Boots on the ground in the Amazon. The Hydro and BRC Research Consortium
Field Course 2022 – Professors and Students from Brazil and Norway at the Caxiuanã Research Station – Amazon
The challenge of being 100 % sustainable is something very few big companies, who have been around for a very long time, can even begin to endure, let alone put as a very high priority on the agenda ahead of business as usual.
However, small steps in the right direction by many put together might just get us a little bit closer to where we need to be. And those small steps, Hydro has been taking for quite a while together with the BRC – the Biodiversity Research Consortium.
The project is a partnership between Hydro and academic institutions from the Northern part of Brazil (the Federal University of Pará, Federal Rural University of Pará, and Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi), and the University of Oslo. The idea is to develop research in the eastern part of the Amazon, mainly related to forest degradation and restoration, in order to understand how we can recover the forest after mining operations, and provide solutions for Hydro to be more environmentally sustainable. Also, the BRC aims, among other things, to strengthen university-industry partnerships in the Amazon, integrate graduate students in research, promote exchange, and improve international scientific collaboration in the Amazon.
There are about 25 research projects ongoing, mainly in the following subjects:
1) Biodiversity surveys and monitoring in mining areas and surroundings;
2) Greenhouse gas fluxes and carbon footprint related to mining operations;
3) Restoration of tropical forests, including restoration of biodiversity and forest soils.
More than 100 people are involved in the consortium, from researchers to staff and students.
The BRC has been a valuable partnership for Hydro over the last 10 years. The research performed by the institutes has given us important insight into understanding the biodiversity and ecosystems that exist at our mining site in Paragominas and how we can best manage the impacts that mining has on the landscape. Of critical importance to us, the BRC has provided recommendations on how to best rehabilitate mined areas with the goal of recovering the nature that was there previously. Beyond this, we see that the BRC has been an important vehicle for education, peer-reviewed research, and community engagement with other landowners in our area. Following this growth has been exciting, and we look forward to future collaboration with the BRC.Patrick Brading, Head of Environment at Hydro.
Since the main source of financing is Hydro, a private company, Brazilian or Norwegian government policies do not affect the consortium to a significant degree. However, good dialogue with policymakers is an essential bridge builder.
The BRC is a good example of how the private sector could invest in research for the Amazon and make this an excellent portfolio for being more environmentally sustainable. More and more consumers are looking for products that are not related to land degradation, and companies have seen this as an opportunity for investment, to increase the value of their products.
Also, the private sector can play an important role by investing in human capacity and training, especially in the Amazon. Most of Brazil’s public investment in science and technology is concentrated in the wealthier states (South and Southeast). Thus, this input is extremely important for the people from the Amazonian region.Rafael Asis from the Biodiversity Research Consortium.
In addition, we have today more than 40 scientific publications, many related to the impact mining has on the environment, and how to minimize/mitigate these impacts. These findings are available for everyone and could help to provide more sustainable practices for other mining operations in the Amazon or elsewhere in the world. This is a very important and relevant legacy of this collaboration.
BRC Seminar 2023 – Research and Sustainability in the Amazon
The BRC is presenting a seminar at the Natural History Museum (NMH) to discuss challenges and solutions for a more sustainable Amazon. The seminar gathers representatives of academia, civil society, industry, and decision-makers in order to advance Amazon’s biodiversity research in Norway. The seminar will also present some of the Brazilian Amazon research conducted by partners of the Biodiversity Research Consortium Brazil – Norway (BRC). On Wednesday, March 1st.
Read more about BRC at https://www.brcbn.com/
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