Bringing nature back into our lives in cities of the desert: A case study from the Canary Islands

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Matias Hernandez-Gonzalez

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Arrecife is a city with more than sixty thousand inhabitants located in the desert of the Canaries, in the southeast of the island of Lanzarote. A high percent of the ecosystem has disappeared in the area because of the expansion of urbanized plots and infrastructures. ‘Arrecife Natura’ is an environmental charity founded in 2019 and dedicated to restoring the desert ecosystem in the city and urban border. With a zero euro budget, recycled materials, volunteers from the local community, the social media, and seeds from urban wild populations, we are rewilding sites around the city using native plants propagated in neighbors’ patios, terraces and roofs. We are also working with the city council to alter the policy of removing wild herbaceous plants from urban spaces. Using native species has the benefit that once established, we can step back and leave the area to nature with minimal intervention such as irrigation (biggest challenge in the desert). This approach to restoration using native species creates green spaces that require little to no long-term intervention, and benefit the wellbeing of local communities. Together, we are planting the seeds of a greener future for the city of Arrecife.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

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