Gran Canaria Green Forest Fund to plant 1.5 million trees each year

The Cabildo de Gran Canaria has announced support for the creation of the Green Forest Fund, which will provide €1.5 million for the remainder of this year to plant 500,000 trees and from January they have agreed a further €4.5 million every year to plant around 1,500,000 more, an audacious plan that marks their attempt to start the reforestation of Gran Canaria, a pioneering measure in Spain.

The seven Canary Islands Cabildos have unanimously asked the Canary Islands Government to create a green tax, at the rate of one cent per litre on fuels, as the best way to counteract fumes generated by the combustion of fossil fuels, as the trees are the best method for absorbing CO2 and helping to improve air quality as well as mitigating the archipelagos contribution to harming the atmosphere.

However, there are no signs that the Canary Islands Government will yet undertake this measure, so the Cabildo de Gran Canaria has decided that this island will not wait and has taken the decision to provide their own equivalent funds, having approved a motion urging the Regional Executive to take up the petition.

Gran Canaria will initiate this ambitious plan, aiming to double its woodland areas within 15 years and move from the 20,000 hectares currently planted to more than 40,000 hectares, including a coherent plan for watering and maintenance.

This is a major step forward and will be the second major reforesting revolution since the one undertaken in the 50’s, which saw pine forest degradation halted and reversed across the summits of the island.

pre-planned forest fire

The purpose of the fund is specifically to combat climate change, prevent fires, combat erosion and also compensate private forest owners, an extension of some 130,000 hectares, for the environmental services they already carry out indirectly in soil protection, biodiversity, landscape, water retention and CO2 fixing in the atmosphere.

The last 50 years has seen important decrease in pressure on the landscape and territory inland and in highland areas of the island which has lead to valuable regeneration of the forests once naturally abundant here.

The regeneration however has been threatened by two factors, climate change and large forest fires. These threats can only be mitigated by a considerable increase in the speed of reforestation and an ambitious policy of prevention of forest fires such as the one now being undertaken by the Cabildo.

These two important environmental struggles involve important investments and the creation of an insular agroforestry policy that transforms the territory and helps to generate safe, stable and profitable landscapes from a socio-economic point of view.