April 2024

The industry’s first nature-based reforestation programme

Deforestation is clearing our planet’s forests, causing irreversible damage to local biomes and driving carbon levels in our atmosphere. Reforestation seems like a simple solution – but is it? Does it work? And what’s the best approach to reforestation locally and globally?

As part of our contribution to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to combat biodiversity loss and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, we are partnering with local conservation organisations in Brazil to launch the Araucaria Conservation Programme, the industry’s first nature-based initiative focused on providing benefits for both local communities and flora and fauna in the region.

What is reforestation and why is it important?

The UN declared forest conservation critical for improving livelihoods, restoring the habitat of millions of species, and helping reverse the effects of climate change. However, simply intervening in forest management or prohibiting tree cutting can negatively impact local communities whose income depends on land for planting crops, grazing livestock, or providing wood and paper products.

Reforestation seems like a simple solution – and it’s often seen as synonymous with ‘planting trees’. But simply planting more trees will often fail to return the ecosystem to its natural state – soil quality may not naturally restore, and native flora and fauna may not naturally return.

“If done correctly, the planting of native forests can actually have a huge impact on various aspects of nature – besides the obvious ones,” explains Julian Fox, Director of Nature Programs at Tetra Pak. “It can generate employment and income in rural areas, recover soil and regulate water, provide products such as fruits, oils, essences, nuts and others and, ultimately, reduce the pressure of deforestation and extraction of native forests destined for conservation and preservation.”

Why the Forest of Araucaria?

The Atlantic rainforest used to cover 17 Brazilian states, but today, only 12.5 per cent of its original area is preserved, putting thousands of rare species at risk. As one of the richest biomes, it’s also the second most endangered in the world. The Forest of Araucaria, an important ecosystem within the Atlantic rainforest, is under even greater pressure – today, only 3% of its original area is still standing.

“We wanted to work with an area at particular risk,” says Julian. “After three years of global analysis, we determined that the Forest of Araucarias had potential for greatest impact in terms of speed of carbon storage and effectiveness of biodiversity restoration.”

To create the best possible outcomes, we’ve partnered with a range of local conservation experts: Apremavi, a civil society organisation working on conservation and restoration projects; Conservation International and the Nature Conservancy Brazil, internationally recognised non-governmental organisations; and Klabin, a leader in paper production for packaging in Brazil and supplier for Tetra Pak.

What benefits will the reforestation programme bring?

In its initial phase, the initiative focused on a restoring a pilot area of 80 hectares, bringing economic, environmental and social benefits to the region, in the medium and long term.

"Among the proposed methodologies are the planting of native seedlings, the ecological enrichment of secondary forests and natural regeneration,” explains Miriam Prochnow, Counsellor and Co-Founder of Apremavi.

In the long run, the restored areas will be integrated into ecological corridors, contributing to reducing pressure on endangered animals such as the maned wolf and the wild deer. In addition to improved biodiversity, the restoration helps enhance the quality of soil and increases water availability in the region.

Local expertise makes a difference

Together with Apremavi we developed an environmental restoration model of the Atlantic Forest, which includes the forest restoration of degraded rural properties using native species, tied to carbon capture to mitigate climate change. And the seedlings used in the restoration project are all produced in the Apremavi nursery, which has more than 200 native species of the Atlantic Forest.

“We’ve been working with forest restoration since 1987 and have planted more than 8.5 million trees,” says Miriam.

“We’re proud we could bring our knowledge of the local nature and the reforestation process to this important project,” says says Miriam Prochnow, Counsellor and Co-Founder of Apremavi. 

An outlook: Certification for greater transparency and collective action 

After the initial phase has been validated, the nature-based model will be replicated on other rural properties by 2030 with the goal of restoring 7,000 hectares of the Atlantic Forest.

“We are thrilled to be a partner of such a pioneering project, connecting a range of stakeholders and merging environmental restoration with carbon capture, to help mitigate climate change and recover biodiversity,” adds Julian.

”Our goal is to restore at least 7,000 hectares – equivalent to 9,800 football pitches – of the Atlantic Forest in Brazil by 2030.”

Tetra Pak will also certify a much broader territory under international voluntary carbon and biodiversity standards. The aim is for this territory to reach up to 13.7 million hectares – an area the size of England – and encourage other organisations to join the initiative.

Podcast: Ecosystem restoration

with Julian Fox, Director Nature Programs, Sustainability & Communications


Learn more in this podcast where Julian Fox shares all the details of the pioneering initiative, designed to help restore biodiversity, to support and protect local communities, and to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Podcast: Ecosystem restoration

with Julian Fox, Director Nature Programs, Sustainability & Communications


Learn more in this podcast where Julian Fox shares all the details of the pioneering initiative, designed to help restore biodiversity, to support and protect local communities, and to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Did you know?

Not counting insects, the Atlantic Forest is home to more than 2,000 species of animals and 20,000 plant species, which corresponds to 35% of all varieties in Brazil – several of which are threatened with extinction. The list includes the araucaria, the region’s local tree species, as well as the cinnamon-sassafras, the xaxim-howler, the imbuia and animals such as the purple-breasted parrot, the charon parrot, the peasant deer and several others. In the long run, the restored areas will serve as both a habitat and food source for wildlife and will be integrated into ecological corridors.

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