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Go Forest goes Belgium

Together with our partner in Belgium, PlantC, our ambition is to make our rural territories resilient by planting hedges, orchards, innovative vegetable crops such as miscanthus, but also by reforesting areas degraded by climatic and pest disturbances. These projects respond to different emergencies: act against global warming, preserve biodiversity, the quality of water and soil, contribute to the well-being of farm animals or even generate resources for local supply.

Reforest devastated Belgian forest: an urgent matter

Pests (fungi, insects), drought and storms have always affected forests. But climate change is increasing the frequency and the simultaneity of these disturbances.

The deterioration of forests leads to discouragement among most foresters, who see that the work done over several generations has been reduced to nothing. In this context, and given the uncertainties of climate change, many landowners are refraining from investing in the reforestation of their areas. However, forests provide many important ecosystem services: carbon sequestration, biodiversity habitats, water and air quality, wellbeing and timber production.

We offer a unique solution that allows companies and engaged citizens to contribute to these multiple-impact afforestation projects in Belgium. That is why we work upstream with farmers and foresters in the organisation of their planting project.

A technical reflection before planting and a sustainable management afterwards

Thousands of hectares of forest are dying in Belgium and all over Europe. One of the species most affected is the Norway spruce and this due to one of the biggest pests in Europe: the bark beetle. When a spruce area is affected, the affected trees have to be felled and exported. At the same time, the ash suffers from a fungal infestation that leads to the death of the trees.

The progression of these diseases is facilitated by repeated periods of drought that weaken the trees. The increase in temperature and the reduction in periods of frost reinforce the increase in pests.

The planting projects are designed to make the forest ecosystem more resilient and resistant to climate change. The projects include several diversified species adapted to local conditions in a changing climate. These species are selected following the forest station (soil, climate conditions, global warming, etc.) to provide better impact on biodiversity, soil/water quality as economic aspect.

PlantC conducts a monitoring visit in the summer after planting to make sure the plants are recovering well. Owners are encouraged to draw up a "management plan". This is important because it will involve their children and grandchildren.

After the monitoring visit, the forester can receive their financial help. There is also more engagement from the forester and responsibility of the plantation is taken in the long term. In this way, our Go Forest members are sure they support a serious plantation project with respect of the plantation afterwards.