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Ecosia launches its first tree planting project in France » PACA’s economic and political letter

To date, Ecosia has planted and protected 13.8 million trees through fire-related projects, out of the total 154 million trees planted by the Ecosia community.

This first French plantation project is located near the fire stations of Port-de-Bouc and Fos-sur-Mer.

A project carried out in partnership with “Replanting our Provencal forest” and the Firefighters13.

Only native species, mostly pyro-resistant, will be planted: holm oak, olive trees and strawberry trees.

In this context of unprecedented forest fires in France, Ecosia – a search engine that uses its profits to plant trees in critical biodiversity areas – is rolling out a project to plant trees of pyro-resistant species, around two fire and rescue centers of the Departmental Fire and Rescue Service of Bouches-du-Rhône (SDIS 13). The objective of this project is to restore what was destroyed, but also to strengthen the presence of native species in the region, to make the area more resistant to potential fires and to improve the immediate environment of the firefighters of the region.

Forest fires and heat wave: France faces a critical situation

In mid-July, marked by an increase in scorching temperatures and a severe drought, fires ravage Europe and in particular the forests of southern France. In one month, nearly 17,000 hectares of forests have thus gone up in smoke and it is to be feared that the counter has not finished racing, several fires not yet being able to be controlled. All with the disastrous human and environmental consequences that we know: thousands of people evacuated, animals trapped and a dramatic loss of biodiversity. The multiplication of these phenomena on the Old Continent, a direct consequence of global warming according to scientists, is a glimpse of what we will now have to face and of the urgency of adapting and finding concrete solutions.

Planting trees to prevent forest fires in the Bouches-du-Rhône

Ecosia did not wait to act, this is also one of the reasons why the company exists. The search engine, which devotes 100% of its profits to the planet, has, to date, planted and protected 13.8 million trees through various fire-related projects (among the 154 million planted in total around the world) , notably in Brazil, Australia and the United States. It is now beginning the deployment of projects in France.

In collaboration with the Departmental Fire and Rescue Service of Bouches-du-Rhône (SDIS 13), Ecosia will plant several hundred fire-resistant native species trees (holm oak, olive trees and strawberry trees) in an area prone to fires, while focusing on raising awareness and educating the local population about forest fires and their underlying causes.

With the SDIS 13, we thought about a sustainable planting plan which is characterized by the planting of 200 trees of pyro-resistant Mediterranean species in Port-de-Bouc and Fos-sur-Mer. These trees will not only help restore what has been destroyed, but also make the area more resilient. Indeed, trees will help retain rain, lower temperatures, purify the air, absorb some of the carbon emitted by fires and provide essential habitat for animals. In addition, this project includes a dimension of awareness and education of local populations on the importance of preserving this ecosystem.“, comments Mélissa De Hertogh, responsible for planting trees at Ecosia.

Forest fires become recurrent in the region once summer arrives: in 2020, around 2,000 hectares were burned in this way. Beyond the ever-increasing recurrence of these phenomena, we deplore the virtual disappearance of local Mediterranean species, naturally resistant to fires and the still too timid awareness of local populations and tourists. We therefore wanted to respond to this by replanting local species near two of our fire and rescue centers, while continuing to participate in the prevention of forest fires, but also in the enhancement of the forest for the local population. (schoolchildren, homes for the disabled, etc.)“, confirms Richard MALLIE President of the Departmental Fire and Rescue Service of Bouches-du-Rhône.

Planting 200 trees may seem minimal given the current devastation, but it is only the beginning and we already know that the restoration of native and fire-resistant species must be developed in France. I therefore call today on the public authorities and companies that have the means to act to join us in order to support actors in the field such as firefighters and to grasp the importance of restoring and protecting our natural spaces.“, concludes Christian Kroll, CEO and founder of Ecosia.

Based in Berlin, Germany, Ecosia is the world’s largest non-profit search engine. The tech company dedicates 100% of its profits to the planet and has worked with local communities in more than 35 countries to plant more than 150 million trees. In 2014 Ecosia was the first company in Germany to be accredited as a B Corporation and in 2017 it built the first of a growing portfolio of solar power plants, which now produce enough energy to power all the research. In 2018, Ecosia sold its shares to the Purpose Foundation, to ensure that it could never be sold and that no one, including the founder, could profit or receive dividends from the company. Ecosia was founded by Christian Kroll in 2009.

The Bouches-du-Rhône SDIS is made up of 7,000 agents who carry out emergency rescue missions for people as well as other missions concerning urban, industrial or forest fires and other various operations. With more than 450 interventions daily, they have real expertise in the fight against forest fires which ravage the national territory every year. The Pompiers13 are also committed to an eco-responsible approach in their daily behavior as well as in educating the population of Bouches-du-Rhône on the risks of civil security.

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