Bosque Urbano is a huge vivero (plant nursery) situated at the northeastern corner of Guadalajara’s Colomos Park and responsible for the planting of thousands of trees per week, all around the city.
Curiously, the tree-planting project was born thanks to the huge 2005 forest fire in Bosque la Primavera, just west of town. The disaster spurred an organization of ex-journalists called “Extra” to get involved in tree planting, which, in turn, brought to their attention the fact that Guadalajara falls pitifully short of being a “green city,” meaning an urban area with three trees for every inhabitant. Thus was born Extra’s Bosque Urbano project in 2007.
To learn all about this project, I went to the office of Bosque Urbano’s new director, Karina Aguilar, located beneath a grove of the tallest Casuarina trees I’ve ever seen anywhere.
“We would like to turn Guadalajara into an Urban Forest,” she told me. “But we are realistic, so our first goal is simply to get one tree planted for every inhabitant of the city. So far, over the last ten years, we have given away two million trees, but greater Guadalajara has a population of about five million, so we still have a way to go.”
Aguilar continued: “To get people involved in the project we developed the idea of adopting a tree, just as you might adopt a child. So, first we help you pick the tree by providing you with technical information: this tree needs lots of sunshine and is suitable for planting along sidewalks, that one is ideal for a small patio, this other can be grown in a pot. Once someone has chosen a tree, we ask them for data about themselves and where they will plant it. Why? Because we want to follow the story of this tree, to make sure it is cared for and thrives. Nobody else in the world does this and that is why our ‘tree survival rate’ is unusually high!”