Log in

Login to your account

Username *
Password *
Remember Me

Create an account

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.
Name *
Username *
Password *
Verify password *
Email *
Verify email *
Captcha *

Forest expert launches fire manifesto

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.

"Politicians do not educate themselves, they are under pressure," said the 83-year-old botanist in an interview with journalist and political editor, Maria Flor Pedroso.

Jorge Paiva pointed to the industrial monoculture and the end of the National Forestry Service - a measure taken by socialist governments and continued by governments of PSD and CDS-PP - as decisive factors in what happened at Pedrógão Grande in July.

The professor was not surprised by the tragedy, which left him "tense and furious," and even advises his foreign friends not to use roads in the burned areas of  Agueda and Mortágua.

Paiva also questioned the decision to make a firefighter from Tavira, the commander who did not know the centre of the country.

The professor said he has "the absolute certainty" that if there were forest guards, the number of fires would fall to a very low number in Portugal, saying only that "there are many interests". There are no longer commissions to solve the problem, with their knowledge and perspective. Because, "despite pressure, nothing has been done". Even when they invited Pavia to join such a body, he rejected it.

Jorge Paiva says that when he was called to parliament, MPs agreed with what he had to say, but then voted according to the will of the party, in favour of "economic interests," adding that there is a need for the "professionalisation" of firefighters and firefighting.

Jorge Paiva is disgusted with the possibility that rural populations plant "whatever they are given and with enthusiasm". "It cannot be. It's not like that in Finland and Sweden," he says “This lack of control is not to be tolerated in a civilised country. “

He confirmed that, although his famous Christmas Cards carrying an environmental message are sent to more than 3,000 people, the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister are not on his list. Pavia does not own a car but uses public transport. His passion is the environmental education of young people, this is now his main activity and his hope for the future.

For the interview in Portuguese, click here

Pavia’s manifesto for a national forestry and forest fire plan is published to coincide with the discussions on the government’s new strategy, launched on Saturday 21st October.


If  Hospital Services were discontinued and hospitals were abandoned, the number of deaths would increase dramatically, and hospitals would deteriorate and eventually collapse.

If the Prison Services were discontinued and the prisons were abandoned, the number of crimes would increase dramatically, and the prisons would deteriorate and eventually collapse.

Equally, the Forest Service has now been decimated, forest fires have increased dramatically and rangers' houses deteriorated, leaving many in ruins.


All political parties are guilty of the large scale sacrifice of the Portuguese forest.

Instead of politicians indulging in shouting at each other in Parliament, in televised debates and during election campaigns, they must join forces and provide a plan to solve the most serious human, economic and environmental disaster we have.

Because they only have short term solutions that will have to span multiple legislations, politicians - compulsive loudmouths - have never come together to reach an overall agreement.


Jorge Paiva, October 2017



Faro gathering in protest at this summer's fires. © R Peddle


Pin It


+4 #2 marjolein Massis 2017-10-27 21:34
I did not know some one like professor Paiva exist in Portugal. So honest and strait forwards and so right. Yes the only way to change mentality is to teach the children, but it is a pity they have parents to go back home too. Political parties will never change in Portugal. Each politician is a persons with his own private agenda. He wil not listen or learn or care or take advice from no one. He thinks that if he does these things he will not be necessary any more. He will not make decisions only for the good of others and not for himself His ego can not take it to be criticised. He does not travel over the borders to learn from other countries .He lives in a big bubble filled with other politicians. An other bubble is filled with judges, an other with mentality towards animals and an other towards environment.There does not exist a bubble with reality or longterm thinking. So, the trees will keep on burning, young people will keep on leaving the country, money will keep on disappearing and the National useless overspending will go on. So sad.
+1 #1 C Wilson 2017-10-24 15:57
They had bottle back then, why not now?
Eles tinham garrafa naquela época, por que não agora?

You must be a registered user to make comments.
Please register here to post your comments.