On March 25th marked several firsts for the Tomorrow’s Forest Foundation: our first planting together with our partners from Color Metal; our first planting in Timiș County, in the Făget forest management unit; the first plantation in a new project: forests for biodiversity.

Our first food forest

All these took place in a wonderful forest of oak species – a mixture of Turkey oak (Quercus cerris) and Hungarian oak (Quercus frainetto), sun-loving species, less common in Transylvania and hardly at all present in Moldova.

A very valuable and well-kept forest, which has now been “ennobled” (we are told by forestry engineer  Alexandru Pongracz, the head of the forest management unit) with edible chestnut (Castanea sativa) and Turkish hazel (Corylus colurna). This type of plantations, called food forest, provide food for many species of animals. Moreover, they support a greater biodiversity, and strengthen the climate resilience of forests.

Climate change affects all of us who depend on forests – people, animals and plants alike,” explains Mihail Caradaică, executive director of the Tomorrow’s Forest Foundation. “That’s why it’s all the more important to support each other and protect ourselves from the effects of global warming, and a food forest is our way of making sure we have a healthy, rich and diverse forest.

We had with us over 60 volunteers from the Color Metal company as well as students of the Timișoara Polytechnic University, members of the UPT Racing Team, who planted 300 chestnut seedlings and 100 hazelnut seedlings in record time!

This is our third activity of its kind – we had two other plantings in the Odorheiu Secuiesc area,” explains Árpád Godra, CEO of Color Metal. “The project perfectly fits our principle of having global ideas and acting locally. We also have an office in Timiș county and it was a natural, normal idea to get involved here as well. It is our small contribution to this great project and to this enormous necessity, to contribute to the continuity of forests.

But the green footprint of the small food forest is greater than the number of seedlings.

Why do we plant food forests?

When they’re all grown up, their fruits will feed mammals and birds with a major positive impact on the forest ecosystem. These animals are like small “involuntary foresters,” quadrupedal or winged, that shape the structure of a forest, favor the development of certain tree species and inhibit others, move seeds and spores to different areas, regulate invertebrate and vertebrate populations, and can serve as food for large carnivores.

Recent scientific studies show, for example, that a healthy wild boar population leads to a net increased biodiversity in the long term, and a healthier and more productive forest ecosystem, able to fulfill its ecological, social, and economic functions much better. That’s why we offer them chestnuts and hazelnuts, in addition to the acorns from the oaks of Făget!

From the point of view of sustainable forestry, the enrichment of managed forests with fruit trees could become an essential solution in the context of climate change.

As you can see in the pictures, the seedlings have been protected with tubular guards – special forestry implements that protect the seedlings from animals that feed on buds and shoots (especially cervids), as well as from overwhelming plant species (raspberry, blackberry, herbaceous cover).

In addition, they stimulate the seedlings to grow in height, so their overall development is accelerated.

The guards are created from a bioplastic (a polymer based on plant cellulose), so they are 100% biodegradable. But we also tested our own concept, made of poplar wood. Because we love forestry innovation so much!

A big thank you, once again, to our partners at Color Metal who made this plantation possible, to the volunteers of the UPT Racing Team, and to our hosts at the Faget Forest Management Unit!

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