Land Life Company boosts reforestation in the Mediterranean

Land Life Company is on a mission to reforest two billion hectares of the world’s degraded land, with Spain and the Mediterranean now a key project area.

Photo: Land Life Company

Land Life Company, founded in 2013, operates at a global scale across more than 20 countries. However, in recent years, Spain and the larger Mediterranean have become a key project area. A history of excessive deforestation, monoculture and extractive land use have degraded over 10 million ha in Spain alone. Climate change threatens to turn more than a third of the country into desert and has increased the frequency and magnitude of forest fires, feeding into a cycle of land abandonment. Scientific consensus and general public opinion around the importance of planting trees as a tool to restore natural ecosystems and combat the effects of climate change is growing exponentially.

Through a combination of large-scale corporate programmes as well as the EU-funded LIFE Project The Green Link, Land Life has managed to spread their impact throughout more than 15 locations across Spain and other Mediterranean countries since 2015. 

Working closely with regional governments, local partners and surrounding communities, Land Life Company will have planted 660,000 trees solely in Spain by December 2019. Technology is harnessed to provide optimal survival rates and efficiency at each step of the value chain. Trees planted using the Cocoon, a tree incubator storing water to replenish tree seedlings through their most vulnerable growth time have achieved impressive survival rates of above 85%. Drones and satellites are used to design planting schemes, select the optimal native species combination and to monitor tree performance; meanwhile, detailed information on individual tree performance is collected in Land Life’s proprietary database.

In 2018, in cooperation with the regional government of Castilla y León and local stakeholders, 100,000 trees were planted on severely degraded land in Fresno de Rodilla (Palencia province) after a flash fire in 2012 so fierce that it consumed 200 hectares of forest in a single day. Today, more than 100 hectares have been replanted, creating a new forest where another once stood.

The site in nearby Fontecha posed a different challenge. After years of extensive agricultural use and deforestation, a large swath of public land had been abandoned while locals migrated towards larger cities. Land Life planted 45,000 trees in spring 2019 as part of a larger 300-hectare planting project to offset the carbon footprint of a corporate client, while also testing a stand-alone and break-through automated planting machine that integrates all steps of the planting process and increases planting speed by a factor of 5-6 compared to manual labour.

Land Life is quickly scaling its operations in Spain, having planted 300 hectares in 2018, and another 600 hectares by end of this year. During 2020, Land Life expects to plant over 1 million trees in Spain, showing that reforestation and land restoration is a growing market with enormous economic, social and environmental potential.

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EFIMED is the Mediterranean Facility of the European Forest Institute. Based in Barcelona, Spain, it was launched in 2007.