Here at Bio4Climate, we are always keen on learning about various ecological restoration projects taking place around the world. We recently spoke with Lesley Laws, who has designed a carbon sink project in Spain. She calls it the Zero Carbon Farming and Forestry Project Burga.
Bio4Climate: Hi Lesley! Please tell us, where in the world are you currently living?
Lesley: I live in the valley of Southern Catalonia, Spain with my son Toni and his financée. We own a 5-acre plot, which will be the initial seed bank property for the project's nursery; it will provide seedlings for the project properties and also help replant the [surrounding] forest after thousands of trees were lost to wildfires. We have our own trees grown from seed, including native pines, western red cedar, Arizona blue cypress, loquat and ipe. Toni was born here less than a month after we moved to Spain. He is an integral part of this project. He was born and bred here in the valley - so one might say it's in his blood.
I was born and raised in the highlands of Kenya. My father was an engineer for Caltex Oil and my mother ran the farm: 300 acres of tea bushes, 50 acres of fruit orchards, commercial rabbit farming and a small herd of beef cattle. At school in Kenya we were encouraged to learn to work about the dairy, pig and mushroom farming business.
Here in Catalonia we have lived off the grid for 28 years. Solar and wind generate all of our electrical needs and we have cisterns and collect all our rainwater. Toni will be on the farming side of the project and also oversee all maintenance of solar technology and the machinery.
Bio4Climate: What is the project you are working on and how does it contribute to increasing biodiversity in the surrounding ecosystem?
Lesley: The project is what I'm calling a "Green Carpet Revolution" and it aims to protect the area from being redesigned for urban expansion as more properties are put up for sale or abandoned (this is an urgent problem) - to realize its potential as a carbon sink and biodiversity habitat. There is already an area of over 24,000 acres with traditional olive and almond groves, vineyards and areas of private forest and woodland. That is the foundation on which to build greater biodiversity.
|The project is completely powered by renewable energy. PC: Lesley Laws
Bio4Climate: What are some of the species that are native to this area?
Lesley: The valley is home to many animal species, from wild boars and pygmy shrews to bats, owls, hawks, and many other species, both native and migratory, who rely on this area to nest and feed. Traditional foraging for snails, wild asparagus, and mushrooms in the forest plays an important role in local life.
Bio4Climate: How much atmospheric carbon can this project sequester?
Lesley: The initial project, once permiculture and biochar are utilized, has the potential to sequester roughly 850 tonnes of carbon per year. If the project can expand to a larger size, that could increase to 60,000 tonnes per year.
Bio4Climate: That all sounds very exciting. Where can readers find out more?
Lesley: At the end of the month we are having a crowd-funding campaign titled "Back to Eden" on Ulule. The funding will help us develop a website and blog and an online shop, where we will sell local honey, extra virgin olive oil, and other quality natural products and crafts.
If people wish to contact us for further details on the project they can email me at choices4u121(at)gmail(dot)com.
Bio4Climate: Thanks so much for speaking with us, Lesley!