Green light for the development and research plan of the Private Reserve of Natural Heritage with high biodiversity value


The 16th Meeting of the PEUGEOT-ONF Carbon Sink Scientific and Technical Committee was held in Sinop (Mato Grosso, Brazil) from 14 to 16 March 2016. A number of steps forward in the project, including in carbon sequestration, biodiversity, forestry and local development, were reviewed or approved by the steering committee and by the Scientific Committee. The Environment Ministry of the State of Mato Grosso, SEMA, authorised the development plan of the Private Reserve of Natural Heritage comprising 1,800 hectares of natural forest with high biodiversity value (created in 2009) and the corresponding research programme. The Scientific Committee applauds the decision, as the study of biodiversity may now be placed on the same footing as that long held in the project by the sequestration of atmospheric carbon in a recreated forest ecosystem.

On the carbon front: a change in methods favourable to the project and its sustainable development, with a view to storing 550,000 tonnes of CO2 in the ecosystem

Two factors will play a favourable role in the carbon performance of the project: the doubling of the land area with Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) certification together with Brazilian Social Carbon certification, this last helping to ensure that the project is as robust socially as it is environmentally. Nearly 1,970 hectares of plantations and restored land are currently in the certification process, accounting for a quantity of carbon sequestered in the biomass and soil of almost 555,000 tonnes of CO2 eq. according to VCS estimation methods.

Private Reserve of Natural Heritage (Reserva Particular do Patrimônio Natural or RPPN): development and research plan approved by SEMA

At the 16th Meeting of the PEUGEOT-ONF Carbon Sink Scientific and Technical Committe, the Environment Ministry of the State of Mato Grosso (SEMA) presented the official document authorising the implementation of a development and research plan for the 1,800 hectares of high-biodiversity-value land, set aside for scientific research and created in November 2009.

With this authorisation in hand, preparations for the RPPN research programme may begin in 2016, with the physical marking out of the reserve, the appointment of individuals to monitor the reserve and the introduction of an initial financing plan for the first research topics developed at the reserve.

Also in 2016, experimental plots for monitoring the natural forest dynamic will be brought into operation in the reserve, home to a remarkable level of biodiversity with over 250 species of trees per hectare. The plots will form part of the network of plots implemented by Brazil in the Amazon basin (as part of the PPBio programme), complying rigorously with the standard and protocol developed by Brazil, and at international level will integrate the network of experimental plots coordinated by the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, CIRAD, a long-standing scientific partner of the project.

Biodiversity returns to the plantation area: fundamental markers identified by experts 

At both ends of the biodiversity chain, from termites to couples of jaguars, researchers have observed that animal life is reclaiming its rights in the plantation area, recreated from scratch two decades ago. The development demonstrates the robust health of the restored forest ecosystem. The success also owes to the unique initiative, as part of a reforestation project aimed at carbon sequestration, of planting over 50 local species.

With insects accounting for over 50% of terrestrial biodiversity, the termites are a particularly important and concrete marker of the increase in biodiversity, as they are responsible for structuring soils and recycling nutrients for the forest ecosystem. They have returned in large numbers to the recreated forest biotope. At the other end of the chain, jaguars have been photographed (using camera trapping) in and around the planted plots in the ecosystem, proof that the initiative also, and remarkably, serves as a biodiversity corridor.

Further new animal species have been discovered, including an Amazonian fish, baptised Hyphessobrycon peugeoti, in the Juruena River contiguous to the project, as well as a new species of beetle, Hansreia peugeoti. The Peugeot brand has written its name in the history of biodiversity.

The PEUGEOT-ONF carbon sink project as a pilot site for the implementation of high-resolution satellite imaging techniques

On the leading edge of technology, the project is using the latest optical satellite sensors and radar, including Sentinel, SPOT6 and Pléiade, to monitor the evolution of biomass and develop innovative plantation monitoring tools with precision levels of up to under one metre. These tools, used on a testing basis from 2016, will help to enhance the remote and practically real-time monitoring of the project plantations.

Commenting, Marc Bocqué, Head of the Carbon Sink project at Peugeot, said: “This meeting of the Scientific and Technical Committee confirms Peugeot’s commitment to future generations. Looking beyond the performance of the PSA group, the European leader on the CO2 emissions of new vehicles sold (104 g/km of CO2), Peugeot, through the reforestation project, is providing the Brazilian and international scientific community with a unique tool, over a 40-year period, for studying the relationship between reforestation, the sequestration of atmospheric carbon and climate regulation, rounded out at present by a significant biodiversity component. The innovative and pioneering nature of the project has thus been reinforced 18 years after coming into existence.”

Patrick Falcone, Deputy Managing Director of the ONF, said: “It is encouraging to see a project created nearly two decades ago to plant trees for carbon sequestration purposes become a crystallisation point for Franco-Brazilian research. In addition to the scientific monitoring of carbon storage, the project stands as an outstanding laboratory in the monitoring of biodiversity, the restoration of damaged land, and the sustainable economic sector. With this project, the ONF, via its subsidiary ONF International, is illustrating its know-how in the management, conservation and promotion of natural spaces.”

Joao Ferraz, Senior Researcher at the National Institute for Amazonian Research, INPA, and Chairman of the Scientific and Technical Committee of the PEUGEOT-ONF Carbon Sink, said: “This collaborative Franco-Brazilian project is bringing together a growing number of players in research, as well as a range of academic and research institutions in Brazil. With a fabric of top-level Brazilian institutions, the initiative contributes both to the scientific content of the project and its sustainable development. It needs to be developed continuously as it is one of the most remarkable factors distinguishing the project from its peers.”