CMPC CEO on the forest fires: “The emergency is not over.”
As a result of the fires in south-central Chile in the summer of 2023, Francisco Ruiz-Tagle said, “There is another emergency that is less visible but very important, which we have referred to as an environmental emergency.”
CMPC CEO Francisco Ruiz-Tagle spoke with CNN Chile about the company’s plan to rebuild and restore the areas damaged by last summer’s fires that mainly affected the Regions of La Araucanía, Biobío, Maule and Ñuble in Chile.
“I’d say the emergency is not over,” he said, and explained that in addition to the fact that there are still fires being lit, “There is another emergency that is less visible but very important, which we have referred to as an environmental emergency.” He commented that there are thousands of hectares of treeless terrain, which brings with it the risks of floods when the rains come.
Faced with the emergency situation, the company presented the Reconstruye-Restaura [Rebuild-Restore] plan for the area. One of its measures is to create a biological corridor 140 kilometers in length. In terms of circumference, it will span the area of the Nahuelbuta mountain range, between the district of Angol and Nacimiento in the Regions of La Araucanía and Biobío. “This has to do with a green road, which connects areas where there is natural forest, enabling fauna to transit through the corridor as well as the movement and dispersion of flora,” explained Francisco Ruiz-Tagle.
In addition, the plan includes measures to increase the protection of waterways and sources, the extension of firebreaks and continuity breaks in forests, more protection zones or rings around populated communities and the promotion of agro-social projects in the area. “But beyond the fact that many things can be done, if the issue of intentionality is not addressed, this won’t work,” said the CMPC CEO.
He clarified that the ecological restoration measures “do not mean that what we have done so far is wrong,” and affirmed that CMPC is a certified company with a high standard of sustainable forest management, the same requirements demanded of Scandinavians, Europeans, and New Zealanders. “We have decided to go further than that, because we have also learned a great deal,” he said.
Check out the full interview: