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A “seedlings factory” within a manufacturing plant

A “seedlings factory” within a manufacturing plant

Saturday, 19 de November de 2016

The Polo Jeep project revives biodiversity in the areas degraded by sugarcane fields

Presses mold steel plates making the pieces that will shape the cars produced in the Jeep Automotive center (Pólo Jeep), located in Goiana (PE). While the powerful industrial line designed to manufacture up to 45 vehicles per hour operates at a dizzying pace, the seedlings of the ingá, the passionfruit bush, the pendulabenth and the pau-de-jangada bloom gently, respecting nature´s rhythm.

These and other plant specimens in our Jeep seedling factory make up the collection of 250 species, 25 endangered and all native to the Atlantic Forest. The space dedicated to the rescue and preservation of one of the most threatened biomes in the country can produce 22,000 new plants every three months. In the first year of the project, 38,000 were planted. Today, the nursery has 40 000 plants.

This truly green “factory” has the mission to plant more than 200 thousand seedlings in the vicinity of the AutomotiveCenter –in an area where once the traditionalculture of sugarcane predominated, making itthe main vector of biodiversity degradation in the Northern Forest Zone of Pernambuco.

Restoring part of the original vegetation, extinct for centuries, was an audacious challenge that required a lot more than simply replanting for landscaping. The decision demanded an unprecedented botanical survey in the region, which was commissioned by the FCA and conducted in partnership with researchers from the Federal Universities (UFPE) and the Rural Federal University of Pernambuco (UFRPE).

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“We started the research in 2014 by collecting what remained of the Atlantic Forest, near the limits of the factory, where there’seven a stream. We also gathered historical accounts from1930 to 2013”, explained the researcher and doctoral student in botanyTássia de Sousa Pinheiro from UFRPE. There are more than 7,000 hectares of Atlantic Forest in Goiana today. To get an idea, this area is equivalent to 404 times the size of the Maracanã stadium. For the research, the university also used as a reference the vegetation covering the nearby municipalities in the metropolitan region of Recife, such as Abreu and Lima, Igarassu, Itamaracá and Paulista.

In all, the survey recorded 618 species belonging to 332 genera and 104 botanical families, including the pendulabenth and the pau-de-jangada(this last one endangered). The survey also cataloged 446 species of local fauna. Among the most significant findings were 35 endangered species like the golden dwarf woodpecker the xenopsminutus , the West Indian manatee and the small anteater.

From the collected of botanical material, the researchers selected species for the “seedling factory”, respecting ecological compatibility. With the involvement of staff and visitors, samples are gradually being planted in strategic locations, which are quickly catching up with the development of the Automotive Center. In the near future, the reforested areas will also serve as a space for researchers, where students and the surrounding residentscan have contact with the richness of the Atlantic Forest.

“Our intention is to create ecological corridors that connect the remaining forest, serving as a shelter for the restoration of local flora and fauna,” said the Environment, Health and Work Safety Manager for Fiat in for Latin America, Cristiano Felix adding that the research could also support conservation initiatives from the government and the private sector.

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