Professor Sebastião Venâncio Martins coordinates the project

A project linked to the Department of Forestry Engineering (DEF) and carried out through the Forestry Research Society (SIF) is one of the main responsible for technical-scientific support in the reforestation process from the region affected by the B1 dam rupture, in Brumadinho (MG), in January 2019. The project – which was already the subject of a report shown by Jornal Hoje, on Rede Globo – is part of the partnership signed by Vale with the UFV it seeks , through the collection of seeds and planting of seedlings, restore the forests of the impacted areas.

In cooperation, the UFV carries out research and technical guidance in order to provide a more effective reforestation with genetic diversity of species. The University also has an important role in monitoring and evaluating the actions carried out. “We are evaluating, in addition to the planted seedlings, other characteristics, such as the soil seed bank, natural regeneration and the coverage of the soil by trees”, explains professor Sebastião Venâncio Martins, who coordinates the project. The responsible team also has six undergraduate and graduate students in Forest Engineering.

So far, around 15 hectares have been planted with seedlings from the project. The expectation is that the process will be completed within 10 to 15 years, restoring a total of 297 impacted hectares and 140 hectares of forest areas. According to Venâncio, the consequences of the actions go beyond plant restoration: “The impacted areas are within a landscape of native forest. The objective is for them to return to forests with a diversity of flora and fauna, restoring the margins of the watercourse, the riparian forests and not letting the soil undergo erosion”, comments the professor.

Due to the deposition of the dam tailings on the ground, the tree planting step is not simple. First, Vale teams must remove all material from the surface and wait for the fire department to clear the area. Larger holes and adequate fertilization are also needed for better initial plant growth. When collecting seeds, specialists opt for those that are native to the affected region, which attract fauna and cover the soil.

In the process of vegetation development, the presence of brachiaria grass meant that a pioneering technique was used to preserve the evolution of seedlings. “The Brachiaria grass competes with native seedlings for nutrients and light. Vale’s project developed a technique that consists of placing a bio-blanket around the seedling, a protective layer, called patches. They cover, retain moisture and prevent brachiaria coming back. Nobody had used this technique yet”, explains Venâncio.

Experts also use bioengineering techniques to reclaim riverbed areas to avoid landslides. According to Professor Venâncio, they make rockfills (structures with stone bases) in the most natural way possible to avoid erosion of the beds.

Previous initiative
In addition to this project, the initiative DNA rescue and early flowering induction in native forest species in the Brumadinho region, developed by researchers at UFV, made it possible , through DNA collection and species replication, the genetic conservation of plants and the planting of these threatened species in the region.

Restoration takes place by collecting seeds and planting seedlings

Felipe Azevedo – intern
Photos: Paula Kettenhuber and Sebastião Venâncio

Source: UFV Institutional Disclosure


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