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Send a text to plant a tree this winter

16:00 05/11/2020
From Flanders Today

Conservation agency Natuurpunt has launched its annual Bos voor Iedereen, or Forests for Everyone, campaign – but has made it even easier for citizens to help plant a forest of trees.

The campaign normally invites residents of Flanders to come out and help plant a woodland. The agency identifies appropriate ground and the recruits citizens to help plant young trees.

Because of the coronavirus, that’s not possible, so all people who want to help have to do is text “bos” to 8686. This results in a donation of €4, which pays for two square metres of new forest.

The timing couldn’t be better, with more people taking to the great outdoors during the current lockdown. But sometimes, says Natuurpunt, popular nature areas can get too crowded.

“That doesn’t mean there are too many nature lovers, but that there’s too little nature in our immediate area,” Frederik Beeckx of Natuurpunt told Radio 2 Antwerpen. “The lack of outdoor areas is never more obvious than during lockdown periods. It can be too busy in nature reserves, while everyone should really have the right to take to woodlands within walking distance of their homes.”

The SMS campaign will help fund Natuurpunt’s ambitious plan to plant 1,000 football fields’ worth of new trees. “We search for locations that lend themselves to the growth of a forest over the long term,” Beeckx explains.

Ideally, he says, “we simply extend an existing forest or connect two nature areas. And we make sure this is not at the cost of habitats that are valuable for biodiversity and climate, such as wetlands or heathland. Then we create a thorough forestry plan and choose a mix of native tree species. We plant most of the trees in November or December when the sap stops flowing.”

Photo courtesy Natuurpunt

Written by Flanders Today