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FireLeiriaSmallCarsPresident Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is right to say that it is important to avoid forest fires. Fires cost many lives and about five billion euros a year, writes Jack Soifer.

However the story has been repeated over the past twenty years; showing that this is a basic problem that can not be solved simply by improving command management, firefighters' qualifications and more equipment.

forrestBack in June 22nd, days after the devastating fires at Pedrógão Grande , Jorge Paiva, botanist, teacher and one of the country´s leading authorities on forests, criticised the general disinterest of politicians in the problems in forestry during an interview on Antena 1.

Jorge Paiva said that the last politician who actually listened to him was Mário Soares - he listened, argued and even wrote articles on environmental issues.

Monchique Mountain Marathon 2017 - 6 Dec 2017 to 2 Jan 2018In partnership with the association Caminhadas em Portugal (AcaminPor) and Alternativtour, Lda, ECO123 is preparing the international hiking week “Monchique Mountain Marathon 2017”, which will take place from 26 December 2017 to 2 January 2018.

On offer are individual guided walks in the Monchique Mountains, or The Marathon.

 CLICK HERE for full details.

W: www.monchique-mountain-marathon.org

fireBombeirosSmallWhile statistics show that the world is actually somewhat more sane and under control than we might think, the deadly natural disasters we have seen lately really are making us feel otherwise.

The latest is a series of wildfires in Portugal and northern Spain, as strong winds “from a hurricane fanned hundreds of blazes sweeping across densely forested territory,” reports The New York Times:

RebeloSousaOctIn a vigorous televised address to the nation, Portugal’s President has challenged Prime Minister Antonio Costa over this year’s second series of terrible fires, in which 41 people have died.

Insisting that ‘enough is enough’, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has demanded that immediate changes be made to Portugal’s chaotic forest and fire prevention policies and invited the Portuguese parliament to decide on the government’s future in a no-confidence motion.

PontePiedadeSo called conservation work at a renowned Algarve beauty spot has locals who are concerned with the environment, including biologist Dina Savador, up in arms over what they describe as hugely damaging work to install concrete pathways across a nationally important headland at Ponte da Piedade.

The council has European funds to spend so is pressing ahead, despite the obvious damage being done and despite calls to halt the construction. Study is needed to see how best to protect the natural area from the serious erosion caused by all those who visit Ponta da Piedade and to arrive at the optimum solution for the comfort and safety of visitors.

LagoasBrancasSmall

Congratulations to the Câmara Municipal de Lagoa for securing the funding and providing the plan for the upgrading of the grounds of Fatacil and the football club. The addition of more trees to the city landscape is especially welcome.

However, the urban park project is lacking in an important dimension that would elevate it from being welcome to wonderful. It is missing a natural area. And the irony is that one already exists, right next door- Alagoas Brancas.

eucalyptusI will not dwell too much on the disastrous history of the forests that blight this country, it's all spelled out in the article "Fires and Desertification of Portugal´s Forests," published in O Público about ten years ago, (writes Jorge Paiva, Portugal's 'David Attenborough').

Although we warned about the causes of annual fires that have been going on now for four decades, and how the problem can be solved, successive governments not only have caused, but also have been collaborators in establishing monocultures, continuous and contiguous, with only minimum control, order and rules applying.

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