About 3,000 volunteers took part Sunday in a reforestation initiative of the oldest forest in Portugal, the royal pine forest of Leiria (center), of considerable importance during the Great Discoveries, severely affected by the deadly fires that Known the country in 2017.
On a plot of 30 hectares burned to ashes by the series of fires that swept over the center of Portugal in mid-October 2017, the volunteers planted in a morning and in an atmosphere festive some 67,500 young shoots of maritime pine.
"We are going to restore this pine forest, so that it becomes pretty again and so that our children have in the future a pure air to breathe, a good health.This is what motivates me today," he said. AFP Jose Dyonisio, retired at age 69.
For this initiative launched by the public authorities, the volunteers received the support of soldiers, policemen, firefighters and members of the civil protection.
"We have lost 80% of the royal pine forest of Leiria in the fires, a great task awaits us to reforest it and will require the planting of about 22 million trees, "said the mayor of the municipality of Marinha Grande Cidalia Ferreira, where A large part of this nearly 800-year-old wood is concentrated.
At the end of the event, the crowd formed a giant flag of Portugal using umbrellas. "We have managed to unite the Portuguese around their national forest," said Alexandra Serodio, who initiated the initiative.
With an initial area of 11,000 hectares, the royal pine forest of Leiria is the fruit of the first intensive maritime pine plantation in Portugal, begun in the 13th century. It was largely the wood of its pines that served to build the caravels of Portuguese explorers between the fifteenth and seventeenth century.
The fire wave of October 2017 killed 49 people. The 49th victim is a pensioner who succumbed to her injuries Saturday at the hospital in Coimbra (center) after a long agony. In total, forest fires in Portugal killed 113 people between June and October.