The sustainable forest mosaics concept recognizes the multiple roles tropical forests serve around the world. Tropical forests are critical for the global climate, helping mitigate climate change by absorbing and storing CO2 while generating oxygen. They protect watersheds, prevent erosion and soil degradation, cycle water and nutrients, supply non-timber forest products, and serve as habitat for the majority of the world’s known species. Tropical forest areas are also home to substantial forest plantations, which supply an ever-growing portion of the world’s demand for paper, personal goods, and inexpensive wood products.
Sustainable forest mosaics fit together “puzzle pieces” such as natural reserves and protected areas, plantations, agricultural land, infrastructure, and settlements to create a landscape which meets multiple needs. Looking at all land uses comprehensively helps ensure that demands for food, fiber, fuel, ecosystem services, and biodiversity protection are all met. By carefully planning both productive land use and conservation within the larger landscape, the mosaic strategy helps ensure optimal conservation while permitting productive activities that generate employment and income.
The successful implementation of a sustainable forest mosaics landscape is facilitated by the collaboration of a diverse set of stakeholders, including: government agencies; large landowners; forestry companies and smaller landowners. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and universities also play a critical role in providing technical advice on planning and management, and are often useful in convening other stakeholders.
The Atlantic Forest of Brazil is home to one of the best examples of the sustainable forest mosaics concept. This region, one of the most important for global biodiversity, is also the economic engine of the country. In areas such as the Central Atlantic Forest Corridor (CAFC), pulp and paper companies are among the largest landowners. Here stakeholders have come together to create a sustainable forest mosaics landscape within the Corridor.
In the CAFC, three large pulp and paper companies, Veracel Celulose, Aracruz Celulose, and Suzano Papel e Celulose, have engaged with NGOs such as the Instituto BioAtlântica and CI to engage in conservation work on their properties. More recently, they have joined forces with others such as Kimberly-Clark to achieve even better outcomes.
By working together in the same landscape; sharing information related to land use planning, conservation, and monitoring; and reaching out to smaller outgrowers on these topics, the result is a forest mosaic that is both economically and environmentally sustainable—a far greater result than any individual partner they could have achieved alone.
More information about sustainable forest mosaics is available in English and Portugese.