2500 years of deforestation
After centuries of deforestation, we are now recovering the native forests of Tenerife, an island that is a veritable treasure trove of biodiversity. We have a clear commitment: the forest that we are planting will be conserved for at least 180 years.
The islands have suffered centuries of deforestation due to the intervention of man. We already know that the Guanches — the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands in the days before they were colonised — began to exploit the woods, and this sorry process continued until a few decades ago, with the consequent deterioration of the natural environment.
This project and the commencement of Mirlo’s trajectory would not have been possible without the support we have received from the Department of the Environment, Territorial Sustainability and Waters of the Cabildo of Tenerife.. We are so thankful!
By dint of the collaboration agreement that we signed in 2013, the Department provides us with:
- - the technical conditions (Project) that ensure a high rate of success in the trees we plant. The Cabildo has been planting trees for many years, and they have been happy to pass all their experience onto us.
- - the supervision of the plantations by their technical personnel
- - the administrative authorization that allows us to carry out this work
- - the land on which to plant the trees
- - the necessary plants
- - the support of their technical personnel and work crews when we set off to plant trees with our mirlos
- - the conservation of the forests that Mirlo plants throughout the next 180 years
Not only that, the agreement establishes that we in Mirlo are responsible for:
- - obtaining funds for planting
- - planting the amount of trees that corresponds to the money raised
- - managing the work involved in the tree-planting and coordinating health and safety, under the supervision of the Cabildo’s technical personnel
- - carrying out maintenance work one year after the trees are planted, replacing those trees that have not taken root.
With your help, we are going to act in the area in order to restore the native wood by planting species which once formed part of the original wood. In the higher reaches we’ll plant woods of Canary Island pine together with other species that are inherent to that sort of wood, such as cedar trees.
The restoration project has been designed by the Forestry Service of the Cabildo of Tenerife (the local Council) which has been responsible for managing the land for many decades and as such has amassed considerable experience in restoring the Islands’ woodland ecosystems. Their years of expertise in producing plants, choosing species and defining technical details ensures that more than 90% of the trees they plant take root in normal conditions. The Cabildo of Tenerife will oversee the work we carry out and will provide the plants required for the repopulation.
For more details on this project, please have a look at the technical requirements section.
- Look for seeds.
During the year prior to the plantation, the staff of the Forestry Service of the Cabildo of Tenerife will go out into the native woods that have survived, searching for sufficient seed to produce the plants that we will use for this project. Each species comes into bloom and fruition at its own rhythm which is why they will wait for the most suitable time to gather the different seeds.
- Clean up the scrubland.
We will clean the scrubland which has sprung up over the years so that the trees we plant can have plenty of light in which to grow.
- Dig the holes.
We will dig holes with a backhoe excavator to make sure that the earth is well turned thereby ensuring that the soil is properly structured which in turn will encourage the plants to take root.
- Plant the trees.
We will plant the trees when the first rains of autumn arrive, and we’ll make sure they are well protected.
- Monitor the evolution of the plantation.
We will regularly monitor the evolution of the plantation so that we can be sure that the entire process is under proper control.
- Replace plants and clean the scrubland once again.
Next year we will return to the area to replace the plants that have not managed to grow (if everything goes according to plan, these will be no more than 10%) and we will clean up the scrubland that has sprung up again.
- And of course, keep you up to date with all that we do!
We will provide detailed information on each of the steps we take. We will send our Mirlo Sponsors special information with exclusive details of the progress we make.
- We will improve the habitat and encourage the biodiversity.
We are going to improve the habitat and encourage biodiversity: The Canary Islands are a hot spot for global biodiversity and numerous species are under threat. The woods are home to a considerable part of this biodiversity and we - and when we say “we” we always mean you too – are going to help to restore and maintain it. We are going to extend the pine woods, thereby continuing the work that began more than fifty years ago.
- We will recover an area that is of prime importance in recharging the aquifer.
We are going to recover an area that is of prime importance in recharging the aquifer. Tenerife is highly populated and as such it consumes more water each year than the amount the rains can supply to the aquifer. Creating more woods will ensure that more rainwater will reach the aquifer thereby helping to alleviate this situation.
- We will recover 29 hectares of Canary Island woodland.
There are 90,000 hectares of forested land in the Canary Islands that needs restoring: with this project we hope to restore 29 of them. Our work has only just begun!
- We will balance the Canary Island sustainability index.
The Canaries have currently one of the world’s worst sustainability indexes, as it consumes resources equivalent to eleven times their territory. By increasing the surface area of the woods, we will help to counter this imbalance and to turn this situation around. The woods always make their mark!
- We will help to preserve the area’s different species of bees. We will collaborate with local beekeepers and honey producers.
Some of the plants that we are going to introduce contain nectar, which means that we are going to help preserve the area’s species of bees and do something positive for the beekeepers and the honey producers. This is how we came to start up an alliance with them and if you contribute with the “Positive Nature Honey and Wood” pack, you’ll have the chance to taste the honey!
- We will plant cedar trees to help our emblematic “mirlo capiblanco”, known in English as the Ring Ouzel.
We are going to plant cedar trees to help the ring ouzels disseminate these fantastic trees and to take them out of the list of threatened species.
- We will generate a positive carbon footprint which will offset 11,600 tons of CO2.
We are going to generate a positive carbon footprint which will offset 11,600 tons of CO2.
As far as we are concerned, it will only be over when the wood has grown and reached maturity. Depending on its evolution, the type of wood and where we care to set the threshold of maturity, it is a process that may take between 100 and 250 years.
Detailed information about risks and guarantees
- Corona Forestal 2013:
Plant production: from March 2013 to October 2013 / Planting: from October 2013 to January 2014 / Replanting and cleaning up the brushwood: from October 2014 to January 2015.
- Corona Forestal 2014:
Plant production: from March 2014 to October 2014 / Planting: from October 2013 to January 2015 / Replanting and cleaning up the brushwood: from October 2015 to January 2016.
Planting zones planned in 2014
Detailed information about technical requirements
At last, with the help of some 70 people, the first 70 “mirlos”, we were able to begin the reforestationof a stretch of Tenerife’s Corona Forestal.Some of those “mirlos” took part in the tree planting and together with our team and technicians and representatives of the Cabildo de Tenerife, we all enjoyed a day out in the country together, and lots of positive footprint.
There had been lots of heavy storms in the days beforehand, storms that left the Teide covered in snow, but as luck would have it, the weather was on our side and we were regaled with a sunny day in which to enjoy ourselves, to begin spreading our positive footprint, and to gladden our hearts. The money we raised in 2013 has allowed us to plant 3,500m² of forest, a total of 520 trees that will prevent 139 tons of human-generated CO₂ entering the atmosphere and contributing even more global warming..
What does 139 tons of CO₂ mean? Well, that is more or less the average annual carbon footprint of some 25 individuals, the emissions of more or less 50 cars throughout a year or more than 200 flights between the Canaries and the Peninsula.
Crystal clear accounts - CF2014Crystal clear accounts - CF2013
Plantation Map - CF2013Photo Gallery
Infographics - Year 2013Final Report - CF2013
Infographics - Year 2013Final Report - CF2014
As you can see, with your participation, we can do lots of things!Come on! Fly with us and leave your positive footprint!