The Zoo is in the midst of its annual pruning campaign, with plans to prune 101 trees and 44 palms before 15 March, as well as chopping down a few trees that are in poor condition. This action, essential for the health of the trees at the park and for everybody’s safety, produces a lot of plant waste that is put to excellent use for another regular and necessary practice at the Zoo: environmental enrichment.
Environmental enrichment is a dynamic process whose aim is to increase animals’ behavioural opportunities so that they can develop the behaviours and skills typical of their species. The animals watch and play with different objects that are occasionally or permanently put into their exhibits.
The leaves, branches and trunks from pruning, as well as the Christmas trees picked up by the City Council, receive a second use as enrichment for animal behaviours. The animals are curious and interested in the new items that their caretakers regularly bring them.
The cycle closes when the exhibits and final plant waste are swept out and collected, added to the rest of the plant waste generated at the park and transported from the Zoo Green Point to the composting plant, where they are reused one final time as fertiliser for crops and gardens.
Barcelona Zoo risk and pruning management plan
On an annual basis, the Barcelona Zoo hires the Municipal Institute of Parks and Gardens to draw up a Tree Risk Management Plan. This plan is written by an expert with experience in arboriculture, who studies each of the specimens we have at the Zoo to assess its risk of falling or of higher branches snapping off.
After this evaluation, which is logged in a database, in a geolocation plan and in a written document, the pruning required is planned out, prioritising those that are most urgent and essential.
In 2017, eight were chopped down and another eight will be cut down this year, as they could affect animals, people or infrastructures.
And so that the number of trees do not shrink over time, new specimens of different species are planted, adding variety to the collection. Concretely, 17 trees have been planted at different parts of the park:
3 Magnolia grandiflora
3 Tipuana tipu
2 Brachychiton rupestris
1 Handroanthus heptaphyllus
1 Acacia caffra
5 Choricea speciosa
2 Tamarix africana
The Zoo monitors them constantly to ensure the safety of the space and the trees’ good health, following the guidelines of the Barcelona City Council’s Parks and Gardens at all times.