An award-winning women’s network has mobilized volunteers to plant and care for tens of thousands of trees in the Portuguese city of Porto. “FUTURE - the 100,000 Trees Project for the Porto Metropolitan Area” envisions a greener future for Porto, with planted native trees storing carbon dioxide and improving the urban environment. This project is planting trees with people, and for people.
- 3,350 volunteers mobilized
- 25,000 trees planted so far
- “Women of the FUTURE” network recently granted Terre de Femmes Yves Rocher Foundation Award
Native forest has been cut down as Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city, has grown. Some areas were replanted – but largely with exotic tree species, such as Pinus pinaster. Not only has the city, which lies along an estuary, suffered from lacking forests, but monoculture pinaster groves – which are more susceptible to burning than native forest – have contributed to serious forest fires over the past decade.
“FUTURE - the 100,000 Trees Project for the Porto Metropolitan Area” intends to restore 100 hectares of urban forest with native trees. The network “Women of the FUTURE” has collaboratively mobilized thousands of volunteers to help plant more than 25,000 native trees, like pendulucate oak and sweet chestnut, in and around Porto. The network lacks its own budget, but taps into 35 organizations for its efforts. Co-creation of the project establishes a level of commitment that assures the trees are well cared for after being planted, with an average survival rate of 70 percent.
Helping the planet
Establishing urban forest made up of native trees provides numerous environmental benefits. The forests store carbon dioxide, helping prevent further climate change, while providing shade and reducing flooding. Native forests provide habitat for native species, promoting biodiversity, as well as improving soil and water quality. Forests comprised of native species are also more resistant to fire, preventing ecological destruction caused by forest fires.
A healthier natural environment translates into higher quality of life for Porto residents. Risk to life and property has been reduced by planting more fire-resistant forests, and shoring up resistance to flooding. The project’s collaboration and engagement has empowered women, strengthening their networks and making them more resilient.
The project has already scaled up, from eight to 21 planting areas. The model has been replicated in other regions of Portugal. It’s also been featured in a case study by the United Nations University, which has enhanced its visibility and increased its duplicability.
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