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Ecology

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Conservation & Biodiversity

Sustainable development is not feasible without environmental stewardship. Therefore, it is of vital importance for Natural Habitats to monitor its impacts on the environment and to implement all available methods for its preservation. The company uses only organic agriculture practices and pays close attention to nature conservation and biodiversity enhancement.

Our farmers in Ecuador are certified with Ecuadorian National Regulation for Organic Agriculture, European Organic Regulation, and USDA Organic by the French certification organization Ecocert. On top or organic certification, out farmers and operations are also RSPO, Fair For Life, Rainforest Alliance. Kosher and Non-GMO certified. Our operational areas undergo annual external audits to ensure their internal systems are working correctly to guarantee the integrity of our products. Natural Habitats (trading) offices in the US, Ecuador, and the Netherlands are also certified against these standards to ensure the proper handling of products and ensure full traceability from farm to fork.

Regenerative agriculture protects soil health and increases plant diversity

After cutting down or burning virgin forests, conventional palm growers make things even worse with mass palm plantings. Monocultures (growing only one crop at a time in any given area) don’t exist in nature for good reason

Each plant takes different nutrients out of the soil. Growing just one crop throws soil nutrient content out of balance. With no other plants around to attract beneficial wildlife or add different nutrients to the soil, monocultures are more susceptible to pests and weeds. That requires farmers to use more pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. It also creates less habitat for native animal species.
Multi-cropping keeps soil nutrients in balance. We support farmers that plant a variety of species around the palms, such as passionfruit, cacao, and plantain. Farmers plant certain species together that support each other’s growth. These plants can attract beneficial insects, supply key soil nutrients, or provide the shade or sun needed by other plants. Planting legumes fix nitrogen levels in the soil – a key nutrient for palm productivity.

Healthy Soils Mean Healthy Ecosystems

Farmers put old leaves on the ground as a natural fertilizer, and to keep water in the soil. This regenerative agricultural practice has the added benefit of providing shelter for amphibians and reptiles, which are vital to the local ecosystem.

Regenerative agriculture uses principles like multi-cropping and under-cropping to protect soil health and biodiversity, providing essential food and habitat to a variety of species.

IMPORTANCE OF BIODIVERSITY

Natural Habitats identifies the high conservation value areas within farmers’ plantations and installs proper indicators around those areas. It is important for the company to train the farmers and the communities about the importance of the protection and the proper management of those biodiversity spots.

ASSISTANCE IN SECURING ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITS

National legislation of Ecuador requires growers to have an Environmental Management Plan for their plantations. As the development of the plan by an independent consultant is fairly expensive, Natural Habitats supports farmers by developing the environmental management plans, free of charge, for each production unit of the suppliers of palm oil fruit, as a process to acquire the Environmental Permit. The Fair For Life Fund is used to pay for the fees to receive the permits.

REFORESTATION WITH NATIVE PALMS

The company conducted a field assessment to identify fragile ecosystems, including watersheds, which require protection and rehabilitation. Based on the results of the study, a reforestation plan was developed that Natural Habitats applies to all growing and production operations.

EDUCATION ON WASTE MANAGEMENT

The employees of Natural Habitats regularly organize community cleaning projects and trainings on waste management. The company aims to teach people to manage, dispose and recycle their garbage responsibly.

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