By Suzanne Radford
The recovery of local trees and the restoration of the
health of the land are the key drivers behind
the Renature Monchique initiative.
By Suzanne Radford
The recovery of local trees and the restoration of the health of the land are the key drivers behind the Renature Monchique initiative.
The aim of the project is to replant endemic species in the Serra de Monchique, bringing a variety of oaks, including cork, Portuguese, Holm and the majestic Monchique oak, back to their natural home.
Now in its third phase, the project was initiated after the fires of 2018 in partnership with Ryanair's Carbon Offset Fund, Tourism of Algarve, the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF), the Monchique Câmara and GEOTA, a national environmental NGO responsible for the coordination of the project. It’s a big undertaking but one that could help prevent fires in the future and allow for the natural biodiversity to return.
This area of the Algarve is a Natura 2000 site, part of the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world and offering protection to Europe’s most valuable habitats. Known as the Monchique Natura 2000, the land contains some of the rarest, most unique and threatened species of the region – like the rhododendron and Monchique oak. There is replanting of oaks and trees like the strawberry tree or arbutus, which is fire resistant and provides a living for local producers of medronho and honey. Chestnuts that provide an income and more diverse endemic trees have been planted, along with the black alder and the narrow-leafed ash.
Ryanair has been involved from the beginning, with the company recognising Monchique specifically – and the Algarve generally – for its natural beauty: a destination which attracts large numbers of overseas visitors.
Thomas Fowler, Director of Sustainability at Ryanair says, “Renature Monchique sits within Ryannair’s carbon offset programme and is part of our commitment to reducing our CO2 emissions.” Contributions from Ryanair customers are helping to support the restoration of forest habitats affected by fire and climate change and, in so doing, they are also helping local communities.