Veracel Celulose, a joint venture between Stora Enso and Fibria, is a pulp mill and tree plantation in the south of Bahia, Brazil. When its predecessor, Veracruz Florestal, planted its first trees in 1993, less than 7 per cent of the original Atlantic rainforest (Mata Atlântica) remained. During the 1960s and 70s, logging of valuable tree species and the subsequent clearing of the land for cattle grazing rapidly destroyed the area’s forests. When Veracel arrived in southern Bahia the landscape was dominated by pasture lands converted from the Atlantic rainforest. As the land had been so heavily modified and degraded, in many areas the original vegetation could no longer regenerate naturally.
Veracel has set aside around half its land – more than 100,000 hectares – for conservation as part of a mosaic landscape approach that combines eucalyptus plantations with the restoration of native Atlantic rainforest. Satellite and aerial image analyses show that there is more rainforest in the area now than when the first trees were planted in 1993.