This is exactly what the national political group PAN (People, Animals, Nature) is attempting to achieve. To that end, on 30 September, they recommended to the Municipal Assembly of Faro that they join the Earth Protective Communities (EPC) network, and create a georeferenced register of their trees. This means they would go and identify, one by one, all the trees or shrubs in the parks, streets and squares around Faro. They would then upload their details onto an electronic database, that’s updated regularly by the forest workers in charge of them, and the information would be made available to all citizens.
This petition is due to the unpopular decision to remove some trees without warning in Faro town recently. It’s caused quite a stir, and as Paulo Baptista, the municipal deputy of PAN explains: “We must not think it’s natural that the removal of trees is carried out without the citizens having a say, since trees are everyone’s heritage. Situations such as the removal of the orange trees from Largo da Sé, or the felling of trees in Praceta Dr. Clementino de Brito Pinto, of which only about ten specimens are left, should not happen again.”
If this proposal is accepted it will mean that every tree will essentially be given its own Facebook page. The tree will have its own profile and be able to let people know where it is, what it is, who looks after it, how healthy it is, and most importantly, if it gets itself into any trouble - it can send out notifications that will alert the public within 10 days of anything being done to it.
PAN hopes this measure will put an end to the radical pruning of trees.
But it’s not just the trees that get into trouble. Many different creatures live in all kinds of tree houses, and PAN wants to make it so that nobody except professionals are allowed to remove bird nests, or their eggs.
Finally, the removal of trees should only be carried out in an emergency where they represent a risk to people or property.
If this proposal is accepted then Faro will become the latest member of the Earth Protective Communities network which describes itself as a “global grassroots movement in which towns/cities, educational institutions, businesses and other organisations work together to protect the land, wildlife, air, soil and water.” They plan to make all the towns in their network carbon neutral, to protect and improve their local ecosystems, and reduce their use of
single- use plastic.
As Paulo Baptista concluded, “These proposals are all just common sense.
“Their application will transform the municipality and bring it closer to the best environmental practices”.