Development and ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Tannin was born to protect the plants from the assault of fungi and bacteria. But today it can also protect them from deforestation and overexploitation. A positive effect that also extends to communities living near forests.
The possibility to extract tannin from the trees or from their fruits has promoted a flourishing local microeconomy has been generated which has allowed to prevent the extinction of rural communities and has helped to keep alive the local traditions. Here follow three successful case-histories.
Argentina: forest management and reforestation
The provinces of Chaco and Formosa in Argentina are the regions with the highest density of Quebracho colorado (Schinopsis lorentzii and balansae). In 2007 the Ley de Bosque Nativo (26.331) established the guidelines for a responsible management of the forest, classifying the territory in the following areas: exploitable areas, mixed areas and protected areas.
For exploitable and mixed areas, it has been established the maximum quantity of quebracho plants that can be cut down to extract tannin per year and per hectare, and also the minimum diameter of the trunks, implementing a traceability system that allows to monitor the origin of the collected wood.
This allows an active forest management and encourages the economic development of these rural areas. Furthermore, the local tannin industry has developed a nursery of 200,000 Quebracho seedlings that are transplanted each year to further enrich the forest.
The investment in Research and Development and the respect for raw materials are the essential prerequisites for a sustainable forest management.
Quebracho in Numbers
the hectares of Quebracho forests in Chaco, Argentina
the tons of Quebracho lumber available
the tons of Quebracho wood deriving from the vegetative growth every year
the tons of Quebracho lumber used by tannin producers (25% of annual growth)
Source: Dirección Provincial de Bosques (Argentina)
Italy, the Protection of the Bread Tree
For centuries, the Chestnut has been one of the greatest food resources of the mountain areas in Italy, so much to be renamed the “Bread Tree”.
The first laws to protect the Chestnut groves date back to the sixteenth century and set considerable fines for offenders. Even the production of Chestnut tannin had to deal with these limitations.
With the twentieth century and the improvement of economic conditions, the social importance of Chestnut trees has dropped. As a result, a gradual abandonment of these areas has started.
But without the care of man, the Chestnut trees have become prey to parasites and diseases, which in recent decades have caused a gradual weakening of the forests and a drastic decline in the harvesting of chestnuts.
Responsible forest management helps to keep it healthy. In fact, the Chestnut is able to regenerate itself, cutting a trunk at ground level allows the birth of new “shoots” that quickly turn into plants.
Also in this case, the wood cutting is regulated by strict Italian forestry regulations: the origin of each trunk is traced and must meet certain requirements (age, size of diameter etc.).
Some Data about Chestnut
the hectares of the Chestnut woods in Italy
the tons of Chestnut wood that grow spontaneously in 1 year between Piedmont and Liguria regions in northern Italy
the percentage of chestnut lumber that is used by the tannin industry
Source: Giorgio Colombo, “Environmental Sustainability Survey of ‘Tannin’ from Chestnut Wood”. Italy, 2015
The Pickers of Tara in Peru
Unlike the Quebracho and the Chestnut, Tara tannin is not extracted from the wood but from the pods, which are collected and taken to the storage centers by local farmers, the campesinos, and from here are transferred to the producers.
The collection of Tara pods has become an additional means of livelihood for the population, mostly made up of small farmers and breeders. They can attend to special training courses about the best practices of production and collection. In addition, tannin producers are involved in social responsibility programs and micro credit.
Employees receive healthcare and administrative assistance. During business hours, parents can leave the children in a corporate recreation center and get them back at their exit.
A concrete commitment that stopped the abandonment of the villages allowing the new generations to look to the future with confidence.
Tara in Numbers
the hectares of Tara plantations in Peru
the percentage of Tara that comes from spontaneous growth
the kilograms of the average production of Tara pods per plant
the families involved in the production cycle of Tara
Source: Servicio Nacional Forestal y de Fauna Silvestre. “El aprovechamiento de la especie Tara or Taya en el Marco de la Legislación forestal vigente”. Peru, 2017.
The Extraction of Tannin
The collection of vegetable sources is the first step, from which the real production process of tannin can begin. The Tara pods are reduced to powder. The Galls and the wood of the trees are crushed and macerated in warm water. A process of infusion extremely similar to that of the tea you prepare at home. Find out all the steps.