The Birth of the Forest: Projecto Cabeço Santo
Eleven people participated in the event “The Birth of the Forest”, from 2 to 50 years old. Therefore the activities had to be slightly adapted so that little children could be involved. Yet all the activities planned were carried out.
By the morning the participants picked oak acorns and chestnuts on a native wood. Some of these will be kept cold until next Spring, when they will be sown for later planting. Others would be sown later on the day. Most of the morning was spent on this activity, with ocasional breaks for looking around and appreciating the beauty of the wood, or hearing the waters of the stream passing nearby. In this area two nest-boxes exist and a non-planned activity was carried out: the cleaning of the boxes. This allowed the participants to appreciate the value of placing these boxes, since several bird species use them, in the lack of old grown trees with holes for making natural nests.
After lunch, comfortably taken on a urban park with tables, the participants travelled to the Cabeço Santo area and started directly sowing acorns and chestnuts on a piece of land where restoration works recently started. Around the whole region eucalyptus plantation is the main factor of degradation and pressure over native vegetation, and the additional difusion of aggressive invasive species, the main of which is the mimosa (Acacia dealbata), almost extiguished native ecosystems in enormous areas. The sown property still indeed has some eucalyptus and mimosas, which will be removed shortly, leaving the ground available for native species.
After a first period sowing, the participants went on to placing 4 nest-boxes on trees. On good soil conditions the dominant tree here is the deciduous oak, Quercus robur, although the cork-oak tree may also be found. The four nest-boxes were placed on oak trees, near the small stream that crosses the area. Meanwhile, the participants appreciated the several species of mushrooms that occurred around.
Finally, another area was sowned with acorns: this is a hilly area from which eucalyptus trees are being removed. We know by experience that success in direct sowing is modest, but for the trees that succeed, they are stronger than planted ones. Therefore seeding is complementary to tree planting, which will occur later where spontaneously occuring trees are not sufficient.
The journey finished with all the plannned activities carried out and with the volunteers satisfied! An happy for participating locally but with their minds and hearts connected with all those participating in akin activities all around Europe!