The project arose from the need to ecologically recover the Serra de Monchique and help the local community manage the forest sustainably, making it more resilient to fires in the future.
With the goal of helping reforest the areas affected by the 2018 fire in Monchique and increasing conservation efforts of the Carvalho-de-Monchique, a species of tree that in Portugal only grows naturally in the Serra de Monchique and the Mira basin.
The project is the result of a partnership between Ryanair, the Spatial Planning and Environment Study Group (GEOTA), the Algarve Tourism Region (RTA), the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF) and the City Council of Monchique.
This initiative already has visible results on the ground: to date, 260,000 indigenous trees have been planted and around 60 owners and producers have been supported.
The relaunch of Renature Monchique was marked by a session that culminated in the planting of five Carvalhos-de-Monchique, a species that is classified as “critically endangered”. As a result of the fires and other threats affecting the Serra de Monchique, it is estimated that there are only 250 Carvalhos-de-Monchique. One of the main goals is to protect the species, through the plantation of new trees, in hopes of increasing their presence in the region again.
Over the past four years, GEOTA has been teaching and encouraging owners to actively manage their forestry properties. Working closely with the owners so that they are able to protect the ecological and economic value of their region through an indigenous forest. The most planted species are the oak and strawberry trees, as they are the ones that occupy the largest area in the Serra de Monchique and the ones that have the greatest economic interest for the owners. GEOTA believes that this is one of the ways to increase the resilience of the forest, not only in Monchique but throughout the whole country.
The project now enters its fifth year with the largest financing since it was launched: €400,000, provided by the airline Ryanair. This funding will allow the plantation of an additional 125,000 indigenous trees by April of next year. In total, the investment in the Serra de Monchique amounts to €1.4 million.
Renature Monchique is a successful example of a public-private partnership in favour of preserving and enhancing Monchique’s unique natural assets. It is also an example of responsible environmental policy on the part of Ryanair, whose carbon offsetting program allows it to support initiatives as worthwhile as this, helping to reforest the areas of the mountain most affected by the fire that consumed more than 27 thousand hectares of forest and agricultural land in 2018.
This program managed to convert a tragedy into an opportunity for sustainable forest management and protection of the interior landscape.
The ICNF considers that this project is important to increase the biodiversity and resilience of the Serra de Monchique and encourages civil society to participate in the management of natural spaces.
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