A 10-year legacy of the CZP and its contributions
The practical evolution of the CZP was motivated through a main ecosystem service, the Carbon. The implementation and conduction of the Program is linked to the UFV, an important Brazilian HEI. The motivation for this study was to show this legacy over the 10 years of its existence. The CZP can serve as a model for the development of other actions with the same focus on other institutions in the world. The engagement of HEIs and students can collaborate decisively in tackling climate change, since HEIs play a central role in defining strategies and training leaders with knowledge of this theme.12,16,17
Studies related to the role of HEI in the management of GHG emissions have undergone significant advances in recent years.23–28However, in Brazil there are still few studies related to the theme.29–31 No study has demonstrated the practical application of the management of GHG emissions carried out by a Program consolidated in Brazilian HEIs. Although the CZP is mainly linked to FW carried out at the UFV, its consolidated structure promotes the ability to implement carbon management in any HEI in the world.
Other important studies were carried out reinforcing the importance of the leadership of the HEI in facing climate change. In Mexico and the United States, for example, HEIs are encouraged to have GHG reduction and neutralization targets, but in Brazil, little has been said about the contribution of HEIs to NDCs.32,33 In addition to the central role of HEIs, previously mentioned, it is necessary to reinforce that this sector can represent an expressive global contribution to the reduction of GHG emissions.34 In this context, program management mechanisms related to efforts reduce GHG emission need to be more effective considering the role of people in this process.35,36
The leadership and commitment of representatives and others involved in the CZP can be compared to the case study developed at the University of Greifswald in Germany.37 Thus, as in Greifswald, the results over the legacy of the CZP seem to have been driven by the commitment and stance assumed by those involved in the Program, not requiring the formal signing of agreements related to the reduction and compensation of GHG. The co-benefits provided to both the academic community and the society, which receives the actions developed within the framework of the CZP, generated a mutual synergy capable of sustaining the debate on “Climate change”, which is very recurrent among the social actors involved. These co-benefits can be treated as legacies, and the main ones are highlighted below:
The students' technical and scientific knowledge was being improved during the evolution of the CZP. As presented, the GHG survey methodologies in the FW were modified according to the learning evolution of those involved. This aspect is important to be highlighted, since it is understood that the technical discussions were substantial and allowed the survey of emissions data to be adapted to the reality of each edition of the event. Thus, there was an improvement in the technical-scientific analysis of GHG management by the students involved. This experience can be a key to the experimental learning and success of environmental management programs.33 The GHG quantification and balance tools have undergone a great evolution during this period and currently allowed the development of a more consistent platform that allows the updating of important indicators in a simpler way.19
Planting native seedlings have promoted an essential legacy for generating a database with the performance of approximately 80 tree species planted in a degraded area in southeastern Brazil. Some important studies have been published recently focusing on the performance of several species of interest for forest restoration.38–40 The relevance of these studies lies in the need to develop a solid database on the performance of native species of the Atlantic Forest, mainly for younger ages.41 Recently, the importance of consistent data on forest restoration in Brazil has increased, due to the international commitments made by Brazil, the reformulation of Brazilian forestry legislation,42–44 and also the biggest environmental tragedy of Mariana, MG, occurred in 2015.45,46
The pillar of the CZP is related to the ecosystem service of Carbon; however, the focus related to forest restoration is quite prevalent.18 Thus, there is a substantial technical and intellectual contribution to the development of this theme among those involved in the program, allowing the interface between these themes and the expansion of knowledge related to environmental management.47 However, it is important to highlight that the neutralization of GHG by trees has been questioned by specialized literature.48,49 However, the CZP in addition to uses methodologies that promote carbon storage in the forest in a sustainable way over time,50 also explores the multiple benefits of carbon neutralization achieved by planting forest species. In addition, the neutralization plantations function as a study laboratory that allows the development of scientific research, and educational activities in disciplines related to efficient management of land use, forestry, recovery of degraded areas, seed production and dendrology.
The carbon neutralization plantations are located in an area easily accessible to urban residents, who can enjoy ecosystem services such as landscape comfort. The approval of Law number 2,875/2020 and Decree number 5,622/2021 in Viçosa, MG, demonstrated the commitment and dialogue between Science and Politics in the municipality.51,52 Although the importance of legislation related to climate change is widespread,53 the direct influence of the dialogue between science and politics at the municipal level in this topic had not yet been verified in the literature.
Perspectives of the CZP - Federal University of Viçosa
The evolution of the CZP has been important to consolidate the technical and scientific background of the actors involved and reveal a pilot program in the management of GHG emissions. UFV is expected to expand the financial resources allocated to this program to offset the GHG emissions of the entire campus and promote the implementation of the program in other HEIs. This effort shows the environmental commitment of the HEIs and helps to improve international environmental indicators that have been evaluated at UFV.54
Other forms of GHG neutralization should be implemented in the coming years, aiming to link other forest restoration techniques to the mitigation of global climate change.55–57 It is expected a greater reach of environmental awareness and a greater number of studies promoted by the CZP, due to the greater visibility and the allocation of resources. The plantations of the CZP fulfill their function of storing carbon in the plant biomass of forests; however, in the next 10 years, a careful evaluation of the indicators considered for the planned carbon neutralization must be carried out.38 Currently, it is possible to conclude that the planned neutralization is being achieved because the minimum average is 6.0 kg of CO2 individual−1 year−1.
In this study, it was prioritized the presentation of the institutional structure of the CZP to provide a review of the program, including its social context and legacy reaching up to the present day, as a way to encourage other institutions to establish carbon emission management programs.