The Independent Forest – the Voel-forest
In the spring of 2014 The Independent AIR initiated the planting of The Independent Forest – The Voel Forest, a project started in collaboration with the municipality of Silkeborg and the local community.
To begin with the idea was to offset the carbon footprint from all the air transport we, as an international project, had to do.
But the forest became so much more than that. It became a local forest to the citizens of Voel, schools and kindergartens, families, dogs, and their humans. Everyone gets a space to experience nature close to their homes. It is a forest that gives a respite from the dominating agricultural landscape and creates more biodiversity with more than 20 different types of trees.
The goals for the forest project
When we started the project, we have followed a series of guidelines:
The forest has to be a permanent forest (Protected forest)
It can’t be privately owned and it has to be accessible to the public.
The forest has to be large enough to compensate the carbon emission caused by our air transport in the period 2014-2017.
It has to have a large diversity of wood species and it has to be indigenous (Danish) species.
The forest has to be established and tended to in close touch with nature and without insecticides or pesticides.
The goal is also to include the local community and to facilitate learning about nature and photographic art.
The process of coordinating the forest project has been fun and giving, but also demanding. This is how it went:
- The municipality of Silkeborg says yes to collaborate and offers a peace of land near Voel where the forest can be planted.
- The local council of Voel is excited and joins the collaboration – the local homeowners’ association, school and daycare is also involved.
- The Independent AIR is the project manager and coordinates the project, and planning is done in in dialogue with all the parties involved. It is planned to plant fruit trees, establish a campfire site as well as outdoors exhibition cases for photographic art.
- The Independent AIR applies for funding and gets the necessary funds for project. The municipality of Silkeborg contributes the necessary technical coordination for the establishing and long-term upkeep of the forest.
- In the spring of 2014 the forest is planted. The school and daycare in Voel participates in the planting.
- The forest is consecrated with climate friendly wok food and a cozy bonfire.
- The Independent AIR puts up a small outdoor photo exhibition and initiates a yearly event. For example we made “sun photos” with children and their parents by using plants from the meadow and forest.
The forest offsets the CO2 emission
The yearly storage of CO2 in the forest is equal to 10.5 tons in the growth period.*** That means that the trees store up more than the amount of CO2 we have put out by flying in 2014 2017 and equal to that of 2015 and 2016.
It was out goal to offset the CO2 emission up until 2017, but the forest will have a positive effect on the environment for many more years to come. Hardwood trees has a growth period that lasts for between 75-90 years, **** which means that the environment will benefit for many more years than The Independent AIR exists.