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Brazil: AES Tietê Afforestation/Reforestation Project in the State of São Paulo, Brazil
(BioCarbon Fund)

UNFCCC Reference No.: 3887

Project Photo 1
In the absence of the project, the area will remain grassland, as it has since colonial times (Photo: AES-Tietê S/A)

AES Tietê S.A., a Brazilian electrical energy generator, owns and operates ten hydropower plants in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. The AES Tietê hydropower plants are located in the Tietê river basin, the Grande river basin, the Pardo river basin, and the Mogi-Guaçu river basin. In the early 1900s, these once-forested river watersheds became a gateway for agricultural activities, and they were subjected to deforestation for planting and cattle ranching. Following floods during the reservoirs’ construction, the land use activities around the reservoirs remained dedicated to cattle ranching and agribusiness. Any remnants of original tree vegetation had completely disappeared.

In 2001, AES Tietê initiated reforestation activities with native species to protect the riparian areas bordering its reservoirs, testing the viability of different afforestation/reforestation practices. Between 2001 and 2007, AES Tietê reforested about 1,568 hectares of non-contiguous lands along the reservoirs. The results demonstrated that the riparian areas will only regenerate forest cover through human interventions—the areas were no longer able to regenerate naturally, and therefore required reforestation activities to restore the forest.

Project Photo 2
Results of the reforestation activities
The Project:
The AES Tietê Afforestation/Reforestation project reforests 13,900 hectares riparian areas along the banks of AES Tietê’s ten hydropower reservoirs with native forest species. This project uses a mix of native tree and shrub species, selected based on their traditional occurrences within the reforested areas, as well as their ability to provide a long-term sustainable riparian forest habitat. As a result, the ecosystem is moving towards restoration, there is increased biodiversity, and the local residents are experiencing numerous environmental and social co-benefits.

Environmental Benefits:
The project’s restoration of the riparian forests is demonstrating a re-emergence of ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, controlled soil erosion, and land-degradation reversal. The riparian buffers are reducing soil erosion effects, helping to decrease sediment and water pollution by acting as filters to delay, absorb, or purify contaminated runoff before it enters the water. The restored areas are storing and recycling of organic matter and nutrients, providing habitats for fish and wildlife, and removing nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment from surface and subsurface water flows.

Social and Community Benefits:
The project is providing employment and recreational opportunities for local residents, as well as improving the aesthetic quality of the areas. The enhanced marine ecosystems are re-establishing traditional sources of value, such as fishing or withdrawal of water for drinking and irrigation. The project also promotes the safety of local residents. The reforested areas mitigate flooding, and the project is deterring additional settlements and construction on eroded riparian lands, which have a high risk of landslides and flooding-related disasters.

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