Why is eucalyptus globulus the preferred tree species to produce Navigator Paper?
Of Australian origin, the blue gum tree was first brought to Portugal about 150 years ago, where it found a similar climate to its native land. Its growth depends on sun and water, which Portugal has plenty of, and is less dependent on soil quality, which is good because Portugal’s topsoil is thin and rocky (and not as suitable for growing annual crops such as wheat and corn as countries further north such as the UK and Germany). It grows well in both hot weather (because its leaves turn away from the sun) and cold weather, meaning that it can be harvested in 10-12 years (as opposed to 40-100 for trees in Scandinavia).
““ITS GROWTH DEPENDS ON SUN AND WATER, WHICH PORTUGAL HAS PLENTY OF...”
Is the harvesting of eucalyptus globulus related to soil erosion?
The eucalyptus globulus tree, used to produce Navigator, takes 10-12 years to
reach the ideal size for harvesting. Once harvested, the tree stub sprouts new
These will go on to grow new trees, while the trunk is used to produce paper and energy.
The same root system can be used up to three times, meaning that the soil may be undisturbed for up to 36 years, a much longer period of time when compared to annual rotations done in intensive agriculture.
Does eucalyptus globulus absorb extremely high quantities of water?
eucalyptus only absorbs the water quantity necessary for its growth rate. However, it is not always absorbing water, thanks to its own water management efficiency. With neither long nor deep roots, the tree can regulate transpiration through its leaves, retaining excess water to use during dry periods. Moreover, Eucalyptus water use is within the same consumption range of other tree species.
“IT’S A TREEWITH A VERY EFFICIENT USE OF WATER.”
Does the eucalyptus globulus crop reduce biodiversity in its plantation areas?
People usually assume that eucalyptus may reduce biodiversity in plantation areas because they absorb a lot of nutrients from the soil, not leaving enough for other species to strive. But it’s not like that. Such reduction only happens in nonmanaged forests, where eucalyptus are allowed to grow wildly. If eucalyptus forests are managed responsibly, biodiversity can and does exist, which is the case of The Navigator Company forests.
““IF EUCALYPTUS FORESTS ARE MANAGED RESPONSIBLY, BIODIVERSITY CAN AND DOES EXIST...”
How many trees are necessary to produce one ton of paper?
One ton of paper (400 reams A4 in 80g) is produced with the wood of 20 average eucalyptus trees. Thus, it takes about 5% of an eucalyptus tree to make a ream of paper.
Where do all the eucalyptus trees used to make the Navigator Company Paper come from? Is It just from Portugal?
The wood used by The Navigator Company in its production comes mainly from forests in Portugal. Another important wood origin is Spain which, together with Portugal, represents around 90% of eucalyptus supply used to make pulp and paper.
Does It take a lot of water to produce paper?
On average, to produce 1 ton of paper we need around 9 m3 of water. A large percentage of this water is reused after undergoing a treatment process and the remaining water becomes wastewater.
“IF EUCALYPTUS FORESTS ARE MANAGED RESPONSIBLY, BIODIVERSITY CAN AND DOES EXIST...”
Why do we find strong smell near pulp and paper mills?
Kraft pulp and paper mills do have a characteristic smell. This happens because during
the pulp making process, wood is decomposed through boiling and use of chemicals,
releasing an organically inoffensive but odorous Sulphur gas known as mercaptan and
other reduced Sulphur compounds.
That’s the reason behind the strong smell. This gas is produced in very low concentrations and is not harmful in any way.
“…DURING THE PULP MAKING PROCESS, WOOD IS DECOMPOSED THROUGH BOILING AND USE OF CHEMICALS”
Are the trees grown naturally or do they receive chemical / genetic treatments?
Once they are planted, trees grow naturally. Before that, in order to ensure their quality, they go through a selection process. First, they go through an insertion phase, in which ramifications of mother trees are transplanted into the new tree to guarantee the quality is maintained. Then, the trees undergo observation during 3 weeks and are treated with organic fertilizer, to assure their growth. After being stabilized, they are then planted and let to grow on their own.
When is a eucalyptus ready to be cut for pulp making purpose?
eucalyptus is ready to cut at 12 years old. That’s the time the tree grows faster and has better yield. One tree can provide up to 3 cuts, only after the 3rd cut we need to take the root system out and plant a new tree.
Is The Navigator Company cutting down more trees than It's planting?
No. Actually, The Navigator Company forests are managed in a way so there are
always more trees growing than those cut. For instance, we can think of it as a line of
12 trees. Now, since we wait 12 years for a tree to be ready for making pulp, we plant
12 trees with a one year distance from each other. After 12 years we have 1 tree ready
to be cut while the other 11 are growing, being the 2nd tree 11 years old and the 12th
tree 1 year old.
This way there are always more trees growing and the cuts are made following a certain order so the trees keep growing in the best conditions.
“...THERE ARE ALWAYS MORE TREES GROWING...”
Are there any non-renewable materials used in the paper making process?
The main materials used for the production of paper are renewable (wood, starch, etc.). Only a small part of the materials (around 10%) aren’t, such as mineral materials, sodium chloride, caustic sodium, sulfuric acid, liquid oxygen and hydrogen peroxide.
“THE MAIN MATERIALS USED FOR THE PRODUCTION OF PAPER ARE RENEWABLE...”
What are the benefits of an integrated paper mill?
An integrated paper mill has many benefits. Producing everything in the same site
reduces costs significantly.
There are no pulp drying and transportation costs and it allows having a full process control adapted to the pulp characteristics in order to optimize paper costs. When pulp is dried, it loses some papermaking characteristics, which is also another reason why recycled fibres are worse than virgin fibres for paper production (together with the fact that each recycling operation impacts the fibres significantly). In an integrated mill we don’t need to use dried pulp to produce our papers, meaning we preserve the maximum pulp papermaking potential.