Supporting Wetlands With Sugars From Fiber

Try sugars from fiber for yourself in our delicious hand-crafted chocolate bars.

While many might associate the day with groundhogs, February 2 is also World Wetlands Day, a United Nations international day that celebrates wetlands and enhances efforts to protect these crucial ecosystems.

At The Supplant Company, we care about the health of wetlands because our efforts to make farmland more productive help support these crucial ecosystems. By upcycling otherwise unused agricultural fiber into sugars from fiber, we’re able to make every acre of farmland more productive, reducing the need for deforestation — one of the main agricultural practices that damages wetlands.

Wetlands, sometimes called “nature’s filters,” are important because they are hotspots for biodiversity, and include mangroves, marshes, and seagrass beds. They provide valuable carbon sinks, and stores of fresh water, as well as numerous sources of livelihood for indigenous communities worldwide. Because they store so much carbon, the United Nations says they are also “important to sustainable development and biodiversity and … help reduce disaster risk, as they mitigate floods and protect coastlines.”

However, the UN also reports that wetlands are disappearing three times faster than forests. Many wetlands are impacted by unsustainable agricultural practices, including sugarcane farming.

Here are some important things to note.

Agriculture Affects Wetland Water Levels

Agriculture is one of the main causes of wetland habitat loss, reports the World Wildlife Fund, which estimates that about half of the world’s wetlands “have been lost to drainage and conversion to agriculture,” though that figure is even higher — 70–90 percent — in Europe and the U.S..

Wetlands get damaged when polluted effluent runs off agricultural fields and into water systems like rivers and streams. This damage can also happen when excess runoff from agricultural irrigation changes the natural flow or nutrient levels of existing wetlands.

Sometimes, water that feeds wetlands is diverted for agricultural use, making them drier than they should be. For example, the WWF says, “sugar beet irrigation in Andalucia, Spain, is contributing to lowered water levels in rivers such as the Guadalquivir.” This practice means that important wetlands suffer from a lack of water in dry summer months, damaging their ecosystems.

Sugar Cane Agriculture Damages Wetland Ecosystems

Runoff from sugar cane fields is one of the key drivers of wetland biodiversity loss, reports the WWF. Many of the most sensitive and biodiverse wetland ecosystems are in the same geographic regions where sugarcane grows best, and the impact there — from Brazil to Australia to the Florida Everglades — is deeply noticeable. For example, the WWF reports that “nutrient-rich runoff from sugar cane fields in Florida is held largely responsible for the decline of the Everglades,” where nearly 200,000 hectares have been deforested for cane cultivation.

Sugar Refineries Damage Wetlands and Communities

Sugar refining and processing is also dangerous for wetlands. In another report, the World Wildlife Fund explains that not only do sugar mills “flue gases, soot, ash, ammonia and other substances” that enter the ecosystem, they also discharge wastewater, solid waste, and leftover plant matter into freshwater ecosystems. As this material dissipates and decomposes, it absorbs oxygen, suffocating fish and damaging plants. In countries like Pakistan, water extraction for sugarcane agriculture and refining has damaged wetlands to the point that about 80 percent of people who once relied on fishing or boating in these areas for their livelihoods are now unemployed.

We’ve developed our sustainable sugars from fiber, which upcycles unused agricultural fiber to create a product that is more sustainable than refined cane sugar. Using sugars from fiber helps reduce the need for extensive sugarcane agriculture, protecting sensitive wetlands from further destruction, and helping these natural ecosystems return to a healthier state.

Try sugars from fiber for yourself in our delicious hand-crafted chocolate bars.

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The Supplant Company

The Supplant Company

Supplant™ sugars from fiber is a brand new blend of sugars found naturally in plant fiber