There is currently only one viable and available method to reduce the polluting gases that are already in our air, only one! That is, thoughtful reforestation.
We would like to do just that in a little slice of Portugal of which we are the custodians, at Quinta do Canhestro.
In August 2017 we bought a beautiful, bountiful, abundant valley in the Serra do Acor mountain range of Central Portugal. In October 2017 Portugal experienced the biggest forest fires in all it's history, 1000s of hectares of land were ravaged by the flames that were fanned to record breaking speeds by the winds of Hurricane Ophelia and our little valley was a tiny part of that huge area burned. It became more like a post-apocalyptic wasteland than a verdant valley, just two months after we had moved onto it.
Two years later it is amazing to see the resilience of nature and to witness the slow recovery of the ecosystems here. This year, we have even had a small walnut, chestnut and kiwi harvest from the trees and vines that we at first believed to all be dead.
The very sad thing is that in this part of Portugal much of the land has been sold to paper companies who have created a monoculture through establishing thousands of Eucalyptus plantations. New plantations have even been planted around our valley this year. Eucalyptus trees are not native here, they are fast growing, voracious, thirsty trees. They thrive on fire, exploding with heat, spreading their seeds far and wide, reducing the ground water, creating a perfect environment for fire and destroying the natural growth of thousands of other species.
The key to success in any natural environment is diversity and the key to ecosystem restoration is thoughtful reforestation which provides diversity. A variety of native trees planted well and growing into a forest will provide food and habitat for thousands of species of plants, insects, birds and animals, will restore the ground water table, provide stability to the earth through their intricate root system and reduce the pollutants in the air. Creating new forests, restoring destroyed forests and thoughtful management of existing forests is the best thing that we can do for our planet and our children right now and it's what we would like to do here at Quinta do Canhestro.
In our current climate many people want to do something to help the environment, but don't know how, we are here to suggest one little way that you could help. We are working with a brilliantly inspiring company called Gone West that has already planted millions of trees across England, Ireland and now Portugal.
"Gone West is a tree planting company. We have planted over 3 million trees since we started in 2013 but that's just the beginning. Our goal is to create environmental and social benefits around the world: we want to generate ethical green jobs and help to establish or restore natural habitats.Gone West is creating environmental and social benefits by replacing traditional forestry systems with regenerative ones in order to enable people to truly live more environmentally conscious lives" Gone West
If we can raise 4,000 euros, Gone West is going to help us to plant hectares of native trees in our valley. That includes assessing the land and selecting a variety of appropriate native trees, preparing the land, providing a professional planting team and sourcing, delivering and planting. We think that is an amazing deal and we couldn't make this happen without their help and without your help.
We don't want to just ask for your money, we want to establish a community of supporters of the work here at Canhestro and the wider work of Gone West. For everyone that contributes to this campaign, we offer to keep you updated on the project, the land, the forest and it's development with pictures and news. We want people to feel connected to the land and to where their money has gone. We welcome people to come and visit and even to come and help us plant the trees!
We are asking people to contribute what they can to this project but to also share the campaign as far and wide as possible and to encourage others to give what they can. With an investment of €4000,00 Gone West will plant enough trees to let our valley revive. All contributions will go towards planting a tree and that tree is the beginning of a forest.
We are inspired by the work of Gone West and by the simplicity of this environmental solution; thoughtful reforestation is a gift that goes beyond Christmas, a resolution that goes beyond New Year, this is a gift to ourselves, our planet, our children and our children's children.
Please help us to plant a forest. Let's plant trees together.
With love, thanks and gratitude Tamzin, Justin, Bella, Clem and Floyd Hurley