Avoid the emission of 5.940 tons of CO2 a year, through the plantation of around 270.000 native trees – stone pines, cork tree and medronheiro;
Recover 600 ha of burnt area through the plantation and exploitation of the endogenous resources. Besides the trees that will be planted, the project includes the exploitation of a herd of goats, apiculture, and agriculture;
Preserve and promote wildlife and biodiversity. For example, through the preservation of small clusters of natural regeneration of native species, every time they exist.
Full involvement of a community of more than 130 small owners, mainly elderly people;
Better economic conditions for the small owners through the income generated from selling the agro-forest products;
Local economic development, privileging local companies for the project development;
Generation of local jobs: estimations point to at least five new jobs right away and, on a second phase, ten. Besides this, there will always be the need to hire people for seasonal jobs (harvest).
Over the last twenty years, Belver, a small town in the Alentejo region, in Portugal, was devastated by four fires (one in 2003, one in 2005 and two in 2017) that caused social, economic and environmental damage to the region. In 2017 alone, it is estimated that around 85% of the forest area in the town was burnt (around 5.400 ha).
After the fires in 2017, Terras de Guidintesta – Society for Rural Development, in partnership with Associação de Produtores Florestais da Freguesia de Belver (Association of the Forest Producers in Belver) started a project to reforest the area under its management (about 600ha, containing more than 1.600 rural buildings belonging to over 130 small land owners) with a more resilient and sustainable forest, both economically and environmentally.
This is how the project “Reforesting Belver” was born – with the goal to plant around 270 thousand trees. The first project requires a total investment of around 400 thousand euros, 75% of which will be financed by a straight grant PDR2020 (Programa de Desenvolvimento Rural da União Europeia). The promoter will cofinanced the remaining amount recurring to GoParity loans and the small owners’ own resources.
Given the fact that the plantations depend on the weather conditions (for example, it is only advisable to plant in October), the investment will be made throughout several years. For that reason, the loans on GoParity will be divided in several campaigns. The first occurred in January 2020, allowing to raise 50 thousand euros in less than 24 hours by 123 investors.
This amount has been used in clean-up actions (for example, to clean burnt trees) and to prepare the land for plantation. So far, 50 ha have been intervened.
The amount raised through this second campaign will be used to start the plantation, predicted to start in October, after some delays in the process due to the covid-19 outbreak. Native species will be privileged (mainly stone pines, but also cork tree and medronheiro).
Besides the financing coming from Community Funds that will cover 75% of the total investment, most of the project is based on an agro-forestry model with productive goals and, hence, generating income. For example, the area prepared for the plantation of stone tree, will also be cultivated with crops to feed the livestock. Besides this, the promoter expects to explore the pine and medronho soon, shortening the time to harvest and, hence, fighting the idea that only the eucalyptus, a tree that has grown substantially in the area in the last decades, can be profitable in the short term. The funding by GoParity appears as a rolling fund for the Association to get the necessary amount to grant the start of the project execution.