Biodiversity is essential to the preservation of a healthy environment. We take steps to understand and manage the potential impacts of our operations on biodiversity and ecosystem services. We promote wildlife and habitat conservation through cooperative efforts with the scientific and academic communities and organizations committed to preserving the Earth's biodiversity and ecosystem functions.
Since December 2008, Soterra, our subsidiary engaged in Land Management, has received the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification for its managed timberlands. Soterra manages timberland in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, and provides wildlife, recreational land use and forestry management services.
SFI, Inc. audits Soterra for its forest practices including forest regeneration and best land management practices. Soterra is also audited for the promotion of sustainable forestry practices, commitment to legal compliance and the incorporation of continuous improvement, which are obligations under SFI.
Pollinator Habitat Improvement Study
Soterra started working with the Pollinator Partnership and NAPCC, the world's foremost experts on pollination issues, and embarked on a multi-year study to learn how pollinators impact wildlife food availability on timber landscapes, the added values of hosting honey bees and beekeepers on the landscape and to discover the best management practice for ecosystem services on forest landscapes.
Our Pollinator Habitat Improvement study evaluates honeybee colonies on Greif-owned forestland in Mississippi. The colonies, set on mechanical platform scales placed at control and experimental wildlife study plots, are weighed at weekly intervals to monitor their health. With this project, we are using various silviculture activities that are intended to increase pollinator populations and ultimately improve wildlife habitat for game and non-game species, songbirds and migratory birds. The study will produce recommendations for sustainable timberland management practices that will benefit timberland owners and pollinator species, local wildlife and ecosystems alike. Greif will distribute the study results to industry partners, regulators and members of the academic community globally to influence positive environmental management in timberland systems.
To date, the study has found that bee colonies in managed forests were healthier than in other forests studied. In return, healthier colonies correlated with healthier forests. The bees help create more fruit in managed forests, which means more food such as blueberries, blackberries and other fruit-bearing plants is available for deer and other wildlife. Deer antler mass, for example, improved by 30 percent compared to 2008 and deer weights improved approximately 9 to 20 percent by age class in both male and female deer.