What is this about?
A flourishing life on land is the foundation for our life on this planet. We are all part of the planet’s ecosystem and we have caused severe damage to it through deforestation, loss of natural habitats and land degradation. Promoting a sustainable use of our ecosystems and preserving biodiversity is not a ‘nice-to-have’. It is the key to our own survival.
Our actions to support this goal include maintaining high levels of forest certification and safeguarding biodiversity.
For South Africa: Like the rest of the world, South African consumers are concerned about deforestation.
For Sappi: Maintaining a high level of certification of fibre supplied to our mills is important if we are to maintain our competitive advantage in markets. Essentially, certification is a tool that helps environmentally and socially conscious consumers make the right choice when they buy paper products.
For South Africa: One in seven plants and animals in South Africa are threatened with extinction8. Almost half a million people in South Africa draw their income from a biodiversity-related job, while biodiversity-based tourism is valued at more than ZAR30 billion annually. The informal African traditional medicine industry is worth about ZAR18 billion a year9.
For Sappi: Our timber plantations are biological systems and are based on biodiversity in that they comprise a variety of tree species which are genetically diverse and rely on biotic processes – soil regeneration, nutrient cycling, pollination and decomposition – for healthy functioning.
Executive Director of Forestry South Africa
Managing for healthy ecosystem services
We often hear the phrase ‘ecosystem services’. So, what are they and why are they important?
Biodiversity underpins the supply of ecosystem services on which the world’s population depends, which is why SDG15: Life on land is so important to Sappi. Most people are unaware of the extent of their dependence on these services, probably because they are taken for granted, and their contribution to the formal economy is undervalued and not priced or paid for. Ecosystem services can benefit people in many ways, either directly or as inputs into the production of other goods and services. As an example, the pollination of crops provided by bees and other organisms contributes to food production and is thus considered an ecosystem service. Another example is the attenuation of flooding in residential areas provided by riparian buffers and wetlands. The ecosystem services on which Sappi depends are set out alognside.
Working to conserve biodiversity on Roelton Nature Reserve
People sometimes ask – does it really matter if one species, of birds, for example, disappears when it’s estimated that there are more than 18,000? The answer is, yes it does, because animals, birds, plants and insects depend upon each other, so the loss of one species affects others within that complex web of relationships.
That’s why we’re proud to be playing a role in providing a habitat for the critically endangered Blue Swallow (Hirundo atrocaerulea) on our Roelton Nature Reserve situated in our Sutton plantation. This reserve forms part of the KwaZulu-Natal Mistbelt Grassland Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA). As an IBA, this site is recognised internationally as an important site for bird conservation. The Blue Swallow migrates seasonally within the African continent, breeding in South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo. During April, the birds journey back to Uganda and Kenya for winter. Reports suggest that there are currently only about 1,000 breeding pairs left in the world.
Currently, Roelton is fully managed by Sappi with some assistance from the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) Biodiversity Stewardship Programme. The Blue Swallow is a flagship species for the KwaZulu-Natal Mistbelt Grasslands IBA and by protecting their habitat we will also be securing the future of other important species such as the endangered Mistbelt Chirping Frog (Anhydrophryne ngongoniensis) and the critically endangered orchid Satyrium rhodanthum.
|How can I support this goal?|
Avoid using pesticides that end up in rivers and lakes, as they are harmful to wildlife
Never buy products made from threatened or endangered species
Try to choose products with certification labels
Make your own compost – it supports biodiversity, enriches the soil and reduces the need for chemical fertilisers