Trees against climate change

The Endesa Forest came about with the aim of reforesting and restoring burned land through the planting of native species. An initiative that contributes to the recovery of natural capital, to reduce CO₂ and to boost the local economy.

The Endesa Forest Initiative came about with the aim of contributing to the forest restoration of degraded land that has been burned at the national level through planting and seeding techniques of native forest species, with which we contribute both to the absorption of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and to regulating the local climate.

This is a pioneering initiative  in the energy sector: "Thanks to the Endesa Wood Initiative, we have been the first energy company to obtain registration in the CO₂ absorption projects section of the National Registry of Carbon Footprint, Compensation and Absorption Projects of the Spanish Office of Climate Change (OECC) of the Ministry of Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO)," explains Alejandro Rodríguez Palao, promoter of the project at Endesa since it started in 2016.

Thanks to the use of the Absorption Units generated by the Endesa Forest projects, Rodríguez Palao highlights another important achievement: "We have been the first company in the Spanish energy sector to obtain the triple Calculo/Reduzco/Compenso [I Calculate/Reduce/Compensate] seal from MITECO, which rewards the best national performance in the field of climate change."

 

Environmental, economic and social benefit

The Endesa Forest Initiative generates a triple environmental, economic and social benefit in the environment where it is developed, so it can be considered a benchmark in sustainability:

  • The environmental impact of this restoration is very positive, because it makes it possible to recover an environment devastated by fire, contributing to the mitigation and adaptation of climate change. The new forests are more resilient to climate change and the risk of fire is reduced, as well as allowing for the recovery of natural capital, biodiversity and ecosystem services that they provide to society. At the same time, the local water cycle is improved, avoiding the loss of soils due to runoff and mitigating the advance of desertification.
  • In the economic chapter, it contributes to boosting the local economy, because the recovery of a forest often helps to generate additional activity associated with the use of the resources and services it provides. This can favour the generation of local companies and cooperatives dedicated to tourism, hunting/fishing and sustainable forest use and management.
  • In the social field, the projects of the initiative contribute to promoting local employment, since priority is given to unemployed people, young people, women, people over 45 years of age and those at risk of social exclusion when recruiting personnel for plantation and maintenance work for the project.

Another advantage of the project is the opportunity it offers to raise awareness and educate about the conservation of the natural environment, through visits to the general public and schools and environmental volunteering.

 

Almost 40,000 trees planted

To date, the initiative has four projects that have restored a total of 90 hectares and planted approximately 40,000 trees. Today half of them are already registered in the MITERD National Register of the Spanish Office of Climate Change (OECC), specifically the Endesa Doñana Forest Initiative (Huelva) and the Endesa La Atalaya Forest Initiative (Madrid) and the remaining two, more recent, the Endesa Oso Pardo Forest Initiative (Catalan Pyrenees) and the Endesa Teruel Forest Initiative, are in the process of registration.

The projects that make up the initiative are:

Endesa Forest Initiative: La Atalaya

Project developed in the municipality of Valdemaqueda, north of Madrid, where there was a large fire in 2012 that covered an area of 2,000 hectares that has affected many habitats and species of interest, including the imperial eagle, the black vulture and the stork.

In 2016, forest restoration was carried out on an area of 20 hectares, with 5,000 plants, using planting and seeding techniques with pine and holm oak, as well as ash, willow and strawberry tree previously planted in 2015. This project has a 30-year commitment, in which it is estimated that the resulting forest will be able to absorb 474 tons of CO₂.

The project was successfully registered in the National Carbon Footprint Registry, in the Absorption Projects section in March 2017. Since then an annual inventory has been carried out (three to date) to assess the degree of success of the plantation and ensure 100% survival of the introduced trees.

Endesa Forest Initiative: Doñana

In 2017 there was a dramatic fire that affected an area of 8,486 hectares in the natural park around Doñana (managed by the Junta de Andalucía) affecting countless species of interest and protected species, including the Iberian lynx and the imperial eagle.

In 2019, coinciding with the united nations conference on climate change held in Madrid (COP 25), forest restoration work was carried out on 40 hectares of those affected by the fire. To this end, a total of 18,240 native forest plants/seeds were introduced, including the cork oak, olive tree, strawberry tree, wild pear, willow, myrtle and mastic. The objective is to restore a forest that, among other environmental bonanzas, is capable of capturing 3,606 tons of CO₂ over the next 40 years (commitment made for the maintenance of the project by Endesa).

It is worth noting the relevance of the project as a vector of environmental awareness and volunteering. In October 2019, the first volunteer day was held with the planting of 500 trees (cork oaks and olive trees) carried out by around 90 people from the General Directorate of Institutional Relations and Regulation of Endesa.

A second day of corporate volunteering also took place in parallel to the celebration of COP25. In this case, 30 employees from Andalusia contributed their bit in the fight against climate change with the reforestation of 300 forest plants, mainly cork oaks.

Endesa Brown Bear Forest Initiative

Developed between 2016 and 2019 in the Alt Pirineu Natural Park and Red Natura 2000 "Alt Pallars" space, the forest restoration focused on native fruit species with which, beyond absorbing CO2, it was intended to improve the availability of food in the bear habitat in areas of connectivity and dispersal of bears in the Natural Park and environment, thus contributing to the conservation of the brown bear, a species whose population disappeared in this area and is now recovering.

Plantations were carried out in 2018 and 2019 in an area of more than seven hectares where 9,150 fruit trees were introduced for the bears (raspberries, apple trees, cherry trees, holly trees and black pine) that are expected to be able to absorb at least 1,210 tons of CO2 in the next 30 years (useful life of the project).

Endesa Teruel Forest Initiative

It came about in 2019 with the idea of contributing to the forest restoration of land that was destroyed by the forest fire of 2009 that devastated more than 10,000 hectares, mainly in the region of Andorra-Sierra de Arcos, where Endesa has deep roots.

It was presented at COP25, where we actively participate as a senior partner and invite all attendees to our stand to voluntarily request the planting of a tree on their behalf, free of charge. Among the participating volunteers were Teresa Ribera (Minister of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge), Pedro Duque (Minister of Science and Innovation), Isabel Diaz Ayuso (President of the Community of Madrid), Juan María Moreno (President of the Junta Andalucía), Carmen Crespo (Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development of the Junta de Andalucía) and Jose Bogas and Juan Sánchez-Calero as CEO and Chairman of Endesa, respectively.

The project has materialised in a total investment of € 98,958 in the next three years, which involves the forest restoration of an approximate area of 20 hectares distributed among the municipalities of Ejulve, La Zoma and Aliaga, through the introduction of 10,000 native forest plants, forming a mixed mass of Oak, Gall Oak, Holly Trees, Aleppo Pine, Laricio Pine, Hawthorn, Juneberry, Blackthorn, Mountain Ash and Nettle Tree.

It is estimated that this forest will capture 2,477 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere in the useful life of the project, that is 50 years, in addition to helping to environmentally recover an area where we find Red Natura 2000 spaces, such as ZEC (Special Conservation Area), ZEPA (Special Protection Area for Birds) and IBA (of importance for the Conservation of Birds and Biodiversity).

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