A tree for Cerje
A green initiative for the reforestation of fire-ravaged woodland
In August 2019, the Park of Peace Cerje and the surrounding area were hit by a massive wildfire. The inferno destroyed 100 hectares of protected forest. In an effort to help with the recovery of the area, a campaign was launched (“A tree for Cerje”) to raise the funds for new trees, and restore the karst forest.
Situated on the Karst Edge, the scenic hill of Cerje overlooking the Vipava Valley is a worthwhile destination in and of itself. It boasts amazing views everywhere you look – from the Alps, to the Adriatic Sea, the Vipava Valley, Karst, and Friulian Plain. The impressive Peace Memorial of Cerje is a seven-storey tower recounting Slovenian history from the earliest known accounts written in Slovene to milestone events of WW1 and WW2, and up to the Slovenian Independence War in modern times. The memorial also houses valuable artworks and historic artefacts. The area around the memorial features serene Peace Trails that take hikers past the vestiges of WW1.
The Karst flora
Cerje is situated in an area referred to as the Karst of Gorica (Goriški Kras) – a typical karstic landscape punctured with caves and dotted with picturesque surface karst features. The famous biodiversity of Karst most typically consists of pine trees and smoketrees, with the latter covering the autumnal landscape in a carpet of red. The Peace Park falls under the protection of Natura 2000. However, the dry karst landscape is prone to wildfire that tends to frequently ravage this pristine and biodiverse area.
A tree for Cerje
In the aftermath of the most recent August 2019 wildfire that destroyed almost 100 hectares of forest, the shocking photos of trees reduced to mere stumps and ashes spread virally across the country, arousing sympathy in anyone who appreciates nature. The management of the Peace Memorial thus announced the launch of a commendable green initiative aimed at rebuilding the forest. The web portal www.drevozacerje.si (currently available only in Slovenian) was set up specifically to raise funds for new trees and make donations toward the reforestation of the Peace Park. Saplings of oak, maple and pine will be planted over a vast area, and traditional Karst dry stone walls will be put up to act as a natural fire barrier. A portion of the trees will be lining the Gratitude Alley to grow as a permanent reminder of the generous and sincere contributions made after the devastating fire in Cerje.