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Funchal’s Trees to be Microchipped

It’s not just cats and dogs that are microchipped, but the capital’s trees as well. This new innovative practice has already been implemented by the Funchal City Council’s (CMF), Department of Science and Natural Resources since May this year.  The municipality is installing a system to manage the county’s tree heritage, which includes the implantation of chips in all trees located in the gardens and public spaces of Funchal. This new system, which is considered unique, will transform the way tagged trees are analysed, monitored and maintained, as the trees details such as species, age, maintenance history, possible diseases, geolocation including latitude and longitude are entered into a regional database.

The first phase of the project has been going well, and in addition to microchipping trees located in the county’s gardens, parks and urban green areas, a further eight thousand trees have been microchipped around the island. During the second phase of the initiative, a mobile app will be developed, allowing for the instant reading of information of each tree via a smartphone or tablet. The objective of the Municipality is to ensure total management of the variety of existing trees, as well as the continuous, appropriate and effective maintenance of trees throughout the island as well as preventing disease and anticipating any surgical needs.

The Deputy Mayor of Funchal (DMF), Idalina Perestrelo, says that ‘green spaces are inseparable from the identity of Funchal, a city that is perceived everywhere as a city of nature, and our arboreal heritage, which is also a natural and historical heritage of the region, plays a fundamental role in balancing our urban environment.  Both in terms of comfort and enhancement of public spaces, as well as contributing to the environmental quality of the area. Funchal will now be at the forefront of a new paradigm in terms of planning, management and enhancement of Madeira’s natural tree heritage.’

The municipality expects to have the first phase of the project completed by the middle of next year. The DMF also believes that once completed, the project will allow the CMF to ‘will take a huge step forward in terms of controlling the capitals arboreal landscape.  Furthermore, by having a detailed map of Funchal’s trees, it will be possible to accurately design the city’s urban planning to create a harmonious symbiosis of trees, buildings and pedestrian areas.’

Concluding she stated that ‘at a time when we see the natural heritage being called into question everywhere, Funchal once again marks a position in terms of environmental sustainability. The implementation of the new system, alongside the ongoing training of maintenance and intervention teams, will ensure that our tree heritage management system will be at the forefront of European best practices.’

Samantha Gannon

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Madeira Weekly