Veracel encourages multiple land uses to help local residents improve their livelihoods. In an effort to support honey production, local beekeepers have been able to keep their hives on the company’s land since 2012.
“In addition to helping honey-producers establish cooperative associations, we provide extensive training and practical beehive kits for beekeepers,” explains Veracel’s Social Responsibility Specialist Izabel Bianchi. “Then we enable the beekeepers to set up their hives so that their worker bees can harvest nectar in about 60 000 hectares of our eucalyptus plantations.”
So far about 4 470 beehives with about 60 000 bees living in each hive have been set up around Veracel’s plantations, where the buzzing of busy bees is today part of the forest scene. The thriving bee populations also help conserve local biodiversity around the eucalyptus plantations at a time when bee populations worldwide are in serious decline.
Beehives on Veracel's lands in Bahia, Brazil.
This honey-making and money-making scheme typifies the efforts made by Stora Enso in Brazil and other countries to find ways to harmonise multiple land uses to the benefit of many stakeholders. In Southern Bahia, Veracel is a large land owner, so the company’s land use practices are closely watched by local stakeholders, including landless people’s social movements.
“To ensure our long-term license to operate we must demonstrate our social responsibility through enhanced agroforestry models and other actions that benefit local communities,” says Bianchi. “Enabling such multiple uses of the company’s plantations provides welcome opportunities for income generation for our neighbours, and this in turn improves local attitudes towards the company.”
A similar beekeeping project is in its early stages at Montes del Plata, Stora Enso’s joint operation in Uruguay. Other examples of our community engagement work where multiple land uses are encouraged include cattle grazing in Brazil and in Uruguay, and the production of rice and agroforestry cash crops in plantations in Laos.