Mini-forests to be planted in Romanian cities

Alina Oprea
The Minister of the Environment, Waters, and Forests, Mircea Fechet, announced the launch of the call for projects for the planting of mini-forests in Romanian cities. Starting today, September 27, at 12:00 p.m. until April 30, 2024, the fundraising round for Sub-investment I.1.C. "Creation of urban forests", financed from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR). The total financial allocation granted through the PNRR is €30 million, the equivalent of RON 148.91 million. The purpose of the investment is to grant financing to urban administrative-territorial units (cities, municipalities) and other public institutions for the establishment of new urban forests on the lands they own.

The session will be a non-competitive, open call, for all eligible applicants, on a "first come, first served" basis, within the limit of the maximum eligible budget allocated, i.e. until the total financial allocation is exhausted, but no later than April 30, 2024.

"These mini-forests will be islands of biodiversity that will protect the population from dust, reduce pollution, and store more carbon dioxide than a regular forest. So, considering the air quality in many of Romania's cities, the problems with dust, and the problems with PM2.5 and PM10 particles, I dare to believe that these investments will act as real doctors in those communities and bring a cleaner. I hope to have as many projects as possible submitted, both by the town halls and by the school units", emphasized the Minister of the Environment, Waters and Forests, Mircea Fechet.

Regarding the financial allocation at the project level, the maximum eligible value cannot exceed an average value of a maximum of €9.5/sqm, equivalent to RON 47.156 /sqm, without VAT.

These urban forests will be established using a wide variety of trees and shrubs from native species and will have high densities, so that they will constitute "green lungs", which will bring multiple benefits, such as air purification, noise reduction, carbon storage, preserving the landscape, reducing air temperature, reducing anxiety and implicitly improving public health.

The calendar proposed by PNRR mentions the realization, by December 31, 2023, of an area of ​​500,000 sqm, and the realization, by June 30, 2026, of an area of ​​3,150,000 sqm of such forests.

Eligible applicants are:

  1. Territorial Administrative Units (UAT), respectively: county seat municipalities; the municipality of Bucharest; other municipalities; cities; counties;
  2. Administrative-territorial subdivisions of the municipality of Bucharest;
  3. Public educational institutions;
  4. Partnerships between the previously mentioned types of applicants.

The location proposed by the technical-economic project for the creation of urban forests must meet, cumulatively, the following conditions:

1. Be owned or managed by the applicant/partner;

2. To be located in the inner city or in the peri-urban area of ​​a city or municipality;

3. Not to present prohibitions or functional incompatibilities regarding the installation of forest vegetation;

4. Have a compact surface of at least 100 sqm and a width of at least 2 m;

5. To be suitable for planting after carrying out the land preparation works and to not have previously installed forest vegetation;

6. Not to be in litigation and not to be the subject of a request for the reconstitution of the ownership right.

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