Spain to plant 45 million trees, set up a Climate Change Research Institute

Fulfilling an electoral promise, the Spanish Government has announced a drive to plant 45 million trees in the next four years as part of a $128 million program in the Spanish peninsula and in the Canary and Balearic Islands, which have been suffering from frequent forest fires causing major economic and ecologic losses.

Canarian landscapes - Ruiz ravine

Canarian landscapes - Ruiz ravine

Elena Espinosa, minister for the environment, said that reforestation will mainly target endemic tree species and will be carried out over a total area of 151,476 acres, mostly in National Parks and communal lands.

The trees will help to prevent desertification or land degradation by consolidating soils and preventing erosion. Other benefits will be improving the landscape and  consolidating ecological corridors.

The project will employ 2,997 people a year in rural areas, according to Espinosa.

The minister also announced the creation of a Climate Change Research Institute in Zaragoza, the same location where the International Expo 2008 for Water was held this year, discussing the challenges of water and sustainable development.

Nearly one-third of Spain’s roughly 200,000 square miles faces a “significant risk” of desertification, according to the Spanish environment ministry. The main goal of the institute will be to promote the analysis and research of climate change in Spain. It will also recommend measures which Spain could adopt to fight the phenomena.

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