We’re only at the beginning of ArBOR’s activities, But we’re already involved in some active projects.
See what we’re doing …
PROJECTS FOR 2021-2022
Although we have big ambitions for the longer term, we intend to build our portfolio of projects slowly. We need to find our feet as an organisation and gather the necessary resources – in terms of people, finance, connections – which will help us succeed. We want to ensure we don’t compromise our ability to successfully deliver on our projects.
If you’re excited by any of these projects and would love to work with us on them, come and join us! You just need to become a member of the association to get involved (though it’s not necessary to be a member to volunteer with us or join our planting days). We welcome your help and enthusiasm!
It’s also possible to bring your own project to the association and realise it with the help of our umbrella framework, membership and volunteer reach (including the European Solidarity Corps). See ‘Branch out from our Tree‘ for more details.
REFORESTATION OF THE COMMONLANDS
A reforestation project of deciduous tree species in partnership with the Pai das Donas Commonlands Governing Board, the Pai das Donas Improvements Commission, and the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF).
Last year we completed the reforestaion of 9 hectares and will be undertaking a further 15 hestares in the second phase this winter. The area to be replanted is mostly exposed slopes, with shallow and fragile soils following previous clear-cutting of pine forest and substantial post-fire erosion.
However, there is still evidence of rip lines created 30 years ago which have prevented total soil loss, as well as holes where tree roots burnt out. In these sites, soil organic matter, fire ashes and the finest clay and sludge particles (from the erosion of the schist bedrock) have accumulated. These sites retain water, soil biota and fertility to a much greater extent and represent ideal planting sites.
We began the regeneration of the forest with oak, ash and sweet chestnut, and this year are adding cork oak and more oak.
Local communities in these valleys have been saving and exchanging seeds for generations and those of us who have moved here do the same, often bringing new varieties and new food plant species with us.
As each season goes by, what we grow becomes better adapted to local conditions.
While seeds are exchanged within the community all the time, we want to increase access and availability by creating a community seedbank of these varieties for free exchange throughout the area on a bring-one-take-one basis. This not only ensures the preservation of local varieties, but increases the resilience of our local food supply, giving people the chance to grow a wider diversity of crops and varieties. It also allows newcomers to the area to start their gardens with varieties which are already well adapted to local conditions.
We also want to save and exchange seeds of local native forest species, encouraging everyone to increase the diversity of species growing on their land and to facilitate the regeneration of healthy natural ecosystems in these valleys.
We have a wealth of deep local knowledge, much of it multigenerational, amongst the local population of these valleys. We will be starting a project to collect and record as much of it as we can before it’s lost and transform it into a community resource going forward.
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Rua da Capela 36
3305-037 Pai das Donas