LIFE certification - experience of a hydroelectric power plant in restoring ecosystems in the south of Brazil.
The article presents a case-study of how the efforts of a hydroelectrical power company are contributing to restore life in Paraná, in southern Brazil. The company, Itaipu, is a world leader in clean and renewable energy having produced more than 2.3 billion MWh since it started operating, in 1984. With 20 generating units and 14,000 MW of installed capacity, Itaipu provides around 15 per cent of the energy consumed in Brazil and 75 per cent of the energy consumed in Paraguay. The company is located on a basaltic line spanning the border between Argentina and Brazil. The surrounding subtropical rainforest has over 2,000 species of vascular plants and was originally home to the typical wildlife of the region: tapirs, giant anteaters, howler monkeys, ocelots, jaguars and caymans. In addition to the impacts of the installation and operation of Itaipu, prior decades of economic development in the region, mainly agricultural activities, have resulted in the loss of natural areas. To maintain and restore life in the region, the company has been contributing through a wide variety of projects such as: biodiversity corridors, reserves and sanctuaries, reforestation, seedling production, forest restoration and wildlife management, including repopulation programmes and fish farming. In recognition of all this proactive work and the resulting improved maintenance of ecosystem services, the company has been awarded the LIFE Certification.