Northeast Portugal is struggling with drought, forest fires and desertification. In accordance with the recommendations of the recent IPCC report with a plea for reforestation, we propose to plant a mix of drought-resistant native tree species in the Faia Brava nature park. ATNatureza strives to restore natural ecosystems and the Mediterranean forest is a very important biotope in this. Forest restoration leads to several positive effects. First of all, the now highly impoverished soil is again enriched with organic matter, the soil will retain more water, biodiversity increases, wood and cork production, and CO2 is captured. Moreover, the area becomes more resilient to natural fires.

From its start ATNatureza 2005 is working  on reforestation. Unfortunately, the survival of the young plantings was generally low, mainly due to the dry summer. We propose an improved design. Our objective is to build a showcase of reforestation on degraded soil, which appears as a seed for natural regeneration in the longer term.

ATN will install four fenced mini-plots (0.25 ha: 50x50m) spread out in the field and plant  a mix of drought-resistant tree species. The trees are planted in a group wild heterogeneous plant context. The plots will form cores for natural forest regeneration in a larger area. The four forest plots together capture a minimum of 160 tonnes of CO2.

We observe that soil life is at a very minimum and organic matter is almost disappeared in the soil. To bring live back in the impoverished soil, in the first year we will sow a so-called green fertilizer in the plots, also with Leguminosae crops like vetch or lupine to fix nitrogen in the soil. Next autumn we will plant the young trees in the plots. 

In our nursery we will cultivate the young trees, paying attention to acidity of the soil and mycorrhiza. In the plots the saplings will be cared for 5 years and we avoid that ungulates eat the saplings and wild boar destroy the young trees by rooting. Organic matter is added to the planting hole during planting and the trees get water in the dry months (max 2x a month).

To limit the regular donation of water, as experiment we will try Groasis water boxes in 1 parcel. Groasis has successfully carried out reforestation in desert areas. Among other things, the water box catches morning dew and replenishes the water supply in the box.

Forestry expert Ronald Buiting, who knows the local conditions very well, will supervise our forestry activities.


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