In 2016 Concept Nature Management started to take form in the Province of Misiones in Argentina. The region immediately attracted our attention for tree plantations due to its affordable land prices and lush natural beauty, which was also helped by the fact that the local legislation protected the environment from contamination and abuse, thus allowing Argentina to retain most of its Parana Jungle (unlike the southern Brazilian states).
The region also has one of the highest annual growth rates in the world, attributed mainly to fertile soil and its climate which features abundant rains and warm temperatures.
Since water is a resource that will increase its value in the future, the fact that the province sits above the gigantic Guarani Aquifer System and is surrounded by rushing rivers and rainforests makes the land even more attractive.
Although some companies in the area outsourced the services of land preparation, ant control, pruning, and harvesting, we realized that it did not lead to optimal results and efficient resource usage. It was far more effective to hire our own personnel and purchase our own equipment in order to maintain the soil and improve the land’s infrastructure and buildings.
In the beginning, the project was intended for the cultivation of the low-priced exotic eucalyptus and pine trees, and we acquired almost 800 hectares in this province. Soon we realized that there would be greater benefits if we directed our efforts to several native species that would not only produce wood of greater quality but also help the local ecosystems. This is something that local authorities encourage by means of financial incentives. Therefore, we began the cultivation of exotic tree species with a high value.
In order to accomplish those goals, we set up our own plant nursery under a supervisor that is renowned in the province due to their vast experience.
As the province is surrounded by rivers (Rio de la Plata river system) and ports are being built, this indicates a promising trade potential since it provides a direct connection with the world economy.
Our tree plantations and surround land have a sizable protected forest which is beneficial for receiving sustainable usage approval (such as forest enrichment and careful harvesting) and enable us to get into the CO2 Markets and increase profits.
In order to make the most of the acquired land, we started to implement the silvopastural system. We acquired cattle, which naturally began expanding its population, and grazing between the trees where there were different types of grass and corn planted to supplement the animal’s diet. This benefits the trees because as the cattle graze they also naturally contribute to the fertilization of the soil along with the nearby piggery, which provides additional meat for sale to consumers and organic fertilizer. This method will help the project attain a degree of self-sustainability in the short run.
For operation of our tree plantations we hired local personnel that contributed not only their experience in the necessary tasks (animal handling, pruning, harvesting, etc.), but they also possess valuable knowledge of the surrounding environment and vast experience with the dynamics of the Argentinean economy.
Currently, the employees have a contractual employment relationship with the our partner, Nature Concept Management, which includes social security coverage as well as periodic improvements in terms of safety and stability. These are a highly valued employment benefits in this part of the country and will help the local communities. The government seeks to promote such terms of employment due to Argentina’s need for work-generating investments.
At the same time, our company purchased 26,500 hectares in the province of Santiago del Estero. This province was previously excluded from the vigorously developed Argentine agricultural industry, but it has been improving both its infrastructure and economic conditions, along with irrigation measures for better natural resources management. All of this will lead to an increase in land prices as a result of its recently found potential.
These properties were subjected to different types of tests and we intend to prepare the soil for the cultivation of lucerne, corn, cotton and some other species that will improve the soil quality. These steps, along with some other measures, will enable the land to increase its value. In time, the land will become a productive agricultural area in the province. In the province of Santiago del Estero, areas that had been eroded wastelands are now being used for raising cattle and agriculture production, which present themselves as interesting possibilities.
In 2018, we also leased nearly 930 ha of land and tree plantations in Bulgaria on which new species of trees were planted, such as white acacia, white mulberry, wild cherry, black walnut, atlas and Himalayan cedar. Click here for more information about our Bulgaria plantations.