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.