This summer, Social Forest turned part of an unmanaged forest area into a sustainable and educational forest. This work was done at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, a pioneer in environmental management in its field. Promoted by FIM-Ride Green (International Motorcycle Federation – Ride Green), the project KISS Barcelona 2019 (Keep it Shiny and Sustainable) was created. The project has since received the FIM Environmental Award 2019 for its very successful completion.
The project’s goal for the Circuit was raising sustainability, biodiversity and environmental awareness on the premises for the event of the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™. To achieve these goals, the project implemented a combination of awareness campaigns and sustainability initiatives around the event and the sustainable management of forests and green zones. Social Forest’s expertise in sustainable forest management supported their role in this project, which consisted of a combination of pruning, felling and planting trees, further embodying sustainable management by utilising leftover materials from the pruning and felling. The Circuit accounts for 25 hectares of green zones, 13 hectares of which are forest areas.
Pruning was an important step in this project – and in Social Forest’s sustainable management work in general – for several reasons. For instance, the removal of dead branches and tree wounds is indispensable for trees’ health. In order to reduce the risk of forest fires, small, low-level branches and shrubs were removed to reduce the amount of fuel available to catch and spread fires. Pruning is also a safety matter, as it prevents the risk of falling dead branches. Another benefit of the pruning is the aesthetic effect it has to make the forest a pleasant place for Circuit visitors.
Diseased and dead trees were felled and the remains were used for other purposes, as explained in more detail below. The regeneration and protection of the landscape will be managed in the future. Social Forest planted a variety of indigenous species. The diversification of tree species is an important step to prevent domination of one species. Indigenous trees and shrubs were selected that are resistant to pollution and attract native wildlife, especially birds and insects, to the area.
The concept of circular forest management comprises the re-use of felled and pruned material within the forest area. Social Forest used small debris, chipped wood and tree trunks to improve the moisture retention capacity and hydrological self-management of the small forest area on the Circuit, thereby also inhibiting the growth of weeds and building shelter for wildlife that lives in and around decomposing wood. In the spirit of an educational forest experience, a group of students of a local school, Parets de Vallès, built insect hotels and nest boxes, using materials from the forest.
Through this work on the forest areas of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Social Forest created a healthy forest with increased biodiversity that is pleasing for both staff and visitors, and which sets a great example of how a previously unmanaged forest area can flourish under sustainable management. In June 2019, the new Circuit was successfully inaugurated by the racing driver Marc Márquez in the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP.