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A Formula with Roots

It was last Saturday that, with the combined efforts of our volunteers and partners, the first action of the project “Plantar o Futuro” went from several unknowns to an equation with solutions.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes and 39 seconds

© Helder Berenguer

After almost two years of being unable to plant trees due to the pandemic, the dawn of 26th February arrived. Volunteers from Agora Aveiro and the team from Estarreja Municipality met in the Trail of Fermelã, in Canelas, to make the preparations and anxiously await the arrival of the partners of the project “Plantar o Futuro” (Plant your Future). One after the other, the participants began to arrive, and after a short tutorial on “how to properly plant a tree”, we put on our gloves, grabbed our hoes and began to remove areas and volumes of soil. This was how the first reforestation action of this 3rd edition of Plantar o Futuro began.

The formula, which had been on paper for so long, was the simplest to apply. All we had to do was grab some ash, black willow, alder and poplar trees, subtract a pot that was already a certain age, loosen some roots (not square) and add the tree to the hole previously opened. The result? An opportunity for these trees to grow. During the morning, and with only 30 participants, more than 200 native trees were planted, contributing to the recovery of the native forest. The trees planted will help to shore up the land, filter water, provide shelter for local biodiversity and shade for visitors of the trail.

The choice of native species planted on this trail was also a very linear function. We took into consideration our variables such as site suitability, proximity to (and availability of) water, as well as the presence of other species in the vicinity. Over time, these are expected to develop and contribute to the proper functioning of the ecosystem. 

But wait, it took many months of planning, to just stop there. You see, several proven expressions that are used to combat the loss of native vegetation. In addition to the planting of native trees, there is another one that stands out with a high degree of importance: the control of invasive species. For this reason, the afternoon was dedicated to the peeling of acacias, a major threat to local flora, in a process that involves carefully removing a circular fraction of bark interrupting the passage of sap to its roots, causing them to begin to dry out.

With tired brains from so much exercise (and bodies too), we finally went back home with the feeling of an accomplished mission. In a few weeks, we’ll be back with the new students from the University of Aveiro. Curious to know how it goes?

“Plantar o Futuro” is organised by Agora Aveiro, in collaboration with the Group for Sustainability of University of Aveiro and the Municipality of Estarreja. It counts with the sponsorship of Prio Energy as Main Sponsor, Caetano Auto as Golden Sponsor, and Casa Martelo, Grestel and Siro as Silver Sponsors. It also counts with the partnership of Núcleo de Estudantes de Biologia - AAUAv, Exodus Aveiro Fest,, and Possibility Design. It has the support of Municipality of Aveiro, Programa Voluntariado Jovem para a Natureza e Florestas, and Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude I.P..

Nuno Afonso