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Portugal is losing its natural forests at an alarming rate

corkoakEcology and nature association, Quercus, has highlighted a government statement confirming that showing that Portugal is the only country in the EU that has lost forest area in each of the last 15 years.

Quercus refers to a statement from the Minister of Agriculture, Luís Capoulas dos Santos, saying that Portugal has lost about 150,000 hectares in the last 15 years, but Quercus claims other international organisations report Portugal's losses as greater.

Global Forest Watch, an interactive forest monitoring system, reveals worrying data as does the Portuguese forest investment association Acréscimo which has issued alerts on the situation.

Whichever organisation you refer to, they all agree that Portugal’s loss is of great concern and deforestation in Portugal is at one of the highest rates in the world, running fourth behind Mauritania, Burkina Faso, and Namibia.

Portugal’s losses have been due to the removal of forests to build tourist and industrial projects, to build new infrastructure such as motorways and dams, and due to the devastating forest fires that have consumed several hundred thousand hectares of forest in each recent decade.

Quercus considers that the Government’s forest reform programme, currently under public consultation, does not address the year-on-year reduction of Portugal’s forest area and does little to protect ancient 'primary' forests.

Primary forests, those in a natural state and not depending on human management, now occupy just 1% of Portugal's forested area. The destruction of centuries-old oak trees for firewood or to make way for mushroom cultivation or the expansion of crops, has continued despite legislation.

These primary forests are the custodians of the biodiversity and genetic heritage of much of the native flora and fauna of our country and Quercus has already asked the Government to create legislation specifically for the protection of oak forests in Portugal. This legislation needs to be included in the new raft of forestry laws and must be applied, according to Quercus (meaning 'oak'), is ideally placed to advise. 


0 #3 Malcolm.H 2016-12-30 07:32
To someone from a developed country this is why Portugal seems such a sham. There are pretend administrators in pretend administrative posts in every Municipal and Regional Authority whose job description requires them to manage the natural fauna. And control the spread of, in mid Portugal, the eucalyptus plantations.

Instead, with no change since Portugal began claiming to be 'Europeanised', the Afro-tribalism controls the land ownership, the forestry industries and the politics and so milions more eucalyptus get planted each year. All, when mature, a jihadist petrol bomb just waiting for the fire season. Which then costs Portugal tens of millions of euros that the country does not have, to put out.
+2 #2 mj1 2016-12-28 19:56
indeed so easy to destroy forests than plant new ones...which of course requires action..and as we know in portugal is done so quickly :cry:
+4 #1 Damien 2016-12-28 18:37
So sad that there is no-one 'in authority' to turn to stop this destruction in Portugal. Near us a superb large copse of mature cork oaks, all at least 300 years old along with its established underfloor and wildlife was ripped out earlier this year when a mega olive plantation was being installed. Even though it was on the periphery and only impacted on two row of monoculture olives at most so could have been left alone.

No local showed any concern - a classic example of Inshallah. On emailing the Regional GNR post we got, as usual with Portuguese Police when you want something from them, no response. So the felling continued.