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Planting work completed in the Nelson Mandela Park in Molina de Segura

LIFE CITYAdaP3, incorporates 507 new plants of autochthonous species

The City Council of Molina de Segura, through the Department of Environment, has coordinated and directed the project of works of Reforestation and establishment of urban sustainable drainage systems (SUDS) for adaptation to Climate Change Nelson Mandela Park, under the LIFE19 program CCA/ES/001209 - CITYAdaP3, adaptation to Climate Change in Molina de Segura, which has involved a cost of 94. 720 euros, and in which 507 new units of native species have been planted, including Aleppo pines, stone pines, carob trees, strawberry trees, holm oaks, laurels, mulberry trees, walnut trees, tarays, hackberry trees, willows, as well as shrub species, such as rosemary, myrtle, rockroses, lavender, junipers, aladiernos and salvias.

The LIFE CITYAdaP3 - LIFE19 CCA/ES/001209 Climate Change Adaptation Project is a European environmental project of public-private participation, led by the Federation of Municipalities of the Region of Murcia, with the collaboration of the Chair of Corporate Social Responsibility of the University of Murcia and the Eurovértice consultancy. In addition, the municipalities of Alcantarilla, Lorquí and Molina de Segura from Spain, and the municipality of Reggio Emilia from Italy are also participating. A new feature of the project is the participation of local companies from the four partner municipalities. The Molina de Segura project involves the companies Eversia, Ribera Hospital de Molina, Sercomosa, Azor Ambiental, Auxiliar Conservera, Capitrans and Soltec.

The main objective of this project, and the planting of more than 500 native plants, is to create a model to replicate adaptation to the effects of climate change in parks and gardens in the municipality of Molina de Segura, and for other municipalities with similar climatological and environmental characteristics.

The councilman of Environment, Mariano Vicente Albaladejo, notes that "trees make a valuable contribution to reduce the effects of climate change within our cities. It should be noted that cities are the physical spaces of the planet where more pollution is produced and more energy is consumed. All this has contributed to the exponential increase of carbon in the air in the last century, and more specifically in the last 35 years, reaching the highest levels of CO2 in the last 400 thousand years; hence the need to increase the trees in our city and its parks and gardens".

The trees planted in Nelson Mandela Park contribute to the reduction of temperature, and in a few years their shade will be able to reduce the temperature between 10% and 24%, depending on the species of tree. The pines (24%), mulberry trees (22.6%) and walnut trees (16.5%) stand out for their greater power to reduce the temperature.

The LIFE CITYAdaP3 Project is conducting studies and obtaining climatological data to assess the benefit of trees in the city: it is estimated that residential areas with tree cover of 15%, temperatures are reduced by up to 2-3ºC. In addition, the strategic location of trees in cities can help cool the air between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius, thus reducing the urban "heat island" effect, an accumulation of heat due to the immense mass of concrete and other heat-absorbing materials.

Another great benefit of the trees planted in Nelson Mandela Park is the reduction of pollution in a few years, since a large tree can absorb up to 150 kg of CO2 per year. They are therefore of great importance in a city where pollution is often a major problem. Trees can improve air quality, making cities healthier places to live.

Finally, trees regulate water flow and play a key role in flood prevention and natural disaster risk reduction. A mature evergreen tree can intercept more than 15,000 liters of water per year.

In conclusion, the environmental benefits of planting trees in the city of Molina de Segura and its green areas are:

- Improvement of thermal comfort and the possible reduction of environmental pollution, improving the characteristics of urban air.

- Improvement of the physical health of citizens by enabling the development of physical or recreational activities, and mental well-being derived from the natural aesthetic qualities and the generation of places of reference for society. A city with a well-planned and managed green infrastructure becomes more resilient and sustainable.

- Improved adaptive capacity of the municipality to the expected effects of climate change. For example, in the event of torrential rains and/or floods, the trees dose the rainwater through their leaves and absorb it through their roots, reducing the overload of the drainage network of Molina de Segura, while recharging the subway aquifers.

- Less exposure of people to extreme events such as heat waves. Trees provide larger shaded areas to move between different points of a municipality.

- Increased environmental humidity: cooling effect.

- Decrease in soil erosion.

- Generation of oxygen and CO2 consumption, acting as a carbon sink.

- Flood control. Sealed surfaces, such as roads and buildings, in urban areas increase the amount and speed of water flowing after prolonged or heavy rains. Trees increase stormwater control and reduce demand on storm drains.

- Increased biodiversity in the urban environment. Another consequence of climate change is the loss of biodiversity in the world. Biodiversity is defined as the variability among living organisms in all types of ecosystems.

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