Saturday, September 30

A forest with 3,600 trees in an industrial park, the last refuge for centennial specimens saved from felling

Work in a natural environment, in an industry surrounded by an artificial forest with more than 3,600 trees, including some centuries-old olive trees and a strawberry tree saved from felling. That is what is happening in the Alicante town of Castalla, where Actiu is based, a company founded in the 1950s by Vicent Berbegal that has a workforce of 450 workers and exports designer office furniture (chairs, tables, cabinets …) to 90 countries.

It is a family business that is committed to the defense of natural heritage and whose philosophy is biophilia (connection with nature), having a natural environment that favors the work environment. This approach arose at the end of the last century, when the construction of the new Actiu facilities was planned. Throughout 20 hectares, work spaces are designed that are framed in a natural environment created specifically to be developed between 2004 and 2008, an unusual proposal at that time.

All kinds of trees, shrubs and Mediterranean plants are planted in the business park, such as Holm oaks -some almost a hundred years old-, pines or cypresses, as well as orange, lemon or palm trees. But a dozen olive trees over 230 years old were also relocated there, rescued from felling at the beginning of the century, when they were going to be removed for the works on the A-7 motorway in the section between Alicante and Aloci, as well as a 650-year-old strawberry tree that was in an area that was going to be flooded by the construction of a dam in Córdoba.

This tree has the peculiarity that part of its trunk has dried up, but the rest has managed to survive: “Where there is death, there is also life,” explains Soledat Berbegal, head of Marca de Actiu, in statements to, and He adds that this company philosophy is “a commitment to life”. “We are in an industrial zone, but to build we must not destroy, he points out:” We must respect nature ”

The rescue of these very old specimens is laborious and meticulous, and requires an investment of around 4,000 euros per unit between extraction, transport by boom truck and transplantation by qualified personnel in gardening and biology, explains Berbegal, who He adds that they are open to studying new ‘adoptions’ of trees that are in a risk situation: “If we learn of any specimen that may be susceptible to being transplanted in Castalla, we will study it.”

Berbegal also comments that, despite the fact that it all began as a strategy to “favor” the mental health of the workers, later everything has developed in a more spontaneous way: “What is achieved with this type of relaxing environment is that people be more creative and, of course, taking into account our experience, we are going to continue working along these lines, which makes us better professionals”.