The Atlantic Forest is considered to be one of the most important biomes in the Country, comprising 17 Brazilian States and parts of Argentina and Paraguay. With a biodiversity very similar to the Amazon jungle, the Atlantic Forest was expressively destroyed by Brazilian settlers, responsible for reducing its size to 10% of the initial cover. In Rio Grande do Sul, however, this scenario tends to change.
SindiTabaco, Afubra (Tobacco Growers’ Association of Brazil (Afubra), Ibama (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) and the Ministry of the Environment signed unprecedented agreements in 2011 for the preservation of the Atlantic Forest. The commitments undertaken are as follows:
- Contractual requirement ensuring that the production and commercialization of tobacco comply with the environmental standards in force, under penalty of terminating existing contracts;
- Company rural extension agents are responsible for keeping the farmers aware of the importance of protecting the native vegetation of the Atlantic Forest Biome;
- Monitoring by satellite an area of 6,899.47 km², with the aim to keep a close watch on the evolution of the production systems and the conservation of the remaining forest lots in three areas of great importance for tobacco farming in Rio Grande do Sul;
- Elaboration and distribution of 200 thousand primers addressing the subject of sustainable rural holding management and respect for the environment;
- Support to the recovery of degraded areas in the municipality of Segredo (RS) and to the conservation of the Atlantic Forest biome through a partnership with the Federal University of Santa Maria (UFSM).