2022 – what a ride! After two years of the pandemic, in which we chose to suspend planting with the help of volunteers and public activities in general, we started in full force, with the engines revving to the max, and we managed to complete consistent projects in all the programs of the Tomorrow’s Forest Foundation.
First, we achieved the goal of one million seedlings planted in the Reforestation Programme. But we also launched the Tomorrow’s Forest Communities grants programme, we installed more than twenty modular bridges in forests where forestry work takes place, and we had the pilot edition of the Forest School programme.
Read a summary below.
With our partners and volunteers, in the first part of the year we reached the goal set in 2017: one million seedlings planted on land areas with regeneration difficulties in Romania!
During a planting season that stretched from March to mid-June, we planted 208,350 seedlings on 11 lands with regeneration difficulties in Alba, Bacău, Brașov, Cluj and Harghita counties.
Today, our plantations cover no less than 242.8 hectares of forest land.
The year 2022 brought us another first: we planted our first urban forests! These are two tiny forests, inspired by the programme of the Japanese botanist and activist Akira Miyawaki, planted right in Bucharest (the first in March, the second in December).
A wide variety of carefully selected local species are planted in Miyawaki forests, following a much denser planting scheme than in other types of plantations.
This density ensures a rapid development of the seedlings and allows the installation of the forest ecosystem even on very small areas of land – from 100 square meters upwards. In addition, Miyawaki forests grow ten times faster, without the help of fertilizers or pesticides, and without the need for special care after the first three years.
We can’t wait to continue the experiment in 2023 – and to return with good news, from as many cities as possible!
In the spring, we launched the programme Tomorrow’s Forest Communities, through which we offer non-refundable grants aimed at the sustainable development of forest communities in Romania.
For the first edition of the programme, organizations and communities from Slănic Moldova (Bacău county), Văcărești (Harghita county), Păulești and Tiream (Satu Mare county), Prejmer (Brașov county) and Bunești (Argeș county) joined.
Activities include education projects, upcycling, forest trail development and, of course, afforestation: as part of the program, more than 46,000 saplings will be planted on 11.5 hectares.
And the first 1,000 seedlings were already planted in Văcărești, in November!
In the Sustainable Forestry Program, we continued to test the modular, mobile forestry bridge – today, 21 bridges protect watercourses in areas with forestry works located in Suceava, Bacău, Harghita, Covasna, Brașov, Buzău and Vrancea counties.
It is a particularly important project for the protection of habitats heavily affected by human activities – and for providing drinking water to communities with hundreds of thousands of people.
Where the proper crossing of rivers is not ensured, the waters become turbid, hundreds of invertebrate and vertebrate species no longer have favorable conditions for feeding or reproduction, and the ecosystem suffers.
Also in the Sustainable Forestry Programme, we continued the experimental stone pine (Pinus cembra) plantations and joined the European network My Garden of Trees. We are trying solutions for climate adaptation of forests because the effects of global warming – visible to the naked eye this year – are increasingly more severe and threaten not only the development of new plantations, which suffered from drought in 2022, but also the viability of forests we already have in the Carpathians.
In November we had the pilot edition of the Forest School programme: experiential learning workshops, in the forest and in the classroom, for teachers, educators and facilitators who work with young people from different organizations.
Our intention is to create a national network, to discover and explore local forests together with young and old, and to collaborate on ideas, techniques, games, and materials that can produce memorable experiences and a lasting attachment to nature and biodiversity.
Starting from the spring of 2023, we will organize several such courses, in different areas of the country. For those interested, we will announce ahead of time, on all our social media channels and in our newsletter.
Special thanks to all the volunteers who were on our planting sites and the partners and supporters of the Tomorrow’s Forest Foundation programmes: The Romanian Association of Forest Administrators, “Ștefan cel Mare” University of Suceava, HS Timber Group, ExpoDom, SelfCard, Aristos Developers, SupaDupa, Cafeteca Magnolia, Zizin, Bucharest Sector 5 City Hall, and the Culture and Youth Center “Ștefan Iordache”!