followed this development in the same steps.

Investment focused on volume and quality that accompanied the modern industry suffered fluctuations that were dictated by economic cycles. The concern with the quality of the forest is a constant, but orchestrating a set of actions aimed at, in fact, increasing the quality and supply of wood, which is our main matter, was not actually a sectoral action.

I believe that, in recent years, we have woken up to this reality and started a race against time that, fortunately, is already showing positive results that will be discussed later. Now, in addition to internal management and wood supply factors, if I say that the sustainable development of the territories where we are installed is essential for the quality of forestry production, how many readers will agree? For I propose to present some arguments for careful and necessary reflection:

1. Systemic development: when the territory advances, the social issues that previously led to conflicts and crises that expended resources, focus and increased the business risk, reduce in intensity and quantity. Thriving families and motivated people with recognized work become allies of development; they even create an environment for diversifying the economy and reducing dependence on a single sector.

2. Forest protection: communities neighboring forest production areas seek to find opportunities to also be part of the production chain and benefit from it. Planted forests and conservation areas offer multiple uses that can and should be shared in an organized way with the inhabitants of these territories. When these communities directly or indirectly benefit from the forest, they start to help forest producers in monitoring and combating undesirable incidents, such as fires, invasions, cutting and illegal use, among others. It is necessary to build a close relationship that allows building bridges of convergence and not convincing.

3. Biodiversity conservation: benefited community, engaged and that understands the environmental benefits of the forest, becomes a protector of local biodiversity, valuing the ecosystem services of which it is a part. It is a cultural process, obviously not immediate, but which, when reaching relational maturity, presents expected results.

4. Increase in forest production: when the agroindustry offers entry to the participation of local forestry production in its supply chain, a necessary increase in autonomous wood production or with company co-participation begins to be strengthened. The chance to prosper is proportional to the possibility of contractual security and effective gain for the producer, which must go hand in hand with legal security and benefits to the company.

5. Focus and dedication: with the development of relationships with neighboring communities, which takes time, investment and effort, and with the perceptible socioeconomic development of the territory, it is noticeable the reduction of tension in the local social fabric that, many times, removes the concentration and focus on forest production. This relationship with local communities is an ongoing process with different nuances of efforts and results over time. Just like forestry production, engagement, if well planted, cultivated and managed, reaps very positive results and the process, as we know, does not end with the harvest, but as the cycles progress, it becomes more practical.

The approach to the development of territories where forests cohabit is not something innovative, it is even a requirement of high complexity and materiality of the certifications themselves. What is different is perhaps the way it is perceived now, passing in many cases from an obligation to an advantageous necessity.

Allied to the socioeconomic development of the territory, forest production per se is currently using new concepts that have already emerged as positive markers of time, with expressive results. However, I stress that we cannot lose focus on increasing the area and volume of forestry production.

Is the wood supply growing compatible with the emerging businesses? No less important, but there is a neutral growth when the increased area is born with its use committed to some business.

I'm talking about growth not fully committed, the reconquest of forestry production under the care of small and medium-sized producers, and the large ones that stagnated in the area for some reason that it doesn't make sense to go into here. I provoke the reflection if we are with shining eyes to expand the plantations, seedlings quality, the quality and volume of the forest production, in the same measure that we are flying low to seek new businesses, contracts and uses for our products and by-products.

These will only prosper if we naturally invest in producing wood. I strongly believe that this should be a constant question from constructive industry leadership. Considering that we agree with the urgent and necessary increase in the volume of wood available from planted forests, although it is not my specialty, I would like to share some new concepts that I already see are making a positive difference for those who practice them:

1. Precision and low impact forestry;
2. In times of water scarcity, non-competition with the use of water for human supply, planting with rains;
3. Forest implantation in degraded areas and without conversion of original use, forest restoration; including the materiality of the concept of additionality for the purposes of carbon credits;
4. Integrated landscape management and biomimicry;
5. Sustainable use of biomass for alternative energy generation;
6. Remote sensing for production control, protection and operation efficiency;
7. Biofertilizers and biological pest control;
8. Systemic use of meteorological forecasts and modeling for prevention, mitigation and adaptation to climate risks;
9. Technological innovation (Agtech), Artificial Intelligence, automation, dynamic analysis of multiple data, internet of things;
10. Integration and industry partnership: together we are stronger and we quickly reach where we want to go.

The path is long, full of daily challenges and many surprises, but when the results appear, the obstacles seem small in view of the enormous capacity of the agroindustrial sector of planted forests to be the main result of the green economy in Brazil. We are material in practices of the concept of environmental, social and corporate governance. In the most simplistic view, at least we clean a large part of the air we breathe, and that is for the few.

No challenge was enough to discourage this giant and pulsating agro-industry that resists the strongest global crises and that has increasingly motivating perspectives. We are building a new world, with a raw material that has accompanied all the civilizations that have passed through our planet and that every day surprises us with a new possibility, a new use for a society that calls for clean, renewable, resistant solutions that add value to our existence. Together, united by the convergence of interests, either through the entities we participate in, or in the forums we promote, we are no longer the forestry producers of yesterday.

We cultivate, innovate, communicate, produce and conserve the territories where we are contributing to development. We are, and we are getting better every day, by taking ownership of a new image and new positioning that are emerging.