Neither our own plantations in South Africa nor the forests in Europe and North America from which we source woodfibre would be productive without biotic processes taking place. These processes play a vital role in ensuring the health and vitality of trees in terms of decomposition, soil rejuvenation and pest control.
Both the plantations and forests which provide us with woodfibre are actively managed to enhance these beneficial processes and restrict harmful processes like pests and disease.
The certification systems we use include measures to protect water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk and Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value (SFI).
Approximately 30% of the land that we own and lease in South Africa is permanently unplanted and actively managed for the conservation of the natural habitats (including indigenous forests) and the biodiversity they contain.
Our strategies for managing biodiversity include:
- Managing natural vegetation according to best practice in terms of burning, grazing and weed control to ensure health habitats
- Ongoing assessment and monitoring of veld condition
- Protection of sites from poaching, illegal medicinal plant collection and overgrazing
- Participation in the national stewardship programme through which we have six declared nature reserves and are in the process of having a seventh proclaimed, and
- Long-term integrated weed management plans on all our plantations. Invasive alien plants (IAPs) are widely considered as a major threat to biodiversity, human livelihoods and economic development. Currently, there are 379 species of plants listed as IAPs in South Africa. As a result of their high diversity and far-reaching distribution, they are extremely difficult to control. We combat weeds by implementing weed control programmes, managing natural areas to maintain healthy vegetation (weeds generally spread into disturbed poorly managed areas) and reducing sources and avenues of seed dispersal.
In addition, we are currently establishing biodiversity targets in Sappi Forests.