Twenty years of biodiversity protection by Veracel in Brazil

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Published 22 May 2019
Veracel, consisting of a pulp mill and eucalyptus tree plantations, Stora Enso’s joint operation in the Bahía state of Eastern Brazil, has been replanting rainforest since 1994. The Veracel Station centre (Estação Veracel), established in the middle of an area of preserved rainforest habitat, conducts research and conserves native and endangered ecosystems while raising environmental awareness. In 2018 Veracel Station celebrated twenty years of operation. Discover the different ways in which Veracel has been able to protect and restore biological diversity in the area.
Restoring and protecting rainforest
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Brazil's Atlantic rainforest is one of world's most diverse ecosystems with high number of endemic species. Veracel’s rainforest conservation actions are crucial for protection of the entire ecosystem and its numerous species. Approximately half of Veracel’s 213 500 hectares of land are dedicated to rainforest conservation and restoration.
veracel ecological corridors
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So far 7 217 hectares have been restored since 1994, connecting together thousands of hectares of Atlantic rainforest fragments with ecological corridors. These corridors help maintain biodiversity by allowing animals and plants to spread and move more freely between the rainforest fragments. The other half of the land consists of former degraded pasturelands, now used for growing eucalyptus trees for the pulp mill.
veracel eagle1 1200x760
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In March 2019, a bird watcher photographed a crested eagle, (Morphnus guianensis), a very rare and threatened species, in the Private Natural Heritage Reserve (RPPN) Veracel Station. Many bird species are among the first to vanish from degraded areas, so this makes them an important indicator of local biodiversity in the conservation area.
veracel eagle 1200x760
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The crested eagle can be 81 to 91 centimetres long and is typically found in the Amazon. It depends on preserved forests to survive. The bird is severely threatened in several states in Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest and is considered critically endangered (CE) in São Paulo and Santa Catarina, and regionally extinct (RE) in Rio de Janeiro, Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul. The observation in March 2019 was only the fifth in the State of Bahia in last 200 years.
Monitoring wildlife
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Veracel Station also monitors wildlife with camera traps. The goal is to observe and record wild animals but with minimal human interference. The cameras have motion and temperature sensors that are activated by the presence of animals.
veracel jaguar 1200x760
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In May 2017 Veracel Station’s environmental analysts witnessed further proof that their efforts are being rewarded: a jaguar was caught on camera. The jaguar is a threatened species in Brazil, and in the Atlantic Rainforest region there may only be as few as 200 individuals left. Until the lucky sighting, there had been no evidence of jaguars in this region since an unconfirmed sighting 20 years ago. The jaguar was observed for a second time in November 2017.
 Educating visitors about the importance of rainforest protection
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Veracel Station organises educational activities about the importance of rainforest protection and endangered animals aiming to raise environmental awareness among visitors.
Monitoring and research
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Brazil's Atlantic rainforest is considered to be one of world's richest habitats in terms of biodiversity. The Veracel Station not only plays an important role by protecting endangered species, it also and has a skilled team that monitors evidences and traces of poaching on a daily basis.
veracel birds 1200x760
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Many bird species living in the region are threatened with extinction, including some endemic species not found anywhere else in the world. The White-winged Cotinga (Xipholena atropurpurea) is endemic to Brazil. For several years, Veracel Station has developed ecotourism that includes a special focus on birdwatching projects. In 2018, almost 600 birdwatchers visited the Station.
veracel station bird, green-backed trogon
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In spring 2019, Veracel Station established a new bird observatory project. The aim is to share scientific knowledge, education and environmental awareness through long-term monitoring and community engagement.
Restoring and protecting rainforestveracel ecological corridorsveracel eagle1 1200x760veracel eagle 1200x760Monitoring wildlifeveracel jaguar 1200x760 Educating visitors about the importance of rainforest protectionMonitoring and researchveracel birds 1200x760veracel station bird, green-backed trogon

Part of the bioeconomy, Stora Enso is a leading global provider of renewable solutions in packaging, biomaterials, wooden construction and paper. We employ some 23 000 people and have sales in more than 50 countries and our shares are listed on the Helsinki (STEAV, STERV) and Stockholm (STE A, STE R) stock exchanges.

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