REN - Redes Energéticas Nacionais and CPM - Cooperativa Portuguesa de Medronho (Portuguese Strawberry Tree Fruit Cooperative) have established a partnership to promote strawberry trees as one of the indigenous species that landowners can grow on spaces crossed by power line corridors.
By entering into this partnership, which will have economic, social and environmental benefits, namely natural protection against forest fires, REN aims to maximise the profits that landowners can make from spaces that were previously abandoned, while promoting the maintenance and conservation of biodiversity. This species also guarantees a safe distance from power line corridors, impacting on the way in which the land is used and occupied.
According to João Gaspar, head of Easements and Assets at REN, 'the partnership makes a lot of sense, since 50% of our infrastructure is located in forest areas. Strawberry trees are one of the species we promote and include in the management of vegetation existing in power line corridors, since they allow us to spread out maintenance periods and help the landowner make more of a profit.'
Carlos Fonseca, President of the CPM, believes that 'the value of this strategic partnership, which aims to extend the area designated for strawberry trees and boost production of medronho (the fruit) within our country, is becoming increasing recognised because of the multiple ways in which this small red indigenous fruit can be used'.
This agreement envisages a number of activities to raise awareness and promote the possible uses of strawberry trees and in particular its fruit, medronho, which is considered to have great potential in the agri-food, cosmetic, medicinal and decorative industries.
Over the last five years, REN has planted almost half a million trees over more than 1000 ha, which is equivalent to planting around 300 trees per day. REN aims to plant one million trees by 2018.