Renature Monchique to plant over 75,000 trees until March 2023
RTA president João Fernandes (left) and GEOTA president João Dias Coelho (right) at Renature Monchique's relaunch event on Thursday

Renature Monchique to plant over 75,000 trees until March 2023

Project has seen over 200,000 trees planted in Monchique 

Over 75,000 trees are due to be planted in Monchique until March 2023 as part of ‘Renature Monchique’, a project launched in 2019 to help replant vast areas of the borough devastated by a massive wildfire in 2018.

The project was relaunched on Thursday (November 10) in an event attended by representatives from the entities behind the initiative, which is led by environmental NGO GEOTA and involves partnerships with Monchique Council, the Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation, the Algarve Tourism Board (RTA) and Irish low-cost airline Ryanair.

“At a time when climate change is being discussed at COP27, GEOTA recalls that we must look seriously at forests. Extreme climate events, like big fires, are going to become increasingly destructive,” GEOTA says in a statement to the press.

“Renature Monchique is a proactive project in the renovation of burnt areas with the goal of creating forests which are more resilient in the face of catastrophic events,” it adds.

The project will see over 75,000 trees planted, including cork oak trees, chestnut trees, strawberry trees, Portuguese oak trees, European ash trees and European elders.

“There will be a reinforcement and a big investment in the plantation of Monchique oaks, an emblematic tree in the region which is critically endangered,” GEOTA president João Dias Coelho explained at the project’s relaunch event.

So far, the project has been responsible for the planting of over 200,000 trees and has provided support to over 60 landowners and their families affected by the fire.

Thomas Fowler, Director of Sustainability at Ryanair, says that the airline is delighted to support the project for another year.

“In the last three years, due to the contributions of Ryanair clients, Monchique has been able to plan over 200,000 trees. With Ryanair’s help, passenger donations will help plant another 75,000 trees,” Fowler said.

RTA president João Fernandes has described the project as one he has “special affection” for.

“It is not only because of what it represents for nature conservation in the Algarve, by supporting the recovery of unique forest habitats in areas destroyed by flames in 2018 (some of which are part of Rede Natura 200), but also because I had a chance to follow it from the start and witness its evolution,” the tourism chief said.

“The restoration of these cultural landscapes greatly benefits the competitiveness of the region, considering that more and more tourists nowadays seek destinations which invest in sustainability,” Fernandes added.

Monchique mayor Paulo Alves has stressed the impact of the project, which is “supporting in a simple and unbureaucratic way the affected landowners and incentivising the sustainable forest management of a territory which is worn out by recurring wildfires.

“This project shows that it is possible for society to contribute in a decisive and responsible way to fighting climate change, and consequentially, to increase the resilience of the territory to extreme climate events,” said the mayor.

Meanwhile, ICNF regional director Castelão Rodrigues said the project is one of several initiatives designed to make Monchique “more resilient and biodiverse” and stressed that it helps inspire everyone to make a change for the better to protect “our natural spaces.”

By Michael Bruxo

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