Intervention area at Cap de Creus Natural Park
In 2016, Viglya’s Eden focused on Cap de Creus, the easternmost point of the Iberian Peninsula. It is an area of great biological, geological and architectural diversity, with landscapes of stunning natural beauty, in the province of Girona in Catalonia. The area where Viglya’s Eden will grow is near the Sant Pere de Rodes Monastery, a place of pilgrimage in medieval times. In the vicinity there are also megalithic structures dating to 3500-3000 BC – these are dolmens (“great tables” in the Breton language) composed of vertical stones supporting a horizontal slab.
Cap de Creus Natural Park is the largest maritime-terrestrial natural park in Spain, comprising 11,000 hectares on the peninsula itself and 3.000 hectares of marine habitat. The impact of frequent forest fires has resulted in a landscape of dense, uniform and highly flammable scrub, according to Jesús David Sánchez, forest engineer at specialist company Bosque Sostenible (“Sustainable Forest”), and chief technician in change of the project. Working with the Foresterra cooperative, he has guided the team at Viglya and advised them about the characteristics of the site and each species of tree. They are all adapted to the Mediterranean climate, and provide not only shade but also fruit, which is a food source for birds and animals.
According to the Biblical account, the garden of Eden was the location of the Tree of Knowledge – or Science. The team at Viglya is proud that the ultimate effect of their knowledge is to regenerate the environment and dignify human life.
The trees have been planted in three successive terraces, according to the irrigation needs of each species. The highest terrace, which is also the rockiest, is the location for species that need the least water, such as holm oaks, Aleppo pines and cork oaks – as the name suggests, the thick bark of these last is used to make cork, and protects the tree from fire. In the lower terraces, closer to the riverbed, the spongy soil is ideal for species that require more water, such as alder and the sorbus domestica.
Viglya’s Day: The Eden and its protagonist
With this tree-planting project, the team at Viglya has contributed to improving biodiversity by increasing the forested area and creating a more diverse landscape that will provide a foothold for a greater number of species. The trees will also improve soil fertility and combat erosion, mitigating the effects of climate change and promoting the return of vegetation.
Since the project began four years ago, Viglya’s Eden has already helped regenerate 1.5 hectares. The trees planted will capture approximately 160 tonnes of CO2 over the next 40 years, contributing to increasing biodiversity, improving the landscape and regulating the water cycle.
From a social perspective, the Eden project will play an important role in providing unskilled rural employment. It has generated 45 days of paid work for local people, including 15 days a year dedicated to tree care and maintenance.