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Post: Celebrating World Biodiversity Day: Mondi showcases its commitment to conservation

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Celebrating World Biodiversity Day: Mondi showcases its commitment to conservation

Tomorrow, May 22nd, marks World Biodiversity Day, an opportunity to celebrate the rich diversity of life on our planet and the crucial role it plays in sustaining our planet’s health and in the provision of critical ecosystem goods and services to businesses and society. Against this year’s theme of “Be Part of the Plan”, Mondi South Africa shares how it is contributing to biodiversity and ecological conservation on its forestry land.

“It is perhaps not known to many that embedded within Mondi’s landholdings in South Africa is a diverse set of ecosystems, including grasslands, wetlands and indigenous forest patches,” says Brent Corcoran, Mondi South Africa’s Certification and Environmental Manager for Forestry Operations.

Mondi manages approximately 256,000 hectares of landholdings across KwaZulu-Natal and southern Mpumalanga, with about 20% set aside for biodiversity conservation purposes. The conservation areas are dominated by grassland and wetland ecosystems, with natural forests and woodlands (savanna) ecosystems in some places.

Mondi has been proactive in investing, managing and safeguarding its forestry landholdings to support the company’s commitment to sustainable development and environmental stewardship.

Over the years, its research collaboration with Stellenbosch University’s Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology has been instrumental in shaping Mondi’s approach to biodiversity conservation. Corcoran adds, “We promote ecological networks – also known as conservation corridors – and high conservation value areas to safeguard local biodiversity and enhance ecosystem resilience.”

A 30-year journey with the World Wildlife Fund with WWF-Mondi Water Stewardship Partnership has seen a collaboration of the private sector, scientists, NGOs and government, and has contributed to changing South Africa’s approach to managing wetlands.

Mondi became South Africa’s first large landowner to work on rehabilitating wetlands, and now manages around more than 15,000 hectares of wetlands on its local landholdings. Through the partnership, it was able to bring together key stakeholders who have a shared interest in maintaining freshwater ecosystems and services at the landscape level – including farmers, local government and corporate land users (forestry and agriculture). 

In 2023, Mondi signed  a three-year partnership with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), one of the largest biodiversity conservation NGOs in southern Africa, to map biodiversity footprints in Mondi South Africa’s forestry operations.

This partnership will include a pilot assessment of the biodiversity footprint of Mondi’s operations in South Africa using the EWT’s Biological Diversity Protocol (BD Protocol). The BD Protocol is an accounting framework that consolidates site-based biodiversity data to calculate any company’s total, negative and positive biodiversity footprints, allowing users to set meaningful targets and track changes on the ground and disclose these to stakeholders.

Through its sustainability framework MAP2030, Mondi has committed to conduct biodiversity assessments at its mills and forestry operations by 2025.

“We’ve been working hard to ensure that Mondi’s operations not only support commercial timber production but also contribute to nature conservation,” explains Corcoran.

To learn more about how Mondi South Africa is making a positive impact, watch this short video on how it has implemented conservation corridors in South Africa.

Source: Mondi

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