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58,000 trees already planted on common lands under the Serra do Açor Forest project

  • Initiative brings together the Jerónimo Martins Group, the Arganil Town Council and common landowners.
  • Over the next few decades, the 2,500 hectares of mostly common land will become covered by a multifunctional forest with fire-resistant trees
  • Jerónimo Martins has invested 5 million euros that will be used in the first 15 years of reforestation

Today marks the first anniversary of the Serra do Açor Forest project, a joint initiative led by the Jéronimo Martins Group, the Arganil Town Council and common landowners’ associations aimed at preserving and developing the landscape ravaged by the wildfires of 2017. In the first year of the project, 58,090 trees (38,727 maritime pines, 12,163 oak trees and 7,200 cork oak trees) were planted in Arganil municipality and its surrounding areas.

This joint effort between a private company, local authorities and local communities, unprecedented in Portugal, will see the reforestation of 2,500 hectares in the coming decades. Fire-resistant tree species will be planted and what once was mostly wasteland will be transformed into a multifunctional forest with a diverse and more fire resistant landscape, populated by stands of maritime pines combined with cork oak trees, strawberry trees, chestnut trees and other species.

This will enable local inhabitants to create a source of income from the forest areas, by reviving them and cultivating products such as berries from the strawberry trees, cork, chestnuts and mushrooms.

For Luís Paulo Costa, Mayor of the Arganil Town Council, “it is a completely different and innovative forest management project in our country that will help us to start building a future for Arganil that is so much bigger than us; a future where our region will be stronger, more resilient and prepared for what lies ahead. It is truly an honour and a privilege to be able to implement and be part of such a transformational project such as this, that is as much utopian as it is real and authentic”.

“The Jerónimo Martins Group decided to invest in this project, without expecting a financial return, because we believe in the significant added value it will bring to developing inland Portugal, protecting land and water resources and to enhancing biodiversity, and the positive impact it will have on slowing global warming. We are very proud to be a part of a long-term project to fight deforestation,” explains António Serrano, Managing Director of Jerónimo Martins Agro-Alimentar and Jerónimo Martins’ representative on the Strategic Supervisory Board of Associação Floresta Serra do Açor, a non-profit organisation created to implement the project.

The Jerónimo Martins Group’s strategy for fighting deforestation has been validated by the CDP – Disclosure Insight Action, which, at the end of 2020, once again singled-out the Group as the only global food retailer to achieve a leadership level score (A-) in all commodities associated with deforestation risk (palm oil, wood, cattle and soy), awarding it the same score for its measures for fighting climate change.

The next tree planting campaign will take place in early October. The 5 million euros invested by the Jerónimo Martins Group will be used during the first 15 years of project implementation.