Vision: To live on a sustainably cultivated land surrounded by a functioning forest ecosystem serving as a natural fire break. Promote the idea and support and inspire others to reduce the fire risk in the region.
Mission: To create a safe environment at Keela Yoga Farm and the surrounding region of Castelo Branco, Fundao and Penamacor.
When looking for land in Portugal, we were hoping to buy around 3 hectares (7.4 acres) of land and designate 1 hectare for reforestation. However we ended up buying 18.1 hectares (45 acres) of very fertile land and so our reforestation project is now going to be on a much larger scale. Click here to buy some trees at cost price for us to plant.
There are a lot of forests in Portugal, however they are usually planted specifically for farming and profit such as eucalyptus and pine trees. We will give our land for the following types of permanent reforestation:
10 hectares (25 acres) of native mixed forest.
This is a current barren area which was burned down in a wild fire around 5 years ago and now has some grasses and small trees popping up everywhere.
We will predominantly plant a variety of oaks (cork, holm, Portuguese, American) and a variety of other native trees that grow well here such as the strawberry tree, olive tree, chestnuts and alder. Please click here for the complete list.
We are aiming to create as much diversity as possible and will include an understory.
In between planting all these native trees, we will also plant faster growing trees such as pine. These trees will shoot up faster and provide some shade for the other native trees. Then after around 20 years we will clear most of the pine to use for any buildings, decking, benches or fence posts. This will be part of our carbon offsetting program as every time you grow a tree you are taking carbon out of the air and putting it into the wood. As long as you don’t burn the tree you are keeping the carbon out of the air.
After the pines have been harvested the native mixed forest will be left to thrive by itself with minimum human intervention. We will also leave at least 1 hectare completely to nature, this will be so we can observe what naturally occurs over the years.
Why not buy some trees on behalf of a friend or yourself for us to plant and offset your carbon footprint? Click here . We will buy the plants on your behalf and we will fund collection, planting and irrigation.
3 hectares of Food forest
This is in the areas with very fertile terraces that are currently overgrown with weeds and brambles and have some olive trees that require some attention. This area was historically used for growing vegetables and olive trees. They were burnt down by the wild fire and are now growing back naturally. We will be aiming to create a diversity of trees and plants that will provide us with food. A diversity of trees in a food forest, rather than a traditional orchard, creates a habitat for the food soil web and wildlife which then leads to soils that become increasingly more fertile. We will be spreading the trees out further to create more space for light to come to the understory so that we can plant an array of plants that will provide us with fruit, vegetables, nuts, firewood, timber and anything else that we can grow.
Please click here to learn more about food forests.
3 hectares of diversifying the existing forests
We already have some land that has many cork and holm oak trees but we plan to plant other trees around here to add diversity. Most locals will only keep cork trees in monoculture and plough everything in between them, destroying the food soil web and diversity. They do this as every 9 years the bark (cork) is removed from the tree and sold for insulation and wine bottles. If we can create income from our yoga classes and courses to cover the costs of living and reforestation, we will not need to cut the bark off.
2 hectares of open land and pasture
We can not reforest all of our land, open space is also nice 🙂
Help us with reforestation by buying baby trees. You buy the trees, we will supply the manure, tools and volunteers to plant them. Baby trees range from 1 EUR for 5 trees to 1 EUR for 1 tree, or can be upto 10 EUR for larger trees.