Promoting large scale restoration and reforestation with native species in Brazil
VERENA (Economic Valuation of the Reforestation with Native Species and Agroforestry Systems) aims to promote, accelerate, and increase the scale of restoration and reforestation on degraded lands through silviculture with native species and integrated systems (agroforestry, silvopastoral, Crop-Livestock-Forest).
These activities will contribute to Brazil’s environmental and climate commitments, such as the NDC target to restore and reforest 12 million hectares (29.6 million acres) of degraded lands and forests by 2030, while helping farmers comply with the Forest Law, reduce GHG emissions from major supply chains and sectors, and reducing deforestation and degradation. It is also a major opportunity to create jobs, generate income, protect biodiversity, increase food and water security, and improve livelihoods in rural areas.
Why native species?
Silviculture with Brazilian native species has the potential to deliver multiple benefits. Among them, the following stand out:
Supply the demand for timber and non-timber products, including food and pharmaceutical products.
Improve the conservation of biodiversity and contribute to reduce deforestation and forest degradation.
Create jobs in rural areas and income for small, medium and large producers.
Produce positive externalities on environmental services, such as improving water quality, water availability and soil quality and conservation.
Remove millions of tons of carbon from the atmosphere, recover soil and water springs.
Increase productivity and resilience of agriculture and cattle ranching.
How does VERENA operate?
To promote, accelerate and increase the scale of silviculture with native species and integrated systems, VERENA has the following priorities.
Generate, systematize, and disseminate knowledge and tools
Building upon research, scientific evidence, and robust business cases, VERENA demonstrates the potential of businesses opportunities for investing in silviculture with native species and integrated systems.
These cases should provide reliable parameters to subside risk analyses and investment decisions. More than 30 cases of VERENA’s partners have already been modeled through VERENA Investment Tool.
VERENA's partners in Brazil. Photo: WRI Brasil
VERENA also supports the development of tools and models to incentivize farmers to restore Legal Reserves (in Portuguese, Reserva Legal) for economic use. Research on arrangements to the Legal Reserve and the Rural Legal app help farmers to adapt to the legislation by creating economic opportunities.
In addition, VERENA also supports studies to increase the interest of farmers and investors on native species, such as the market for timber and non-timber products of native species and R&D.
Research and Development (R&D)
As members of the Brazilian Coalition on Climate Forests and Agriculture, VERENA, partners and experts have been supporting the development of the Research & Development Program in Silviculture of Native Species (PP&D-SEN). The program was launched in April 2021, with the proposal to mobilize public and private resources to support a network of researchers and institutions, filling knowledge gaps in the development of native tree species.
Based on a study about gaps and priorities of R&D with native species, the program will initially research 30 species in the Amazon and Atlantic Forest biomes, although some species occur also in the Cerrado. The program has the goal to reduce costs, increase productivity, and improve the quality of timber and non-timber products to boost silviculture with native species. It does so by i) developing scientific knowledge about the species, ii) improving seedling and seeds selection and the genetic improvement techniques, and iii) developing management and practices for native species, timber technology, and other.
The launching webinar included the announcement of two other initiatives within the scope of the R&D program: a postgraduate course on silviculture of native species offered in partnership by the Federal Universities of São Carlos (UFSCar) and South of Bahia (UFSB), and an unpublished book on the subject, coordinated by professors Fátima Piña-Rodrigues and José Mauro Santana da Silva, from UFSCar.
Regulatory Framework and Public Policies
Also through the Brazilian Coalition on Climate Forests and Agriculture and its partners, VERENA has been working with governments to provide support and technical assistance to remove barriers and incentivize farmers to plant native species for economic use and make silviculture profitable and attractive to farmers, investors and financial institutions.
Much of the regulation related to silviculture with native species was designed to prevent illegal extraction from natural forests. Implementation of silviculture with native species on degraded lands, however, is a completely different practice and business – it generates several environmental and social benefits, in addition to the economic return.
Investments and financing mobilization
Increasing the capital to finance silviculture with native species and integrated systems – and thus increasing the scale of these activities – depends on some enabling conditions, such as lower the perception of risk faced by investors, investment analysts and farmers; encourage the development of innovative financial mechanisms; and connect good projects with potential investors.
VERENA has contributed to this context by promoting investors roundtables with Initiative 20x20 investors, workshops to engage investors and funders, training of financial agents and mobilization of funding to implement and expand viable projects. In addition, VERENA support and work with partners to generate and structure business models to leverage their restoration goals. VERENA’s tools, expertise, and connections with a range of partners and initiatives help farmers and investors scale forest and landscape restoration.
Markets of native species forests products
Understanding the demand, supply and use of timber and non-timber products of native species is essential to understand the market, risks, fand social and environmental impacts associated with native species.
the use and analysis of spatial data at the landscape level is crucial to identify priority areas with the greatest potential for implementing successful projects with silviculture with native species , while also enhancing the socioenvironmental benefits from those investments.
Spatial analysis and tools allow to generate scenarios for investments based on the needs in terms of products and services and expected impact. It is possible to estimate for example, the impact of the investment on sediment reduction, soil health, carbon removal, and impact on biodiversity conservation.