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"Hopelessness of forestry sector" - Secretary of State calls for more EU money

FireLeiriaSmallCarsThe Secretary of State for Forests and their management is fully aware of what he describes as the "hopelessness" in the sector that he controls.

Miguel Freitas has highlighted the various measures being taken to make Portugal’s rural areas safer but warns that this is a programme that will bear fruit only in the medium and long terms.       


The Secretary of State commented, "We have to change policies, there must be more money for forests in the next Community Support Framework.

"There is accumulated under-investment in forestry which has put it in a very complicated situation. It is a very complex problem that does not change from one day to the next as for many years, very little was done."

Freitas is critical of a lack of funding, demanding more money to enable safety but demanding it from Brussels, not Portugal’s overburdened taxpayers.

The government's priorities to date have been to reduce the risk of fire by boosting what Freitas calls, primary defences, agreed after the widespread fires between 2003 and 2005.

The other target relates to trees themselves, with a €20 million eradication programme for pests and disease in pine and oak forests.

In relation to the first aspect, Freitas says that the country’s Councils now have regional plans for forest management. These now will be incorporated into Municipal Master Plans even though this has been an essential and legal part of Councils' responsibilities for years.

The primary problem remains, a lack of management within a highly fragmented sector, despite planned tax incentives aimed at encouraging consolidation.

Fiscally, the government has shot itself in the foot as, by promoting the establishment of forestry management cooperatives, it has managed to hamper EU funds being allocated as only landowners can receive direct aid, not any entity that manages land on multiple owners' behalves.

The sector can access €58 million from the Permanent Forestry Fund and a further €4 million to pay for ‘ecosystem services’ provided by those who planted native species.

Looking at this financial mishmash, Miguel Freitas has no illusions:

"It's not enough, you have to invest more, much more."

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+1 #5 nogin the nog 2019-06-18 21:01
The EU is not Diss similar to a CARTEL, in its Methods or Operations. These Muppets in Government here are little more then henchman in suits, and as such it is just a feeding frenzy with TAX PAYERS MONEY.. :-*
+7 #4 dw 2019-06-17 18:51
Sounds like an excuse to subsidise the private companies mismanagement of the so-called forests. They seems to mostly be for profit eucalyptus plantations.
+7 #3 Jordan 2019-06-17 07:49
As a politician he will be well aware that Mafiosi organised crime runs all the sectors of the Portuguese economy just as it controls Public Administration! Good behaviour is what got this politician towards the top of the electoral list for his party. Particularly in Central Portugal most of the important families will have vertically integrated land and hence forest ownership with forest extraction then to add certainty are also senior past or present politicians and local administrators. So allocating planting grants and extraction licences.
Then bundle in that the senior GNR station commanders will also be locally sourced. Pedrogao Grande (yes, that one!) a few years back had an attempted murder charge against a major local timber extractor / forester / land owner: the brother of the then PG GNR station commander. Just coincidentally the brother gets off from the charge of allegedly dropping a tree on another citizen.
+4 #2 charly 2019-06-16 23:46
The wood and paper business is in hands of the private sector - what's Freitas speaking off ????
+3 #1 Maximillian 2019-06-16 19:31
I'd be interested to know what Sr. Freitas has done so far.

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