All the boats in Las Palmas are busy preparing for the crossing however there is still some time to explore the island in amongst all the preparations and one of the tours provided is to the ARC Forest. This morning a group of participants took the trip into the Arucas mountains to help expand the ARC forest. World Cruising Club has been working in collaboration with a local organisation, Fundacion Foresta, for over a decade planting trees to create an ARC forest.
Fundación Foresta is a non-profit organisation created with the aim of recovering, maintaining and conserving the forests of the Canary Islands through reforestation. Their aim is to stop the process of desertification and erosion on the islands and to recover and improve the environmental and cultural heritage. Since 2010, over 3,500 trees have been planted by ARC volunteers on the site in the mountains above Las Palmas, not only offsetting carbon emissions, but also helping to recreate one of the most threatened eco-systems on Gran Canaria.
Whilst sailing is a very environmental way to travel long distances with relatively little carbon emission, most boats will also use their engines. The collaboration ensures trees are planted where they are most needed and helps offset the carbon emissions created during the Atlantic crossing.
Participants take a bus to the forest on a scenic route into the mountains, on arrival they have a short walk up to the area where the trees are being planted. The local guides explain the process of planting trees correctly to ensure they survive for many years to come and then crews start planting. Today 39 trees of three different varieties were planted, fourteen Brezos, eleven Barbusanos and fourteen Viñatigos.
The trees planted are all native species to Gran Canaria and specifically selected for the region they are being planted in. Once watered in the trees require very little upkeep as they get all the water and nutrients they need from the surrounding area. They will continue growing for many years looked after by the Foresta team, ensuring that the tiny trees the crews planted will grow to become a sustainable forest linking areas of historic indigenous woodland to make a “green cordon” around the mountain tops and restoring the native cloud forest eco-system.