On Sunday the 26th of November 2023, around two hundred people planted no fewer than 3,800 trees in Limbourg during Luminus Forest in One Day. Together with Luminus and our technical partner Sylva Nova, it’s the fifth time we’ve organised a successful tree-planting event. It was a fantastic day full of mud, trees and laughter.
Reforestation in Limbourg
The 1.6 ha site in Limbourg was a forest until five years ago, when it was destroyed by an infestation of the bark beetle. For five years, the area was overgrown by blackberries. The owner of the plot was very excited to work with us to restore the piece of land to its original glory, but with deliberate modifications so that the new forest could withstand climate change and infestations.
The species planted by numerous volunteers and local residents include Scots pine, oak, maple, hornbeam and chestnut in rows in the woodland area, and hawthorn, hazel, European hornbeam, dogwood and hornbeam in the double-row hedges.
This new forest not only improves the landscape, but it also has a positive effect on the environmental in multiple ways. The development of this site is part of a major plan to transform and upgrade the entire area to combating climate change and biodiversity loss, especially in this region that was severely affected by the 2021 floods. Among other things, the new forest will store CO2, help filter water, prevent soil erosion, provide fresh air and host a large reservoir of biodiversity. In short, it will have a number of positive effects that no technology has yet been able to match.
“The development of this area is all the more important in a region that is unfortunately prone to flooding. Reforestation of the slopes of areas near rivers is a good way to preserve the soil and its ability to absorb floods and prevent landslides. This is an important benefit in this context, in addition to the traditional benefits provided by a forest. So while this forest was indeed planted in 1 day, it is important to remember that it takes a long time to grow a forest. If it is planted in 1 day, but maintained over many years, it will add value to a region and a community over several generations. And generations are exactly what this Luminus Forest in One Day is about, with all walks of life present, interested and active!” Pierre Hermans, founder of Sylva Nova.
The mayor of Ville de Limbourg, Valérie Dejardin, also came to plant trees. “In Limbourg, we have known since at least July 2021 that climate disasters are not limited to faraway places. We are all affected by global warming and its dramatic consequences. To adapt and prevent history from repeating itself, we need to mobilise all our citizens. From this point of view, today’s event was a success and should encourage us to rethink spatial planning for the entire Vesdre Valley. Restoring nature so that we can live in harmony with it: it is a grand and ambitious programme that we must implement together!”
Partnership between Luminus and JGI Belgium
In 2019, Luminus and JGI Belgium joined forces for the first time. In four years, the partnership has already planted 36,000 trees in Belgium and 3,600,000 trees in Africa. This year we can add another 3,800 trees in Belgium and 75,000 in Africa. After all, in Africa a tree has a greater impact than in Europe as trees there convert CO2 all year round and provide shade, shelter and food for people and animals.
Grégoire Dallemagne, CEO of Luminus : “We are proud of our partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute Belgium and our tree-planting campaign Luminus Forest in One Day. Indeed, deforestation, together with greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2, is the cause of climate change. We estimate that thanks to our tree planting actions in Belgium and Burundi, 80,000 tonnes of CO2 can be removed from the air every year. This is very important in the fight against climate change. And Luminus has made that fight its raison d’être: building together a CO2-neutral energy future, where planetary protection, well-being and economic growth are reconciled thanks to electricity and innovative solutions and services.”
Els Martens of JGI Belgium: “For every tree we plant today, we plant a few more in Burundi, where we are making a huge difference. Not only for the CO2 absorption, shade and food they provide, but they also help protect against erosion and increase habitat for wildlife such as chimpanzees. Here in Limbourg, as in Burundi, cooperation with and support from the local community and young people is essential to contribute to a greener and healthier environment. ”
A day filled with positivity!
It is difficult to summarise in words and images how it feels to plant a forest in 1 day. You just have to experience it yourself! It was exhausting. And yes, the cold and the rain made it tricky. But nothing beats the feeling of seeing so many people working together to do their bit to restore biodiversity. Besides the wet, muddy clothes and cold feet, you go home with a sense of togetherness and satisfaction that few things can match. Especially when you see the little ones dragging tree saplings before enthusiastically planting them in the ground. “See mom! We are going to be able to breathe for a long time to come!” It will take some time before this forest can neutralise enough CO2, but the kids have already understood why forests are so important, even in our country. That’s what Roots & Shoots is all about. Getting the next generation ready to do their bit and learn about the importance of trees and forests.
We certainly can’t imagine a better outcome for our Luminus Forest in One action. We would like to thank everyone who attended! And we can already confirm that we will organise another Luminus Forest in One Day in 2024. Here’s to another successful edition!