• Got : 3900€ / Objective : 3900€

About the action

General Presentation of the Association and the Project

The eco-refuge is a farm animal sanctuary and an educational farm where all environmental topics are addressed through experimentation, shared with all audiences.

Our actions revolve around environmental, social, and inclusion aspects.

The eco-refuge is situated on a farm with 1.5 hectares of land used for the farm animals of the refuge, the permaculture garden, and the building area. Additionally, there is a small woodland, but its limited size and the sole presence of endemic species put it at risk in the face of climate change challenges. Several existing trees, including century-old oaks, are dying.

To protect this natural space, which is already a refuge for many animals, and to increase the wooded area on site, the micro-forest project will aim to establish hardy endemic species and others more resistant to drought and extreme climate variations. This forest will also play a role for pollinators by having as extended a flowering period as possible. Finally, the installation of biodiversity refuges (for insects, birds, small mammals) will allow the endemic and migratory wildlife to be welcomed from the beginning of the micro-forest's establishment. Educational panels will be installed, and awareness-raising actions will be carried out to illustrate by example the importance of setting up such micro-forests, especially on communal lands but also on private properties.

Challenges Encountered, Leading to this Project

The eco-refuge is located at the border between Beauce and Perche. This area has very large fields, and wooded areas and hedges are too rare, leaving little refuge for biodiversity and an insufficient variety of flowers for pollinators.

The ongoing climate change is starting to affect even well-established trees. Drought, extreme weather events, significant temperature variations are all difficulties preventing endemic tree and shrub species (oaks, ashes, hazels, willows) from fully developing, and even leading to their death by weakening their defenses (example: several hectares of dead ash trees a few kilometers from the farm due to a fungus that only infects trees weakened by drought).

While hedges are planted in various projects, there is strong local reluctance. Indeed, the question of their maintenance always arises because it represents a significant workload. Today, hedges play the role of windbreaks, biodiversity refuges, but they have lost the nourishing role they had in the past, which made their maintenance easier as it was a concern for all users of the hedges.

Today, farmers can receive subsidies for planting hedges, but too few actually do so. It is necessary to promote them by showing by example that their uses can be multiple and that their role can be both environmental and social.

Communal spaces are currently areas of circulation, and sometimes leisure, but they are never spaces for food resilience. At a time when food production is one of the sectors with the greatest environmental impact, allowing a locality to reclaim its commons to produce healthy food seems essential.

Detailed Description of the Project

Establishment of the Micro-Forest

The micro-forest will be established on about 300m2 in total. This area will be on the edge of the existing woodland on the farm, to create a protective barrier against the elements and drought, and along the animal meadow in a band about 2m wide.

It will consist of different layers, each with at least one role. This stratified composition is inspired by the work of edible micro-forests conducted by the farm at Bec-Hellouin, a reference in this field:

- The canopy will consist of endemic fruit trees and those more resistant to drought, as well as trees with a high capacity for photosynthesis (e.g., Paulownia), and trees with high biomass production (e.g., ash) that can be pollarded.

- The lower tree layer will consist of smaller trees, endemic or not, with high productivity (in flowers, fruits, biomass).

- The shrub layer will consist of fruit-bearing shrubs, particularly to thicken access to the micro-forest and effectively shelter small mammals.

- The herbaceous layer is composed of vegetables and perennial plants (including medicinal herbs).

- The ground cover layer consists of creeping plants that enhance soil life and allow the production of flowers and fruits.

- The rhizosphere is planted with root plants with strong soil-working capabilities, promoting humus production and the establishment of a quality clay-humus complex, essential for soil life and thus plant life.

- The vertical layer can be established with non-invasive climbing plants (fruit trees) on the tallest trees.

Welcome to Biodiversity, an Immediate Priority

Because the development of the micro-forest will take time, it will be essential to help in the initial reception of wildlife by creating and installing habitats for various species: insect hotels, bird and bat houses, hedgehog shelters, and other small mammal shelters will be made and installed for the first few years.

Awareness, Essential for Spreading the Word

Because such a project is only interesting if it is visible and reproducible, the entire process will be precisely documented and made freely accessible to anyone or community wishing to take it up. Additionally, educational panels will be set up around the planted species and the processes followed for the implementation of the micro-forest.

Finally, animation times around the micro-forest will be set up, especially for local elected officials and company managers.

Human Resources Deployed to Realize the Project

The eco-refuge currently has two full-time employees to manage the activities and projects of the farm. The coordinator - educational and technical animator will take charge of this project during his work time (estimated at 100 hours in total for the implementation of the project in 2023).

As with each of its actions, this project will be carried out with the users of the association. Thus, several groups will actively participate in the implementation of the project:

- Residents of 2 life homes will participate both in the creation of shelters for wildlife and in planting (and possibly reproducing) plants.
- The local resilience group collective created by the association will also volunteer to implement the project (especially planting, clearing beforehand)
- 2 groups of young people in IME will participate in planting and setting up shelters
- The Digny school will also come to participate in planting the micro-forest

Financial Resources to be Mobilized for the Realization of the Project

- Purchase of trees, shrubs, and other plants:
To cover an area of 300m2, the purchase of plants, especially trees, will be necessary. In addition to purchases, the reproduction of endemic trees will be carried out, partly to limit costs, but also and especially to have local species already adapted to soil conditions.
Cost for this expenditure item: 2500 €
- Provision of the coordinator - educational and technical animator (100h: 1200 €)
- Purchase of materials and supplies for the construction of shelters for wildlife: Even if material recovery remains a priority, the purchase of hardware and raw materials will still be essential for quality constructions.
Cost for this expenditure item: 400€
- Production of educational panels:
The educational panels should allow easy reading and present good resistance to the climate. It will therefore be necessary to call on the services of a professional printer to produce them. Cost of producing the educational panels: 800€

Total cost of the project: 4900€

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