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SUSTAINABILITY

ENVIRONMENT SUSTAINABILITY

In addition to the good practices required by FSC® and PEFC, within the scope of our forest certification (GFS CERTIBEI Group) and legal obligations, there are many others that we decided to follow because we believe that the environment in general and the forest in particular are essential and we have a duty to protect, conserve and improve for future generations.

 

Among others, we can highlight:

 

a) Non-mobilization of the soil with disc harrows to control the vegetation (we use weed cutters and, where necessary, a brushcutter). Soil mobilization facilitates soil erosion, causing losses of biodiversity and fertility, both in the short and long term. The harrows also damage the surface roots of trees, decreasing their ability to absorb water and resist disease. The use of weed cutters is more expensive and therefore avoided by many.

 

b) Use of different species in order to promote conservation, biodiversity and natural beauty. In several places (namely the banks of water courses, property boundaries and roadsides) we plant or protect trees of no commercial interest but with high ecological interest such as ash, willows, bastard lotions, elms, etc.

 

c) We avoid as much as possible and intend to completely eliminate the use of herbicides and pesticides. To this end, we use other techniques to eliminate invasive plants or prevent their spread.

 

d) Promotion of pollination and presence of bees. In 3 of our properties we have apiaries with bees and we preserve whenever possible shrubs and aromatic plants that are essential in this process. The most common in our properties is rosemary, easily detectable due to its violet color and strong aroma.

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ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY

The forest is a (very) long-term investment, a cork oak takes about 25 years to be big enough for the first cork extraction, which normally has an insignificant value. Only 9 years later will the first commercially valuable cork be extracted, which means that, in the case of the cork oak, only 34 years after sowing/planting will we have any income (assuming the tree does not die from drought, fire, destroyed by animals, etc).

 

Other forest species usually generate some income in a shorter period, but the return on the initial investment (purchase of land, plantations, maintenance, infrastructure, etc) is only achieved after several decades. The introduction of fruit trees (namely chestnuts and pistachios) in some areas, will make it possible to anticipate some income, although it requires a greater initial investment.

 

Thus, investment in forest, given the lack of public and private support, is impractical unless an extremely long time horizon is taken into account. At RH we are aware of this and we prepare our future accordingly.

 

Pratically all the areas managed by us are recent forest properties. The vast majority of trees are young and it will still take several years to generate any profitability. This will mostly be achieved through the extraction of cork, sale of dried fruits (nuts and pistachios) and wood. Other possibilities will be the picking of wild mushrooms, nature tourism, resining, among others.

 

We also highlight the possibility that the ecosystem services provided by the forest may be valued in terms of the market, not only carbon sequestration but also biodiversity, water cycle regulation, soil maintenance, etc. In our view, this could become one of the main sources of income for the forest, replacing those that involve cutting down trees.

 

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SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY

We have four local employees who work full-time with us on the properties. In addition to these direct jobs, many of the forestry and agricultural works that are required on a recurring basis are usually provided by local companies and associations, creating employment and value in the region.

 

The regular presence of workers on forest properties, as well as the necessary maintenance work (control of spontaneous vegetation, cleaning of paths and firebreaks, etc...) drastically reduces the probability, dimension and severity of forest fires.

 

The production of goods and services in the territories of the interior is essential for the fixation of the young population in these territories and the basis of any policy of social and territorial cohesion. We are happy to contribute to this.

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CERTIFICATIONS

The properties under RH's own management are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) (FSC-C105877It is Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) and are part of the sustainable forest management groupI CERTIFIED.

 

Contributing to the responsible management of the forest is one of the commitments made by RH, in order to be part of an environmentally and socially conscious market.

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