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  • Sustainable Development

Beyond Just Planting

Tree after tree, the volunteers create a forest. It was said and done. We close one more edition of “Plantar o Futuro” with nearly 1000 trees planted and the participation of almost 900 people.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes and 12 seconds

© Helder Berenguer

Do we really need to write one more report about plantations and about a project that already has four years of experience? Is it really necessary to describe, once more, what “Plantar o Futuro” is, and what we do? Yes, you can be certain! We aren’t tired of it yet and it doesn’t seem to me that we will be in the near future so, here we go again!

If the motto is still “If each one of us plants a tree, one day we will have a forest”, if the formula keeps being giving away baby trees to adoptive “parents, and if the conclusion is still bringing them to put their hands (and trees, of course!) in the dirt, there’s something new in this year’s edition. The scenery of the two plantations of this year drifted a little. We started by reforesting the rivershores of Rio Antuã, in the Municipality of Estarreja, in the rainy morning of 18th March, and kept the action alive in the União de Freguesias de Canelas e Fermelã, also in the municipality, with a sunnier morning, in the 25th of March, in a land nearby the Ribeira do Cabrão. This land, owned by the parish and previously filled with eucalyptus, with around 7000m2, was burnt by a fire last year’s summer, and is going through a process of forest reconversion, with the goal of promoting biodiversity and increasing its resistance to fire. 

Well, since it is not enough to plant a lot, but it is also necessary to plant well, we united strengths and planted a lot and well almost 1000 trees that now populate a biodiverse land. Adding to the species delivered in the University of Aveiro, oaks, birches, white willows, alders, ash trees and hawthorn, joined others like arbutus, lily of the valley tree and Frangula alnus. This way, we kept aside the common monocultures and guaranteed the necessary diversity of species. Don’t worry, we also guaranteed that all of them get along with each other and were satisfied with their new shared home.

There was also time, after lunch and as the tradition asks, for energizers and a guided visit with removal of invasive plants in between. This time, the walk was through the route of Rio Jardim, in Salreu, and through Ribeira do Cabrão, in Canelas. Besides frogs, navelworts, reed, carnivorous plants, nymphs of dragonflies and hummingbirds, we also had the opportunity of seeing eucalyptus, acacias and red crayfish from Louisiana. Yes, the three last ones mentioned are invasive, yet, they’re present in our ecosystems and there’s no way of ignoring their presence. Acknowledging these species, knowing why they need to be controlled and how, is part of raising awareness as well. It is only this way that we find out things such as the fact that acacias are part of the same family as legumes. Yep, it's true, but I wouldn’t recommend you to eat them.

Every single place has its unique silence. “Plantar o Futuro” is a mix that goes from the metallic sound of hoes digging the dirt, to the cliché whispering of the tree leaves dancing in the wind. There is laughter, serious conversations, others maybe not so much. There’s tiredness (a lot), and there are shiny eyes of mission accomplished.  It’s “only” near one thousand trees, in two days, with the help of “only” around one hundred participants, and yet, these “onlys” all together are not that lonely. Imagine how it could be if this formula was repeated in more places. 

With our trees with firm roots on the ground, we caught the chance to put our eyes in the land, since, even if the sky is full of things to be seen, today the stars are the yet shy leaves of what will be a greener future. And it's pride, this time it’s not modesty, that every single person involved deserves to feel. With this said, we finish one more edition of this project that is here for the future.

See here the summary video of this 4th edition of “Plantar o Futuro”:

“Plantar o Futuro” is organized by Agora Aveiro in collaboration with the  University of Aveiro and Municipality of Estarreja. It counts with Glicínias Plaza as "Main Partner", RODI Sinks and Caetano Auto as "Golden Partners" and SIRO - Substratos Profissionais and Casa Martelo as "Silver Partners". It is carried out in partnership with the Biology Department of the University of Aveiro, Núcleo de Estudantes de Biologia - AAUAv and the Exodus Aveiro Fest. It also has the support of the Municipality of Aveiro, the "Voluntariado Jovem para a Natureza e Florestas" Program and IPDJ - Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude, I.P..

Liliana Macedo