A PROJECT to plant some 600 fruit trees on public land in the Mondragó nature reserve is underway as part of a scheme to recover the park's agricultural heritage.

The park was visited yesterday by the Environment and Transport Minister, Gabriel Vicens and the head of private banking group La Caixa in the Balearics, Guillem Aulet, who have teamed up to finance widespread planting of almond, carob and fig trees on five separate tracts of land.

The work is being carried out by people who are long-term unemployed and at risk of social exclusion. The scheme is just one of many being spearheaded by the joint venture to improve and conserve natural areas of the Balearic Islands.

The park of Mondragó is a good example of how local people have combined economic activity, in this case agriculture, with the need to preserve the environment. An overall view of the nature reserve shows that its surface area consists of a large number of arable plots. Many have been abandoned over time, endangering the survival of both landscape and a rich tapestry of ecosystems.