At the company's first-ever Latin American Sustainability Forum, The Dow Chemical Company announced it is collaborating with The Nature Conservancy to restore the shoreline of the Cachoeira reservoir in the Cantareira System in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.Dow has pledged USD $1.5 Million through its charitable foundation to The Conservancy for the reforestation of the highly degraded landscape whose freshwater services are critical to the health and well-being of millions of people in Brazil.
“At Dow, sustainability is about our relationship with the world and our contribution to solving its many challenges,” said Pedro Suarez, president, Dow Latin America. “We are proud to be part of a comprehensive collaboration to address such an important and meaningful environmental project — particularly one that is so close to our home and neighbors.”
With funding from Dow, The Conservancy is also partnering with the São Paulo State Water Supply (SABESP), the Environmental Agency of São Paulo (SMA-SP), the Piracia Municipality, and various local partners to restore 865 acres surrounding the Cachoeira reservoir, one of six reservoirs of the Cantareira Water System. The System, which is the primary source of water for nearly nine million people in São Paulo metropolitan area, is part of the Piracicaba-Capivari-Jundiaí (PCJ), a major watershed in Brazil. Goals of the reforestation project include sequestering carbon to mitigate climate change, and ultimately selling certified carbon credits to support ongoing reforestation in the Atlantic Forest. The ultimate goal is to join efforts to reforest all the degraded riparian areas and protect the existent forest remnants of the Cantareira system.
More than 80 native species will be planted from October to March from 2008 through 2011, involving local communities through reforestation activities that are expected to also generate alternative sources of income for them. This initiative is part of the Plant a Billion Trees Campaign, launched this year by The Nature Conservancy, to accomplish an ambitious plan to protect and restore 30 million acres of the forest by 2015, with a wide range of partners.
“The Nature Conservancy is delighted with the generous support of The Dow Chemical Company and we look forward to working with them to reconnect critical forest fragments,” said Joe Keenan, director of the Conservancy’s South America conservation region. “This is a clear case of where a healthy Atlantic Forest is needed to have healthy human communities and a healthier planet.”
Located in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, the Atlantic Forest encompasses Latin America’s largest population centers, including São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.After years of deforestation to accommodate rapid development, only a fragmented seven percent of the original Atlantic Forest remains today in well preserved conditions, making it one of the most endangered ecosystems on Earth.Yet it harbors one of the greatest repositories of biodiversity on the planet, with more than 20,000 known species of plants alone. According to the New York Botanical Garden, 458 species of trees were identified on a single hectare (about 2.5 acres), in Brazil’s northeast coast, which are more tree species than are found on the entire U.S. eastern seaboard. The uniqueness of the area is reflected in high endemism rates across the board for flora and fauna. Half of the Atlantic Forest tree species and three-quarters of its other plants are found nowhere else on Earth. In addition, the Atlantic Forest is the source of drinking water for 70 percent of Brazil’s population – more than 130 million people. The most acute risk to the survival of the Atlantic Forest’s biodiversity is the very fragmented state of forest remnants and their ecological isolation from one another.
The Cantareira System, located in the headwaters of the PCJ watershed, is one of the largest water supply systems in the world. It produces 33,000 liters-of-water per second that flow from a 563,400 acre area distributed across 12 Brazilian municipalities. Loss of forest cover across the Atlantic Forest has contributed to erosion, the presence of large amounts of suspended sediments and pollutants in rivers and streams from fertilizer, pesticides and other contaminants.
As a world leader in chemistry, Dow is uniquely positioned to provide breakthroughs that supply cleaner and safer water to those in need — breakthroughs like lower cost desalination technologies, more effective ultra filtration systems to drive water reuse, materials to improve the sustainability of water infrastructure, sustainable business models for small community water systems, innovative ways to increase awareness of the issue — and other solutions not yet imagined.Dow's vision is reflected in the company’s 2015 Sustainability Goals — a public commitment to be accountable in the pursuit of solutions to the global water crises and other pressing world challenges.
With annual sales of $54 billion and 46,000 employees worldwide, Dow is a diversified chemical company that combines the power of science and technology with the “Human Element” to constantly improve what is essential to human progress. The company delivers a broad range of products and services to customers in around 160 countries, connecting chemistry and innovation with the principles of sustainability to help provide everything from fresh water, food and pharmaceuticals to paints, packaging and personal care products. References to “Dow” or the “Company” mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted. More information about Dow can be found at www.dow.com.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.