In Brazil, FCA works for the preservation and recovery of the Atlantic Forest, as our life needs living nature
January 17, 2020 - Unique to Latin America, the Atlantic Forest is one of the richest in biodiversity on the planet, but also the most devastated biome in Brazil. In the remaining 12.4% of the original forest area, there are still about 20,000 plant species and 1.6 million animal species. Concerned with the preservation of resources for future generations, FCA invests in preservation and recovery programs for this biome at the Campo Largo Engine Factory, in Paraná, and at the Jeep Automotive Plant, in Goiana, Pernambuco. In both production plants these activities exist since 2014 and involve environmental education actions with schools.
In Paraná, FCA is dedicated to protecting the remaining area of the Araucaria Forest. Aline Bonato, an environmental analyst at the Campo Largo Engine Factory, says that the fact that less than 1% of the native flora remains was the initial reason for the unit to start a study of the fauna and flora of its green area, which identified five springs, more than 50 plant species (such as araucaria and cedrela fissilis), 82 birds (such as woodpecker, burrowing owl and green billed toucan) and six mammals (among them the brown brocket, which are endangered) and pointed to plant enrichment as a way to increase biodiversity. There were plenty of reasons for FCA to conserve 106 hectares of natural area on its 125-hectare plot.
In addition to taking care of the forest, the Natural Area Conservation and Environmental Education Program sought to understand the community surrounding the factory. A questionnaire applied to public schools identified that approximately 30% of children in the 3rd grade had never been to a forest. “How can they understand this problem well if they have never been to a forest?” Asks Aline. The analyst says that it was then that they decided to introduce the Araucaria Forest to the children and thus awaken the much needed sense of protection.
In Pernambuco, the Jeep Automotive Plant is a car and seedling factory. Danúbia Lima, responsible for the Jeep Biodiversity Program, explains that when the factory began work in a region dominated by sugar cane plantation, the Environment team was challenged to develop a landscape project exclusively with native species. The mapping out of such species was carried out in partnership with the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE) and the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco (UFRPE). Only in Goiana, the city where the factory is located, 189 species of flora were classified. With regard to fauna, in the study done of Zona da Mata Norte, 36 species of fish, 67 of reptiles and amphibians, 290 of birds and 53 of mammals were identified, totaling 446 species, 35 of them endangered.
But what should have been just a garden has also become a seedling nursery, with an area of one hectare and with the capacity to produce 88,000 seedlings per year. It started operating even before the factory started running and is considered the largest seedling nursery of the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast. To date, more than 100,000 seedlings have been planted of 295 different species, 27 of them endangered and all produced in the nursery. The goal is to plant 208,000 seedlings by 2024, with the creation of 304 hectares of green area and ecological corridors capable of connecting forest patches in the region.
These nursery seedlings are also distributed to the community and schools - especially fruit trees and medicinal plants. In addition, the unit receives weekly visits from 5th graders in the morning and another group in the afternoon. Last year 807 students made the visit. FCA operators guide students through the factory and the Environment team takes them through the nursery. “They learn how a car is born and how a seedling is born,” says Danubia. The analyst says that, in a very playful way, the topics of water, waste, energy and biodiversity are presented. This project unfolds into environmental projects within the schools and the staff is often invited to attend student presentations.
At the Campo Largo Motor Factory, the work done within the schools reveals the relationship established by children and the Araucaria Forest. At the beginning and at the end of the visit they are invited to draw the forest. According to Aline, “Although some children do represent Araucaria, most first drawings show animals that are not part of this type of biome with animals such as giraffes and elephants. But after the visit the children draw the native animals.”