Sol Nascente is a regenerative initiative that longs to reforest Portugal and Spain by proving that a forest can be ecologically sound while also being wildly productive. In the process, we believe that committed people and communities can benefit culturally and economically from the stewarding of degraded lands into forests that resist wildfire and flourish in the age of climate crisis.
1. Developing Forest Initiatives
In Portugal and Spain many people do not plant biodiverse forests, even though they might like to, because of a belief that one can’t make reliable money with forests. Selling lumber from pine and eucalyptus monocultures provides them with a small but reliable income – a very good return can be around 9,000 euro for a single hectare after 15 years, or 600 euro per hectare per year.
Where today those monocultures are growing on land weakened by generations of neglect and mismanagement, in the future we want to see healthy and biodiverse forests. We want to live in forests that are able to not only economically support resilient local communities but also improve soils through regenerative agroforestry.
However, working examples of these forests are difficult to find. So, we will work to help local projects and organizations in both Spain and Portugal design and manage these forest models.
We believe that by demonstrating profitable and healthy forests we can be a part of a grassroots movement that helps to plant thousands -perhaps millions- of new forests.
2. Supporting a Network of Forests
Even though a significant portion of the population has access to land and even a desire to plant biodiverse forests, they are stalled by the amount of money and work it takes to steward a forest from infancy to maturity. And in Southern Europe, where the economic crisis is far from over, a structural lack of capital reinforces projects that are focused on short-term gain and low-risk.
For them, we want to be an umbrella organization through which we would promote individual and community projects, and offer them support, funding opportunities, as well as a platform for knowledge exchange and mentorship. Through these partnerships, we act as an incubator for projects with forestry at their heart, thus lowering the threshold to enacting long-term strategies.
Our goal is to foster the idea that sustained ecological and economic growth are entwined. You can’t have one without the other.
3. Ecological Education
Often, one of the biggest obstacles for ecological action is a local lack of reliable information. And while academics, and average landowners may have different expertise, each has an important piece of the puzzle. We want to close that knowledge gap by uniting these disparate sources, eliminating barriers, and connecting people with the information they need.
An informed population, inspired to act, is stronger and more capable than any single organization. In that spirit, we work to unite and teach the worlds of scientific information, cutting edge ecological practice, and traditional wisdom in a way that’s simple and intuitive enough for anyone to plant their own forest.
We use practices from the Open Source movement to make quality information freely available with the hopes of creating Open Source Forests. We want to provide local information freely in several languages, media, styles and locations in the hopes that it may soak into the practices of the day, like water into soil. In this way, we believe we can create a feedback in which people from all walks of life can take our understanding, adapt it, and continue by contributing to an ever improving shared base of knowledge.