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European Green Capital Award - Stories - Valongo

Valongo started its EU Green Leaf 2022 year with reforestation activities 

In two months – 8 projects – 428 people – over 2000 trees!

The European Green Leaf 2022 Valongo is located in the north of Portugal (District of Porto) and has a population of almost 94,000 inhabitants. An area of 58.3% of the municipality is covered by forest, part of which is classified as a  Natura 2000 Site and part as a Regional Protected Landscape Area.  

The Municipal Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change is in place in particular for these areas. This aims at increasing resilience to fire, consolidating margins for flood and inundation abatement.  

Therefore, the first activity initiated by the city as European Green Leaf was the restoration of forests. Between January and February 2022 eight reforestation actions have already been carried out, planting more than 2200 trees, involving 428 participants, among volunteers and schools in the municipality. 

The aim of this action is to re-establish the native flora by planting native species, such as the oak tree (Quercus robur), the hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) and the cork oak (Quercus suber), in an area next to the Cuca Macuca Staircase in order to increase local biodiversity and provide a better forest area for future generations.  

Planting trees is one of the best ways to tackle the climate crisis considering their capacity to absorb and store the CO2 that has been heating the planet over the past decades. In view of their incredible capacity to fight against climate change, the European Union has pledged to plant 3 billion additional trees by 2030 in full respect of ecological principles, under the new EU forest strategy for 2030 which is one of the flagship initiatives of the European Green Deal

  However, planting new trees will not solve the climate and biodiversity crises on its own, and it is not a substitute for preserving existing trees. Through the new EU forest strategy for 2030, the Commission is taking additional steps to improve the quality and quantity of EU forests. This strategy aims to increase forest coverage in the EU while adhering to ecological principles (which means the right tree has to be planted in the right place and for the right purpose), as well as to improve forest resilience in the EU.  

Therefore, the reforestation activities were developed within the framework of FUTURO - the project of 100,000 trees in the Área Metropolitana do Porto (Porto Metropolitan Area), and were organized by the Municipality of Valongo, the Associação de Municípios Parque das Serras do Porto (Parque das Serras do Porto Municipality Association), and CRE.Porto, and successfully joins the EU forest strategy for 2030. 

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