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Cacela Velha - 40 hectares of protected land destroyed with ICNF permission

CacelaVelhaLandThe Algarve’s social media has been ablaze with justifiable indignation after ecological land at Cacela Velha, Vila Real de Santo António, was been scraped bare by machinery which cleared vegetation and tore out many protected trees.

The GNR’s environmental protection division, SEPNA, explained that the destruction had been authorised by the Institute of Nature Conservation and Forests, but was prompted to organise a second inspection.

The ICNF later agreed to halt the work, but only because the machines had been damaging the cliffs overlooking the Ria Formosa and the operators had cleaned more land than had been authorised.

The destruction of 40 hectares (99 acres) of natural vegetation and trees, including olive, carob and fig, has damaged the ecosystem which will take decades to recover.

The work allegedly was carried out under Decree-Law 124, which regulates the compulsory cleaning of land, but there is no further explanation as to why the work was authorised by the ICNF on such sensitive ecological land, why there was a positive opinion from the regional agriculture directorate and who was granted permission. No doubt next there will be a PIN project submission to get around existing protection laws - they don't seem to be working anyway.

Landowners in national park areas, must, “before cutting or cleaning, contact the ICNF by email explaining what you intend to do. They will advise,” according to Safe Communities Portugal's advice on land cleaning. (HERE)

The land is privately owned, is classified as Agricultural Reserve (RAN) and Ecological Reserve (REN) and is in the Ria Formosa Natural Park.

Vila Real de Santo António Council commented that this destruction has changed the Mediterranean landscape in an area where construction, anyway, is not allowed.

João Matos Fernandes, the Environment Minister, has been asked by local MPs to explain the situation.

For photographs of the damaged area, click HERE

Comments  

-1 #11 JaneY 2018-07-07 20:53
Quoting Denby:
The land that is been cleared is not adjacent to the Old Fort of Cacela Velha, but it is a short distance away and within view of the Fort, so I hope that person who owns the land is sympathetic of their surroundings.
The cleared land starts about 200 metres to the east of the old fort.
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-1 #10 JaneY 2018-07-07 20:31
Quoting Denby:
The land that is been cleared is not adjacent to the Old Fort of Cacela Velha, but it is a short distance away and within view of the Fort, so I hope that person who owns the land is sympathetic of their surroundings.
"sympathetic of their surroundings" - clearly not, having already destroyed many venerable trees...
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-1 #9 Denby 2018-07-07 20:26
The land that is been cleared is not adjacent to the Old Fort of Cacela Velha, but it is a short distance away and within view of the Fort, so I hope that person who owns the land is sympathetic of their surroundings.
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-1 #8 Ed 2018-07-06 19:52
Quoting Denby:
Dear Ed,
Have you enquired from ICNF as to the reason for the clearance of this area.
I was there today and it looked like the scrub vegetation was removed which is the law.
ICNF authorised clearance under the new fire prevention laws. It did not authorise the destruction of trees or disturbance of the cliffs.

The fact that much of this land in REN is an interesting aspect - should the State be insisting on the stripping all REN land in the country under its new laws? If so, it has a long way to go.

The Cacela Velha site also is in the Ria Formosa Natural park area.

I suspect the landowner soon will erect rows of estufas under which to produce red fruits.
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0 #7 Denby 2018-07-06 19:31
Dear Ed,
Have you enquired from ICNF as to the reason for the clearance of this area.
I was there today and it looked like the scrub vegetation was removed which is the law.
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0 #6 Denby 2018-07-06 19:25
The Minho region of Portugal is Forested as far as the eye can see, all of the mountains have Forrests, very beautiful region, would recommend Ponte do Lima for somewhere different , wonderful architecture dating back to the 14th century.
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+1 #5 AL 2018-07-06 14:20
Quoting mj1:
report in the guardian the other day advised that rainforest the size of a football field is now destroyed EVERY SECOND

so seems Portugal is playing its part

There are no rainforests in Portugal, they have been destroyed long ago. Portugal is well ahead of everybody else.
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+4 #4 mj1 2018-07-05 21:11
report in the guardian the other day advised that rainforest the size of a football field is now destroyed EVERY SECOND

so seems Portugal is playing its part
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+2 #3 Ed 2018-07-05 20:33
Quoting Quarteirenso:
I heard recently the camping site in Quarteira were going to expand by building a hotel on the border of the grounds and they would fill in part of the wetlands beside the Praia do Almargem, please tell me its only a bad dream.


I think this is what you refer to:

"Quinta do Oceano is being promoted by Invesfundo VII - Special Fund for Real Estate Investment, linked to the former Espírito Santo Group, which acquired rights over the entire green zone.

According to the Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission, the project includes, "a total of 29 lots, 1 aparthotel, 499 commercial and residential properties including 6-storey buildings with shops, single-family house and detached single-family houses" over 12.5 hectares.

If the project progresses, 2.6 hectares adjacent to the lagoon will be left as the coastal plan prohibits construction.

Various proposals have been presented to Loulé Council to classify these wetlands as a locally protected area but the Council decided to delay any such move, preferring tourist accommodation to wetland areas."
See:
https://www.algarvedailynews.com/news/14528-algarve-wetlands-still-not-protected
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+2 #2 Susan Green 2018-07-05 20:28
Seems to be the same destruction here in the Western Algarve, where seemingly all fig, carob and almond trees have been bulldozed with no regard for nesting birds. Snakes can be seen in the unlikeliest of places, and I have seen 2 rabbits with blood oozing from wounds. The end result of all this land clearance? soil erosion when the rains come in the autumn, and complete,needless, destruction of habitats of flora and fauna.
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