Photo: Basilio Puglia/Crio Vision

Who we are and what we do

Who we are

Manu Manu Riforesta! is a non-profit association set up by a group of friends who for more than 10 years campaigned against the project for a disproportionate 4-lane highway, the SS275 Maglie-Leuca, a maxi-speculative cementification project hugely detrimental to the South Salento. It was a natural step for Manu Manu Riforesta! to move from defending to creating. Create to defend!

What we do

Our activities began in the winter of 2020 at Kurumuni, the land loaned to us to manage by organic olive oil producers Merico of Miggiano. The name Kurumini comes from the Griko (Salentine dialect of Greek) and means bud. Here we established an agroforestry pilot project, planting oak, holm oak, carob, bay, lentisk, viburnum, Italian buckthorn, rosemary, strawberry tree, broom, dog rose, walnut, quince, wild fig, pomegranate.

The Agroforest: Respecting biodiversity we intend to plant species that were once present in the Bosco Belvedere, but also woodland fruit trees, Mediterranean macchia, and small vegetable plots. In a word, to recreate the little paradise that the Paduli once were.

The pilot project has a duration of 3 years – during which we intend to acquire 6 hectares (15 acres) – and has the scope of establishing the guidelines for the work of reforestation of the 300 hectares of the ‘red circle’, the southern area of the Paduli.


By acquiring abandoned land – to be purchased, loaned, donated, or rented – which will be achieved through a major campaign of sensibilization both of the public and of the authorities. By setting in motion ‘the centripetal force of the Paduli’ in collaboration with the local community so that all feel the urgent need to reconnect with this once rich & fertile land (now abandoned because of ‘the catastrophe of the olives’) with their feet, their hands, their minds and their hearts.

By working in synergy with the University of the Salento and their Botanical Gardens, with whom we have established an agreement to study the territory of Manu Manu Riforesta!, to plan the land’s cultivation and the plants adapted to it, and to take into consideration the problem of climate change and progressive desertification.

Our experts:

  • Rita Accogli, biologist, director of the University of Lecce’s Botanic Garden
  • Leonardo Beccarisi, biologist and ecologist
  • Francesco Tarantino, agronomist

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