Book a Trip with us and We’ll Help Save a Forest!
Anthony Bay’s Europe is proud to be associated with the Institute for the Protection of Mediterranean Forests, and our commitment is that for every booking made with us, we will donate a sum of money to help support the Institute.
The Institute for the Protection of Mediterranean Forests is a governmental organisation created in 1989 to preserve the forests of Provence from devastation and destruction, particularly through fire. Each year over 3,000 fires ignite in the region, with flames up to 100’ high destroying as much as 30,000 acres of woodland (in bad years this can rise to 90,000 acres), not to mention the other flora, animals and birds that are also decimated.
The Institute finances on-going experiments in fire-prevention techniques, lobbies for new laws to help control fires (such as undergrowth clearing around houses and along roads), and finances vast networks of cisterns and thoroughfares throughout the forests so as to give fire fighters rapid mobility and access to water supplies.
The Institute’s work is not just restricted to help fighting fires. Central to its strategy is a carefully planned strategy to preserve the complex biodiversity of the differing forests’ ecosystems. Re-forestation and clearing overgrown areas are naturally key elements to this, and thanks to the efforts of the Institute the forests of Provence have seen an annual net 1% increase in land covered by forests.
Education remains a key element in the Institute’s activities. The most obvious example is making locals and tourists alike aware of the dangers of forest fires and how to avoid them. This is a particularly urgent and arduous job during the long, hot summers when so many tourists converge on the forests, often with scant understanding of the dangers they represent to the flora and fauna.
Education also involves making locals aware of the huge, natural benefits that forested land can bring them, so that the forests are seen as a positive resource to preserve and cherish, rather than rather a large and incomprehensible collection of trees. The rise of green tourism has necessitated the creation of car parks, footpaths, picnic areas and even boating lakes, all of which must be sensitively developed but all of which bring income to that region.
Other sources of income which the forests can generate include the cultivation of natural products – such as mushrooms, honey, wild game – and the controlled exploitation of trees to produce wood and wood by-products.
Finally, and key to the Institute’s principles, is the need to win the hearts and minds of local children throughout Provence, to make aware of the treasure that the forests can represent for them today and in the future. To this end the Institute organises a series of activities and initiatives at local schools, ranging from day trips into the woodlands to longer study classes during vacations.