Readers will recall that Arboretum is a non-profit organisation, whose mission is to develop an educational tool and provide a public space for the environmental literacy of the local population with a focus on sustainability.
This issue we look at two important issues, the first being ‘action’. On November 12 the first group of stakeholders planted their trees at Arboretum, marking the opening ceremony for the 2011 planting season. These are people who support the project with a membership fee of 5€ per month and are entitled to have their own tree. More than 70 people took part in the day, which was a true celebration of values: families with their children on a local farm, learning, planting and sharing with others who have a commitment to the environment and consider Arboretum an important project. The planting also helped to establish the ‘Forest Garden’ area, consisting of a wide variety of native fruit trees.
The second issue is the development of Area 2 of Arboretum. In the previous issue we talked about the wild wood and its collection of 131 native species. Area 2, however, is the space that will be mainly planted by local schools and colleges, and follows a design technique known as Analog Forestry (AF). AF came about as a response to the rapid destruction and degradation of forest ecosystems and the lack of effective action being taken to recover the lost natural capital. In 1987 a Sri Lankan, Dr. Ranil Senanayake, started experimenting with techniques and methodologies for creating sustainable forest ecosystem restoration as an alternative to the rapid expansion of the monocultures of fast growing species adopted and established globally as the ‘optimal technique for reforestation ‘. AF is based on a synthesis between traditional knowledge and practices and the application of principles, methodologies, and scientific techniques to achieve the restoration of key ecosystem functions, to be able to satisfy the needs of farmers and local populations. Analog forestry is a complex and holistic form of agroforestry that seeks to maintain a functioning, tree-dominated ecosystem while providing marketable products that can sustain rural communities, both socially and economically. A certification system (Forest Garden Products) has been developed to market products derived from analog forestry, which is now recognized by the EU.
Analog Forestry is based on the twelve basic principles including observe and record, understand and evaluate, know your land, identify levels of yield, map out flow and reservoir systems (existing and potential), reduce ratio of external energy in production, be guided by landscape and neighbours needs, follow ecological succession, utilize ecological processes, value Biodiversity, respect maturity and respond creatively.
Many aspects of a natural ecosystem can be reproduced in a cultivated one, taking into account, and including, economic and social aspects. From November, this area within Arboretum will be planted exclusively by elementary school children (4th, 5th and 6th grade), allowing more than 2,800 children to learn in Arboretum so that we can sow the seeds of change, to establish contact with nature, develop respect and a symbiotic relationship to develop a better future. Courses, seminars and workshops continue and details can be found on their facebook page.
This post is also available in: Spanish