Everything starts with a seed…
Our Project will provide (also small) groups and initiatives around the Mediterranean with a blueprint, a construction kit, with which a successful reforestation on deserted areas can be achieved. Of course, we will also create forest areas ourselves in order to develop and improve the necessary foundations, tools and skills in cooperation with owners, administrations, universities and the participating promoters. With enthusiasm and a trial-and-error structure Achim Ecker and Arnold Schonhardt started 22 years ago on the 7ha site of "Retumbana nova" (Alentejo, Portugal).
In the meantime we are now expanding, systematizing and documenting our experiences. This has resulted in a plan for further action:
In the planned construction kit for decentralized initiatives, various aspects of forest construction for the forest community of the hard leaf vegetation in the Mediterranean (winter moist subtropics) are dealt with.
is the permanent establishment of mixed forests in their natural composition. The task is not to create nature reserves, but spaces in which man and nature maintain and strengthen each other in a balanced community.
photos Nr 3(Foto: G. Della Rocca et al.), Nr 6 photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. by Pexels all others by: Achim Ecker)
optimized plant communities
Depending on the orientation of the sky, soil structure, altitude and water resources, different plant communities emerge. Through research and experimentation, we document optimized plantings for the respective location. We imitate a natural forest development in fast motion.
2. CO2 conversion and binding
Climate change is the background for the task of permanently removing CO2 from the atmosphere. This is achieved by fixing it in plant mass and in humus soils. By pyrolysis (wood charring) this can take place for over 1000 years.
3.fire prevention prophylaxis
In order to counter the increasing number and severity of forest fires, several measures are necessary: we will test living fire protection walls made of three rows of Mediterranean cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) plantations (https://www.wissenschaft.de/umwelt-natur/gruene-feuerschutzmauer/). In the medium term, care management (fasting, removal of dead wood) of the plantations is a decisive factor.
4. death of cork oaks
The best known tree of the Mediterranean flora is in danger: the cause of the death of the cork oaks has not yet been clarified. We suspect a connection with the damage of symbiotic soil fungi (mycorrhiza) and want to investigate this by breeding healthy mushroom trunks and vaccinating ailing trees.
5. water resources
Water retention measures by swales (soil waves) and retention ponds are indispensable for the stabilization of the groundwater level (soil water).
6. humus formation, Terra preta
Deforestation and heavy winter rainfall in this region have washed out large parts of the humus soils. Humus formation is an important building block for plants and for the fixation of climate gases. The use of Terra preta could be of particular importance in this context.
7. technical aids
Growing aids such as tree husks (compostable!) and water storage media (e.g. Stockosorb) are also part of a sensible package of measures in the early stages.