Hilfe für den Kiefernwald von Leiria - NIKIN EU

Help for the pine forest of Leiria

Our current tree planting project is being implemented in the formerly huge pine forest of Leiria in Portugal. Until five years ago, this was a magnificent forest and a popular recreational area. Unfortunately, practically the entire forest burned down in 2017. The reforestation project aims to restore as much of the landscape as possible.

The pine forest of Leiria was originally planted to stop the progression and decay of the dunes and to protect the city of Leiria from the wind-blown sand from these dunes. Between 1279 and 1325 the forest area was expanded to 11,500 hectares.

Over 700 years of history

This pine forest was particularly important to the Portuguese during the time of discovery, as the wood from the pine trees was used to build the Portuguese "caravel" (an ocean-going ship).  The resin that was used to protect these wooden ships was also obtained from the pine forest of Leiria.

The entire forest was on fire

Until five years ago, this was a dense forest of ancient pines and other trees, a place for many nature-related activities such as hiking, cycling and picnicking. Various viewpoints and natural water sources could be found along the paths. Then came the catastrophe: In a forest fire in 2017, practically the entire forest fell victim to flames within just 24 hours, so that today only a little more than 1,500 hectares are intact.

Avoid the “tipping point”

With our reforestation project we want to support the restoration of biological diversity, which in turn promotes the local ecosystem and adaptation to climate change. Overall, the project aims to avoid the “tipping point” at which desertification is highly likely in this area. The planned measures include the planting of native tree species such as maritime pines, cork oaks and strawberry trees. Since this area borders the Atlantic Ocean, its conservation will also help mitigate coastal erosion due to sea level rise - a foreseeable problem in the near future.

Tree planting professionals at work

The planting will be carried out by a qualified team from our partner organization «One Tree Planted», with a focus on local employment and training. As part of the reforestation project, an awareness and education campaign and activities involving the local community will also be developed.

Hand in hand with the locals

Planting activities for volunteers and local schools will be offered during the planting season - not only to underline the ecological importance of this area, but also to raise awareness of the severity of the consequences of wildfires and the long-term effects of climate change on this forest ecosystem sharpen. In this way we also contribute to reducing the ecological footprint of the project.

(Images: One Tree Planted)

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