Enhancement of biodiversity in Mondi's South African forests

07/09/2009

Enhancement of biodiversity in Mondis South African forests

Summary

Mondi takes biodiversity in its South African forests very seriously and has undertaken measures together with Government and NGOs to preserve biodiversity in the its forests.

Background

Sustainable Development is Key for Mondi and this also counts for the preservation of nature and animal life on land owned by Mondi. We take on the responsibility we have as a major land owner in South Africa.

The Case Study

In line with our sustainable development (SD) commitments we recognise our responsibility to conserve natural resources and, where possible, to help restore ecosystems that have been damaged. Ecosystems provide many benefits or 'ecosystem services' to business but there is clear evidence that human activity is degrading them. Left unchecked, this degradation could jeopardise economic wellbeing, social stability and the maintenance of biodiversity.

We acknowledge our dependence and impact, both positive and negative, on ecosystems and were involved in some of the early, pioneering work on ecosystems; playing a leadership role in wetland and High Conservation Value (HCV) ecosystems. Our chief executive has recognised the importance of ecosystems to Mondi by becoming a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development's Ecosystem Focus Area Action team together with the chief executives of nine other global companies.

Rehabilitating ecosystems

We are working closely with WWF and industry partners to refine the science and practice behind what WWF calls 'New Generation Plantations'. This project should be completed in 2009 and early indications suggest it could have a very positive impact on the rehabilitation of functioning ecosystems. We can only directly influence practices on our own land, but we believe that the work we are doing in tandem with the South African Government's 20-year grassland conservation plan and the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Stewardship Programme can set a clear direction for other landowners and interested parties. We are committed to ensuring that at least 25% of our land in South Africa is not converted to plantations.

Developing eco-corridors Around the world, natural ecosystems are being transformed and fragmented, often as the result of landscape transformation. The resulting habitat loss poses a significant threat to ecological integrity and ecosystem health. Even on the largest nature reserves it is impossible to ensure species survival in the face of these impacts, so mitigation measures are being sought in production landscapes. Mondi is a leader in researching the development of one important mitigation measure: the creation of Ecological Networks (ENs); interconnected land corridors or nodes within the plantation landscape that can help to maintain structural, compositional and functional biodiversity. We have recently appointed a team at Stellenbosch Unversity in South Africa, to investigate the effectiveness of our existing ENs and to develop ways in which they can be used in future to maximise biodiversity conservation while also optimising production.

World Heritage partners In South Africa

we are working with our black empowerment partners and government through SiyaQhubeka Forestry (SQF): the first commercial organisation to delineate an accurate 'eco-boundary' line between a World Heritage site and a forestry plantation. By integrating local communities and small growers in the plantation model, SQF has provided protection for sensitive wetland and other HCV areas. Consequently, Mondi plantation areas have now become part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, extending habitat for species that include elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo and many plants, invertebrates and birds. We are currently exploring ways to make use of the lessons learned on projects such as SQF in our other forestry operations. Ecosystem Management Plans (EMP). Our EMP (previously called a Biodiversity Action Plan) for South Africa was due to be completed in 2008, but due to the loss of key environmental staff will now be published in June 2009. The EMP will highlight biodiversity 'hot spots' as well as rare and endangered species. Our 2009 Sustainability Report will contain extracts from our EMPs for South Africa and Russia. For more information go to: www.wbcsd.org

Results

  • Cooperate with local NGOs to ensue that Mondi preserves its forests to NGO standards
  • Ensuring that 25% of our land in South Africa is left unforested and we make optimal use of this area to support associated HCV areas.
  • Protect sensitive wetland and other HCV areas on the site, enabling our plantations and associated ecosystems to become part of a globally recognised game park and extending the habitat of species including elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo along with a myriad of plants, invertebrates and birdlife.
  • Customers can be assured that Mondi is taking action to preserve biodiversity in its forests
  • The views of NGO's and Government have been taken into account

Company Information

About Mondi Uncoated Fine Paper Mondi Uncoated Fine Paper is a leading manufacturer of paper for office and graphic uses. It has production centres in five countries and sales offices all over the world. The product range not only includes paper for use in offices but also for preprint and offset applications. Among the best known brands are Color Copy, Europe's leading colour laser paper, Snegurochka, IQ, MAESTRO, BIO TOP 3 and NAUTILUS. For Mondi, sustainable development is one of the most important strategic company guidelines. The Green Range product family that was started in 2007 consists entirely of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified papers from well-managed forests, TCF (totally chlorine free) papers and 100% recycled papers.