ZEro-imPact innovative tecHnologY in foRest plant production

The UN General Assembly has proclaimed 2011 as the International Year of Forests, since they play a crucial role in regulating the global climate and are also a vital resource for many countries. By the European side, the Commission Green Paper “On forest protection and information in the EU: preparing forests for climate change” [COM(2010)66] underlines that forests serve multiple and interrelated social, economic and environmental functions, often at the same time and place”; forests are one of the main natural resources in the world.

Zephyr aims to introduce an innovative technology build on pre-cultivation of forest regeneration materials in a zero-impact and cost friendly production unit, not affected by outdoor climate and with LED lights providing an optimal spectrum for the photosynthesis. Light intensity, photo-period and further parameters will be automatically regulated by a control system that receives data from several sensors, while the energy will be provided by solar panels

The project will integrate these technologies into a functional system for large scale production of pre-cultivated forest regeneration materials adapted to transplanting and further growth at forest nurseries all over Europe.

The new integrated technology will make a drastic change to state-of-the-art in forest nursery production for reforestation purposes: apart from being more resource-efficient, it will also contribute to the environmental protection through: biodiversity defending, water recycling, strong reduction of fertilizers and avoidance of pesticides.

Moreover, it will allow a CERTIFIED and STANDARDISED production of reforestation materials, with a noticeable increasing of the efficiency of the reforestation operations.

Zephyr will focus on the interplay between several different innovative technologies, models and procedures. The exploitation of the results will strongly improve the competitiveness of the participating SMEs