Park in Funchal, Source: Funchal Municipality

Funchal City Council is implanting microchips in local trees

Funchal City Council is implanting microchips in local trees

This is not a conspiracy theory but an ongoing project that seeks to digitize natural heritage management

The official website of the Madeiran capital, Funchal, informed the public that the City Council is past the halfway point in an ongoing project which is seeing the implantation of microchips in local trees. The activity, which began in 2019, has already been performed on 4065 plants located in public parks and gardens, with the goal being to have about 8000 trees included by the end of the project.

The initiative is being touted as unique among Portuguese municipalities and the idea behind is closer and more individualized monitoring of the local natural flora heritage, an important part of which are old trees.

This initiative is the first of its kind in Portugal

These days the Internet abounds with conspiracy theories that argue that microchip implanting is the goal of overly- authoritative governments bound on infringing on people’s personal liberties. And as far as Funchal trees are concerned the microchip implanting is already a reality, however, the motives behind it are not sinister at all, in fact, quite the opposite.

The local Department of Science and Natural Resources, which is responsible for the task, reported that this is done in order to get more comprehensive knowledge about the tree stock in the municipality, its genetic and typological varieties, but also age and vulnerability to diseases.

The creation of such a database (which will allow looking into each plant’s vital stats through an app) would allow micro-managing of the plants and performing preventive actions which lengthen trees lives or prevent epidemics from spreading among these plants.

Monitoring, analysis and prevention go hand in hand and with such an initiative Funchal authorities want to show that they take green heritage to be an essential base for the local identity, together with culture and history. That is also a testament to the Environmental Sustainability policy, which has been declared one of the pillars of the current city administration, together with Innovation.

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