The rescue of flora is a very important measure to minimize and compensate impacts of human endeavors. Several industrial activities of which our society depends on today, involve the removal of native vegetation to be carried out. This is especially true in the case of mining, which has no alternative but to seek ore where it occurs naturally. And, generally, ore occurs in areas of sensitive ecosystems, such as the Atlantic Forest and Altitude Grassland, rich in plant species, many of them rare or endangered.
This is the reality: our society is dependent on iron for the construction of houses, public transport, roads and railways, and even consumer products for our daily lives, such as toothpaste, pet food, pens, etc.. Therefore, we must occupy biologically rich areas.
Flora Rescue is a measure not yet fully disseminated, but that should be used in all cases where the deforestation of native forests is necessary. Vale broke new ground in applying Flora Rescue in all its mining licensed areas and support facilities.
Flora Rescue works as follows: before the operators come to remove vegetation to deploy industry, mining or grazing land, a specialist team led by foresters, agronomists and biologists do a survey of the area to be impacted collecting bromeliads, orchids, seeds and plant seedlings. All this material is taken to Vale’s own nursery, where seedlings are grown and later used to recover areas. It is a better reforestation than the traditional one, because instead of buying seedlings outside, the seedlings used were taken from that same area. Thus, the genetic bank that would be lost to deforestation is partially “rescued”, being used to enrich reforested lands.
In addition to the recovery of flora,storage of soil and litter layer (leaves, twigs and seeds that occur within dense forest) from the areas impacted has also been carried out, and this material is also used in recovery. This way even the microorganisms and biological and chemical characteristics that give the basis for the regeneration of new forest are preserved.
During the rescue, noble trees are also marked, trees with lots of orchids and bromeliads and nests. These trees are the last to be cut, with a particular destination. In the case of trees with occupied nests, not only these trees but also the neighboring trees are preserved, in order to shade and let the young birds have time to be able to fly.
These measures thus prevent the loss of ecological wealth, and greatly speed the process of reforestation. The “new” grown forests, in turn, recoat the areas, protecting the soil and water sources and providing various environmental services to the community, such as maintenance of the local climate, supply of raw materials and water conservation.
Lume has worked in several environmental studies for Vale, and now has also started participating in the implementation of its environmental programs through Flora Rescue, Nursery Cultivation and Replanting in Degraded Areas. There are also other activities of major environmental value, that Vale has carried out, such as the creation of the Biodiversity Center of the Iron Quadrangle (Quadrilátero Ferrífero), a research center for the preservation installed in one of its deactivated mines and the systematic monitoring of the fauna of the region, which will soon generate a significant database of species of protected areas around the mines.