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Silvicultural sustainability management methodology: SNC - Soil, Nutrient and Carbon

Abstract

The silvicultural sustainability of forest plantations, in other words, the capacity of these plantation to maintain or even to increase the wood productivity over time is important to accomplish the sustainable intensification. The global demand for food, fiber and energy is growing exponentially, due to population growth, better economic condition and higher longevity. Together with the demand, also grow the consciousness that we need to obtain these products from renewable sources. Once the global land area suitable for agriculture is limited, the unique way to supply such demand is increase the yields by unity area, without compromise the soil productive capacity. Our goal with this project is to develop a methodology for indicator generation to assess the silvicultural sustainability of forest plantation, which bring together yields, soil and water conservation, soil carbon sequestration and nutritional balance. Thus, our solution is going to contribute to forest operation planning and control, with focus on soil conservation, inputs optimization and, whatever possible, the forest residue exploration to green energy production. This way, to integrate decision making regarding the three silvicultural steps that most impact the sustainability and the cost of forest formation (i.e., forest residue management, soil preparation and fertilizer application). The impact of forest residue management and soil preparation on soil loss will be estimated using the USLE and on soil organic carbon will be estimated by an integration among the 3-PG and CENTURY models. During the Phase I of the project, the USLE was parametrized and validated, the nutrient balance system was developed, and the business model is being validated. The performance of the USLE was highly satisfactory and with potential to application in all Brazilian territory. The business model has been developed based in client interview, following the I-Corps methodology. During this process, a huge change was made in the business model. When we idealized this project (Phase I) our goal was to develop a planning platform for harvest, soil preparation and fertilizer application. However, during the interviews we realize that the main value to our potential clients were the metrics to assess the sustainability of the practices adopted by the companies. Moreover, we also observed the opportunity of consulting service in soil preparation and harvest planning, fertilizer application and exploration of forest residues to green energy production. Once we found, during the Phase I, that our solution has scientific bases, technical viability and market, our goal with the phase II is to develop a methodology for silvicultural sustainability monitoring, incorporate the soil organic carbon modeling on the methodology and continue the scientific development started in the Phase I. We believe that our methodology is feasible to be applied to forest companies, financial investors (TIMO's) and independent forest producers. Brazil has around 8,7 million of hectares with forest plantations, being 3,5 million certified in the modality forest management. We believe this is the initial horizon of application of our solution. Beyond that, our solution is feasible to be applied in other countries which use the same silvicultural system, such as, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and South Africa. We also interviewed with people from the sugar-cane sector. We identify a potential of application of our solution in sugar-cane plantation, demanding only models parametrization. (AU)

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