VERENA is initiative facilitator in the Coalizão Brasil Clima, Florestas e Agricultura (Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture) to enable a pre-competitive project for development of native tree species silviculture and to promote genetic improvement and a production, management and monitoring system.
In the same manner as it became a champion in the production of eucalyptus and pine, Brazil can become a breeding ground for tropical timber and many other forestry products such as seeds, fruits, oils, latex, fibers, etc. However, it is previously necessary to invest in a Research & Development (R&D) program for native species.
Such an investment is essential to give native species silviculture an adequate scale. In other words, the improvements to be obtained by a robust R&D program will positively impact on productivity and ensure greater predictability of earnings, which, in turn, will reduce the perception of risk and the cost of investment.
The recent history of investment in R&D in the eucalyptus and pine industry in Brazil, reinforces this thesis. Starting in the sixties, with genetic improvement and silviculture techniques, productivity jumped from 12 cubic meters per hectare to 40 cubic meters per hectare for eucalyptus. Similar gains occurred with pine, and the same can certainly happen with the Brazilian species selected.
VERENA works in partnership with the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture to develop the R&D platform. It is composed of an executive board, to manage the initiative, and a scientific committee, whose mission is to define strategies and priorities.
The results expected for the first phase seek to increase the productivity of environmental products and services of the main native species on soils with low agricultural potential, both for Legal Reserve (LR) and for Alternative Use (AU) areas. For this type of soil, the aim is genetic improvement and amelioration of production and management systems. So as not to disperse resources, the group will work with a limited number of species, selected from those with the highest commercial value or with an advanced knowledge base.
Genetic improvement has programs already proven as successful in the planting of species such as eucalyptus and pine available as reference. Production systems, in turn, cover aspects such as silvicultural handling, sanitary control, mixed plantation and spatial distribution of plantations, timber technology, processing and use of timber, fruits, oils and resins. Monitoring refers to the concentration of all knowledge produced on the species chosen.
The development of each of these pillars requires the involvement and efforts of research institutes, governments, universities, companies, NGOs and experts. Medium and long term field and laboratory tests are also decisive for the success of silvicultural, economic and social development of native species at a given location, especially considering the large size of the Brazilian territory and the different biomes and regionalisms.
Native trees of the Atlantic and Amazon Forests are initially focused because of the scope of these two biomes and the adaptability of their species to transition regions, such as the Cerrado. Funding of the platform should come from public investment with a private counterpart, with possible hedging of the Fundo Amazônia (Amazon Fund), due to avoided deforestation. Once a certain degree of progress is attained, each producer will invest in specific improvements, according to business development.