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The BJF is ready for the future! Thanks to Aliança da Terra

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The BJF have just signed an incredibly important partnership with Aliança da Terra, a great organization that aims to help Brazilian farmers transition to better agricultural practices.  Formed in 2004, the organization endeavors to connect key players within the agribusiness industry in order to ‘produce right’ farmers, so that  they can promote environmental awareness and sustainable land management in Brazil’s Amazon and Cerrado regions.

The organization has an established network of farmers along the Araguaia corridor with over 2,200 hectares of degraded land already mapped out and ready for BJF to help restore. In total, they have detailed mapping of over 170,000 hectares along the corridor, which registers parts of land that have been degraded and so where needs to be ecologically restored. By having this information available, BJF have saved months of work and investment in identifying critical areas of the corridor. This is truly great news for our mission as it allows us to save immense amounts of time on our development phase and jump straight into our ultimate task – reforesting the Araguaia!

Click here to find out more about Aliança da Terra.

BJF in support of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

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“Biological diversity is about more than plants, animals and their ecosystems – it is about people and our need for food security, medicines, fresh air, water, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment in which to live.”- UN Convention on Biodiversity.

From the plankton in our seas to the jaguars skulking through our forests, biodiversity is the varied and distinct totality of all life forms on earth. For any ecosystem to remain healthy and alive, it must maintain biodiversity. This is because different species perform different tasks within an ecosystem, and it is the culmination of all these tasks that keep the ecosystem functioning and alive. Just like how a multinational business wouldn’t be able to run without a combination of CEO’s, managers and interns – an ecosystem can’t survive without a synergetic mix of predators and prey, herbivores and omnivores, flora and fauna.

Healthy ecosystems provide us with critical services and natural products necessary for international human survival.  For instance rainforests provide us with clean water, oxygen, food and medicine. The Amazon and Cerrado Savannah alone, which our corridor aims to restore, produce 20% of the world’s oxygen, 30% of the world’s clean water and 25% of the ingredients for all modern medicine.

These critical services and products are necessary for our global development and contribute towards the UN’s seventeen sustainable development goals (see below). These goals were set by the United Nations general assembly in 2015 and are the seventeen key initiatives that need to be maintained if we are to transform our world and begin to develop sustainably, ensuring our survival as a species. Examples of these goals are: eradicating poverty, abolishing food insecurity, maintaining clean water and sanitation for everybody living worldwide. Find out more about the sustainable development goals and how the BJF mission will promote each of them here.

Subsequently, biodiversity is a source of significant public benefit because it directly allows us to achieve these goals. We are currently living through a UN declared ‘decade of biodiversity’. This began in 2011 after the United Nations recognized how crucial biodiversity is for the livelihood of the human species and future generations.

How does the BJF project promote biodiversity? We have invested a huge portion of our time and resources into ensuring that we have the best technical partners, forest engineers and team in Brazil to realize biodiversity in the corridor. Our goal is not just to reforest but also to ecologically restore the Araguaia. With each hectare of land, we aim to methodically map out the area and plant an extensive mix of seeds, bringing back the rich and varied expanse of nature that once reigned.

 

 

Do you want to help us achieve our goal? Then get involved and discover the art of making a difference.

On the 10th of December: planting season begins

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Thanks to the work of our team in Brazil and due to a number of visits from our technical partners at Bioflora, the final preparations are being made for us to begin planting this season!  From the 10th of December onwards we intend to plant 10,000 seedlings along the corridor. This will be the start of our work towards achieving our annual goal: having the first million trees planted before the end of 2019!

Many of these seedlings are currently sprouted and measure between 20 – 60cm. More are being prepared this week and shall be planted at Santa Fé farm, a major partner. These seedlings will grow into tall, pioneering trees that will provide a canopy for us to later plant more diverse species of native trees underneath. This is very exciting for the BJF as we enter into the next phase of our mission and begin to see the fruits of our labor emerge. Years of hard work have finally begun to culminate in the restoration of the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor!

How maintaining native forests on private land has become valuable in Brazil

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Dr. Fernando Bedaque writes for the BJF about the increasing economic and socio-economic value of maintaining forests with native vegetation on private lands. For landowners, this means that preserving a proportion of native trees on their land can really help their economic and socio-economic agenda.

Historically, conserving areas of forestry on Brazilian land was economically unfavourable. This is because areas of native forest could instead be used for industrial and agricultural activities such as mining and transportation, breeding cattle, becoming an urban settlement or other forms of human development. Therefore, in the past there would be no economic incentive for landowners to preserve some of their properties for nature or invest in forestry and biodiversity.

However, since the new forest code came into play in 2012 and conservation initiatives have increased, maintaining native forests on private Brazilian land has become more profitable. The new Forest Code establishes general rules on protection and control of flora and fauna, since it has been recognized that so many important native species are going extinct. One of the ways it maintains these rules is by providing important economic incentives to landowners- increasing the value of native forests.

There are a number of different types of financial mechanisms and economic incentive, provided in the advent of the new Forest Code, for landowners who voluntarily preserve native flora  on their land:

CRA

CRA is the term used to describe Environmental Reserve Quotas (Cota de Reserva Ambiental). When a landowner in Brazil is unable to meet the law that at least 20% of his land must be left to nature, he can alternatively meet this legal requirement by investing in quotas. This means that a landowner with vegetation deficit can acquire CRAs representative of native forest areas free of legal protection (legal 20% surplus) in other rural areas to meet the lawful requirement. It is therefore expected that the use of Environmental Reserve Quotas will lead to a considerable increase in the demand for forest areas and, consequently, to the valorisation of native forest areas. Those most interested in investing in CRAs will be landowners who need to compensate for environmental damage, or their legal reserve deficits, with forested areas off their property.

RPPN’s

RPPN’s are Private Reserves of Natural Patrimony (Reserva Particular do Patrimônio Natural) – privately owned areas of land that are fully preserved and used for sustainable activities such as ecotourism or scientific research. Such activities must remain compatible with the goals of maintaining biodiversity, and an area will only be attributed RPPN status if it maintains environmental attributes such as native vegetation from the region’s biome.

Having a RPPN is economically favourable for a landowner because it qualifies you for benefits such as tax exemption, equity security guarantees, easy access to credit in official banks and priority in environmental promotion government programs. Programs that give these kind of incentives to landowners for developing RPPN’s have already proved successful, for instance the “State Support Program for the Paulista RPPNs“, set up by the Secretariat of the Environment in the state of São Paulo has gained a lot of attention and support.

There are also many socio-economic benefits for maintaining such areas. For instance these areas of land protect species and their habitats, relevant ecosystems and the conserve scenic areas of nature. The types of sustainable activities that can still be performed on RPPN’s can involve local communities and people, fostering local development through conservation of the environment.

In addition, the RPPN’s allow the development of scientific research and visitation activities, with ecotourism, recreational and educational objectives. This can contribute to the financial growth of an area and its owner through environmentally and socially sustainable activities.

Payment for Environmental Services (PES)

Public programs that allocate funds to owners of areas with environmental relevance are also worthy of note. A good example of this is the “PSA Hídrico” initiative, developed by the Government of Paraná and the city of Piraquara. Landowners in control of areas that cover the Piraquara reservoir basin are paid for protecting the basin and their land. This is because the basin supplies water to the city Curitiba- making it an area of important socio economic relevance.

CDM projects and Carbon Credits

The increasing global concern about climate change has lead to a rapidly expanding global market for greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon credits and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. It is expected that in the near future the compensation mechanisms for avoiding deforestation (REDD), could also become an important source of income for owners of forested areas. This is because people will invest more in forested areas as important climate sinks.

Creation of Ecological Corridors

Finally, A major benefit from the increase of forests on private property can be the formation of ecological corridors, technically known as forest clusters systems that connect and integrate important areas of initially isolated forests, allowing the free movement of animals, seed dispersal and increased plant cover. Thus, ecological corridors reduce the effects of ecosystem fragmentation by promoting forest linkage between different areas, allowing gene flow between species of fauna and flora. This transit induces the recolonization of degraded areas, in a movement that at once reconciles the conservation of biodiversity and the social and environmental development of the regions of influence.

BJF’s work in Brazil aims to support the ecological restoration and forest preservation of existing sites within the well-known Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor. This corridor is 2,600 km in length, linking the Emas National Park in Goiás to the mouth of Tocantins River, in Belém do Pará.

Therefore, making use of the rules and incentives provided by the Brazilian Forest Code, BJF promotes and supports reforestation and conservation actions in areas of the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor, which covers 10.4 million hectares and forms the longest corridor the world.

Consequently, native forests are becoming increasingly more valuable assets. This is due to a growing need for forest preservation in order to maintain a good quality of life in Brazil and in the rest of the world. The owners of private land in Brazil can therefore become the drivers of discussions about restoration and conservation, given the undeniable economic and socio-economic value of maintaining native forests.

Dr. Fernando is an environmental lawyer at Dinamarco, Rossi, Beraldo & Bedaque Advocacia and BJF Team Member as lead specialist in Brazilian environmental law.

In response to the recent presidential election in Brazil

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As you may be aware, the recent Brazilian presidential elections has led some to question whether current political change will have an affect on our mission. Whereas we cannot be sure about all consequences, one thing is for certain: BJF’s masterplan remains intact and progress is still being made at full throttle.

There is no indication that the forest code in Brazil will be changed, which states that a percentage of every property along the Araguaia corridor must either be preserved or restored with native species. Moreover, the essence of our action still lies in the partnerships we are building with landowners along the Corridor. We engage with those who are convinced of the ecological value and the economic benefit of cooperating with our team to help recover degraded forests.

Be assured, we are following the developments closely that relate to our goal of realizing the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor and will keep you informed.

You made BJF’s first Celebration Event… a great success

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The 12th of September was a very special day for the BJF team as we celebrated our first milestones together with over 100 of our close friends and sponsor partners. We would like to especially thank our honorary ambassador HRH Princess Basma Bint Ali for her inspiring closing speech, and Scelta Mushrooms for being the best possible hosts! The positive energy we received from our guests has energized us to keep on fighting for our mighty mission. Now we are all set to work hard to achieve our next milestones. With your continuous support we can make it happen!

Ivan Nisida, Francisco Macedo and board members Caspar Burn and Guilherme Fleury of our team based in Brazil traveled to the Netherlands for the event.  Several rousing speeches were given and all the Milestones of the past years were shared with the audience. First Scelta’s CEO Jan Klerken, then several of our own team and then one of the Brazilian landowners – Guilherme Tiezzi- stood up to speak and present. Tiezzi is the man who enabled us to build on of our first pilot nurseries. It was encouraging to hear about how (transition) landowners in Brazil are dedicated to working with us to make a change.

After a short break our honorary speaker HRH Princess Basma Bint Ali of Jordan gave an inspiring speech about the importance of preserving our planet and becoming more sustainable for future generations. Listening to this incredibly accomplished woman talk with such passion about the importance of projects like the BJF was extremely heartwarming for all who attended the event.  

We would like to say a huge huge thank you to everyone who attended and celebrated with us, it was truly special to see such an amazing network of conscientious people supporting our mission. Please enjoy looking through our collection of photos from the event, in case you missed out. Until next year, when we will be celebrating our next milestones in Amsterdam!

Our fieldwork with Bioflora scientists is on track!

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The last two months have been extremely important for the BJF pilot project as Bioflora’s specialists have paid two visits to the farms that have partnered with us: Guaíra, Santa Juliana and Santa Fé.

Director and Forest Restoration Specialist, Dr. André Nave, was there in June to carry out  field visits on site alongside our Forest Engineer- Carlos Eduardo. It was a great opportunity for all parties involved in the process (nursery carers, seed collectors, farm managers) to understand their role better and to plan the actions for the planting activities in the end of the year (intensification of seed collecting and field activities to receive the seedlings). You can learn more about Dr André Nave and watch his video testimonial here.

In August, Mr Guilherme Faganello’s, Bioflora’s Nursery Manager, also visited. His knowledge and input was invaluable for us to fine-tune our nursery activities with landowners and their teams and to understand which tasks in the project should be prioritized.

With both nurseries finalized, all of our focus today is on reaching the goals determined for BJF’s pilot project:  to plant the first batch of seedlings by the end of 2018 and ignite large-scale restoration projects in 2019 in Caseara and Santana do Araguaia. It’s only the beginning, but the small steps we are currently making will be essential as the base for further expansion in the coming future!

BJF lectures at FGV Law School in São Paulo

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In August our team in Brazil had the honor to deliver a lecture to students partaking in the Environmental Law and Policy course taught by professor Heidi M. Hurd (Illinois University) at FGV Law School (Faculdade Getúlio Vargas) in São Paulo. Apart from being a professor, Prof. M. Hurd is also one of the Board Directors at the prestigious Land Conservation Foundation in Illinois, United States. You can find out more about the foundation here.

Prof. M. Hurd was hired by FGV to deliver a short-term course at São Paulo University to their undergraduate students as part of their Global Law module from August the 6th to the 10th. Our very own Francisco Macedo (Partnerships Coordinator) joined the course himself as an audit student.

Francisco introduced the BJF to Prof. M Hurd, who was very interested and inspired by the project and offered the BJF the opportunity to deliver a lecture in the last class of her course.

The lecture was delivered on August the 10th by Francisco Macedo and Ivan Nisida (Project Coordinator) and focused on the success case of Black Jaguar Foundation in using Brazilian laws and policies as one of the core instruments in our nature conservation strategy.

BJF’s Francisco Macedo and Prof. M. Hurd are still in touch and shall soon bring great news… we will keep you posted!

Scelta paves the way for BJF sponsors to go CO2 neutral

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A moment of recognition is in order for Scelta Mushrooms and the myriad of ways they have dedicated themselves to becoming a more sustainable business through our joint partnership. Other than being our long time friend and sponsor partner, Scelta has recently started to analyse the CO2 output of all their factories, with the goal of becoming a carbon neutral business through carbon offsetting.

Carbon offsetting is when a company or individual calculates how much carbon is produced through their operations or lifestyle choices, and then ‘offsets’ this carbon by investing in a mission like ours that reduces the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Scelta Mushrooms intends to further support the BJF to enable us to plant native trees in large numbers in the Araguaia Corridor. With the ultimately long term goal that all of their carbon output will be cancelled out by the amount of CO2 our trees absorb!

Would you also be interested in reducing your carbon footprint by financially supporting our mission? Don’t hesitate to get in contact with us by email at: partners@black-jaguar.org.

New strategic partnership: Climate Smart Group

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We are proud to announce our recently signed partnership with the Canadian based Climate Smart Group (CSG). The Brazilian branch of CSG helps farmers optimize their land, producing more and implementing best practices that lower GHG emissions. This results in higher economic returns for the farmer as well as avoiding the need to deforest to meet the growing demand for food. Both CSG and BJF have developed a ‘Farmers’ Kit’ to support farmers to transition to climate smart agriculture. BJF’s role will focus on regeneration of degraded areas and connecting pristine forests. Creating a Win-Win-Win situation for farmers and conservationists alike!

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