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The importance of commercial forest plantations for the preservation of the Amazon rainforest

Much has been discussed about strategies for preserving the Amazon rainforest. Legal provisions, public policies, projects in partnership with civil society and even international efforts have been added in order to guarantee their conservation.

In spite of the importance of its rich biodiversity, it cannot be denied the existence of a timber market in rapid expansion worldwide, with a growing appreciation of hardwoods. In the short term, no product is expected to replace wood, thus constituting a challenging reality in terms of supplying this market in a sustainable manner.

In this scenario, the option for commercial forests presents itself as a unique solution, capable of meeting installed demand, while promoting minimal environmental impact, through the implementation of appropriate forest management.

Commercial planting carried out with strategic management brings numerous benefits to the region where it is carried out, as well as to the community, with direct effects on the Amazon rainforest. Studies confirm that for each commercial tree planted, about 40 native trees can be spared. The use of the tree originally intended for trade is much higher than the use achieved by mere extraction, which mows down many individuals of low commercial value, but rich in biological importance, while advancing in search of better trees.

Likewise, each hectare of commercial forest produces an average of 250-300 m3 of good quality sawn wood, while the extraction of 1 hectare of native forest results on average in only 4-5 m3 of profitable wood. The profitability obtained with planned plantations is not only extremely superior to extraction, but also provides undeniable environmental and socioeconomic advantages.

Just to illustrate, we can list the positive impact on the water cycle, since the properly preserved Amazon forest contributes to correct evapotranspiration, a cycle that has important effects on humidity and rainfall in the Southeast, Midwest and South regions of the country.

In addition, commercial plantations of forests also have a positive impact on the replenishment of the aquifers where they are installed. It is important to note that the root of the African mahogany tree, as an example, is pivoting, so it facilitates the entry of water in the water tables. A pivoting root tree consumes only 10% of the water that penetrates through its roots. Everything else supplies our groundwater.

It also has the facilitating effect of the recovery of ecosystems, the rehabilitation of degraded areas, the capture of CO2, the main gas responsible for the greenhouse effect, the generation of direct and indirect jobs, in addition to the generation of foreign exchange and taxes to the country can be cited as results linked to commercial forest plantations.

The Amazon rainforest, in all its magnitude, can be kept safe from predatory extraction as long as rational forest management is carried out with responsibility and sustainability by those who understand commercial plantations.

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