A forest plantation consists of a forest from the cultivation of trees for commercial or conservation purposes. It is made up of introduced or foreign species, or native species.
As specified by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), "Native (or natural) forests are those that have not been significantly intervened by man; and planted forests (or forest plantations) are those that man has intervened with reforestation processes to the point of changing their structure and its operation. Commonly, this type of forest is quite symmetrical: it has exact distances between the trees and it handles a maximum of two species.
An agroforestry plantation is defined as a system that combines timber tree species with agricultural crops. In the case of MLR Forestal, Teak (Tectona grandis) is planted in association with cocoa (Theobroma cacao), in which Teak, being a taller tree, provides shade and lowers the ambient temperature, according to the climatic requirements of cocoa. it has understory characteristics. The combination of species also promotes biodiversity in a plantation and provides many environmental services to the ecosystems of the area.
In accordance with Art. 25 of Law 462 "Law of Conservation, Promotion and Sustainable Development of the Forestry Sector": Plantations can be established in areas of preferably forestry aptitude or with other aptitudes, as long as there are no laws that prohibit it, and as long as it doesn´t replace natural forests with plantations. In the case of the Regulation of the same Law 462, in its article 59 it indicates that plantations can be established on fallow lands, which is consistent with degraded areas, which have generally been deforested for decades due to other economic activities.
Forestry and agroforestry companies are also known as reforestation companies because they are precisely established on degraded soils and not only provide tree cover that protects soils and water resources, but also maintain natural conservation areas.
In the case of MLR Forestal, to date it has an areas of 1,453.26 hectares of natural conservation, which represents 28 percent of the total area of the operation. The goal is to have an areas of 2,000 hectares of natural conservation. Conservation zones serve as biological corridors that allow the movement of many species between forest plantations and other existing natural forest pockets.
MLR Forestal does not have any forest concession for the use of the natural forest, because that is not the economic activity of the company, therefore, it does not extract wood from the natural forests. MLR plans to harvest the wood it has planted on the farms it owns, which were bought from farmers and ranchers; These farms were generally converted into pastures for extensive cattle ranching, presenting degraded soils, mainly due to deforestation.
Since 2013, MLR Forestal's forest plantations have been certified based on international criteria and indicators established by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
The cocoa plantations have been certified by the UTZ / Rainforest Alliance since 2017. This guarantees the environmental and social sustainability of the project, which demands quality in the methods of responsible production of the cultivation, safety of the collaborators and environmental protection in the cocoa products.
In our plantations we plant, manage and harvest teak, which is a tree that does not exist in the natural forests of Nicaragua.
Teak ( Tectona grandis L.) is native to Southeast Asia, India, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, where it can reach heights of up to 40 meters. Due to its rapid growth and the characteristics of the wood, it has become a species of interest for forest plantations in tropical areas in Africa and Latin America, where trees grow faster than in their place of origin, which decreases harvest times and makes its use more interesting every day.
The entire process of harvesting and transportation is done in strict compliance with national laws and under the observance of the governing bodies and social control.
MLR generates 500 quality jobs annually. These are equal opportunity jobs, without distinction of gender, ethnic origin, religion or political affiliation, MLR Forestal represents an opportunity for employment development in the North Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua, which is a remote and empoverished area of the country.
More than 80% of the workforce are young people from rural areas who have access to training and technical qualification in agroforestry and production technologies. Many of the technical processes are led by young people trained in the same company.
It has also recruited a considerable number of professionals who graduated from local universities, becoming one of the main employers in the region.
Teak wood is considered worldwide as a precious wood, highly valued for its high resistance, durability and stability in changing environments, versatile for countless uses, such as: exterior and interior carpentry, cladding of facades, boats, port infrastructures and bridges and more.
MLR Forestal produces teak wood with the highest genetic quality and under strict, highly technical management protocols that guarantee quality wood.
- Genetic material: Teak clones from Costa Rica (BARCA) and Malaysia, which have been genetically validated and are considered superior for these latitudes.
- Sustainable: 100% of our wood comes from FSC Certified plantations that attest to a socially responsible, environmentally sustainable and economically viable management.
- Quality Standard: Systematic and adequate management of plantations to obtain wood of constant quality.
- Privileged location: The wood is grown in the best climate and soil conditions.
- Technology: Know-how from the production and management of seedlings, site selection, sowing and management of the plantation, harvest and processing.
- Logistics : Continuous and stable supply of wood throughout the year.
MLR Forestal supports all claims regarding indigenous rights and has a very good relationship with all the communities that are neighboring its operations, as is the case in Bonanza where the company has 5% of its total operation. In Bonanza, it also has an excellent relationship with the Mayangna Sauni Arungka Matumbak Indigenous Territorial Government, with whom it collaborates closely through strategic guidelines approved by both parties. This includes a five-year collaboration agreement (2021 - 2025) and an annual operational plan based on its communal governance regulations for the Pansuhwas, Mukuswas and Ispayulilna communities.
The agreement includes inter-institutional strengthening actions, training for women and youth, technical assistance in the establishment and management of cocoa crops and native species of interest to them; employment opportunities, scholarships and reforestation of the areas affected by hurricanes Eta and Iota that hit the region in november 2020.
The vision of MLR Forestal is to create harmony with its neighbors, which is why it maintains an open channel of communication through a delegate chosen by the community. MLR Forestal has set an example to other existing private companies in the area and, through the Social Management area, has managed to sign collaboration agreements with neighboring towns and has located mailboxes for complaints and suggestions to promote social auditing of all operations. Community delegates are in charge of these mailboxes.
In addition, since 2018 the schools in these towns have received a donation of school supplies from MLR Forestal for both preschool and primary students and their teachers.
In the case of the Bosawás Biosphere Reserve, it has a buffer zone that extends for 8,355 square kilometersDue to its characteristics, it is populated among others by the municipalities that make up the Mining Triangle (Siuna, Bonanza and Rosita); it is called a buffer zone because it serves as protection of the nucleus, so the law allows establishing some sustainable investments such as the establishment of forest plantations, that are regulated by state institutions.
The 5,139.63 hectares owned by MLR Forestal in the North Caribbean are distributed between agroforestry plantations and conservation areas that have been established in the Bosawás buffer zone in Siuna and, to a lesser degree in Bonanza, these plantations not only recover degraded areas but are also the economic activity par excellence of the buffer zone because it rescues the forestry vocation of the region.
The economic activity that should be promoted in these municipalities is precisely agroforestry, since it has been proven that the teak and cacao plantations conserve the soil and the biodiversity, capture carbon dioxide and recover water sources, all this in addition to other environmental services and the generation of quality jobs.
The association of forest plants with agricultural species is an innovative and sustainable method that MLR Forestal is validating in Nicaragua and consists of locating cacao within teak plantations to take advantage of the cultivation space in a more efficient way. Cocoa requires shade because it does not withstand too high temperatures and the teak trees protect the cocoa trees from the sun.
Currently, it has a total area of 1,450.80 hectares, comprised of:
- 1,239.00 ha. cocoa with teak shade
- 2,086.82 ha. teak only
- 75.76 ha. infrastructure
- 1,453.26 ha. intended for the exclusive protection of forests and biological diversity in the buffer zone of the Bosawas Biological Reserve, in accordance with the SDG Sustainable Development Goals.
MLR Forestal will continue to grow, recovering degraded lands to give them tree cover and extend the conservation area as well. The company's goal for the year 2031 is to expand its plantations to:
6,500 hectares, distributed as follows:
- 1,500 ha. cocoa with teak shade
- 3,000 ha. teak only
- 2,000 ha. intended for the exclusive protection of forests and biological diversity in the buffer zone of the Bosawas Biological Reserve, in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals SDG.