First cooperative forest in Flanders located on the outskirts of Brussels
The municipality of Dilbeek, just outside Brussels, is home to Flanders' first cooperative forest. Those who buy a share will not only be able to participate actively but will also be legal co-owners of the forest, reports Inter Press Service.
This is the difference from other initiatives that rely mainly on donations. "The cooperatives remain co-owners of the established forests. In other words, they do not lose their money," says Bert De Somviele of BOS+, a Flemish organisation dedicated to forest conservation, better forests and more forests in Flanders and the world.
"The cooperatives are more than just the financial engine of the story because they are also - for those who want to - actively involved in establishing and managing the new forests."
Meer Bos (More Woods), as the cooperative is called, chose the municipality of Dilbeek to launch the initiative. Seven hundred native trees have been planted there. The project is supported by Flemish Environment minister Zuhal Demir of Flemish nationalists N-VA, who is responsible for developing the Flemish forest, and Ben Weyts, the minister responsible for the Vlaamse Rand, the 19 Flemish municipalities bordering Brussels.
The project will gradually be extended to other municipalities in the Vlaamse Rand. In the long term, the cooperative aims to operate throughout Flanders. The initiators say local interaction is crucial, as people are more likely to invest in local projects. The plan is to open the cooperative forests to the public.
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