The chaotic sea of dunes, which was progressively encroaching on the farmland, was contained and sown with pine. On the high waves of sand, the green foam of the scrub was born and the pine trees, dark and rough, sank their roots”, wrote Jaime Cortesão (1884-1960), in “Portugal, Land and Man”, describing one of the biggest ever reforestation campaigns, to which the Portuguese coastline owes its pine wood habitat.
The WildForests project studies mammals in plantations
Protected areas around the world are important for halting biodiversity loss, but to conserve them we also need to look at areas altered by human action and understand how to reduce the impacts of our activities on the lives of other species. This was the starting point for the WildForests scientific project, focusing on the presence of mammals in eucalyptus plantations.
Biodiversity in forests: far beyond our gaze
Most life on Earth is to be found in forests, states the report “The State of the World’s Forests 2022” by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which also points out that biodiversity is at its most extensive in forests, not only in terms of species diversity, but also in terms of genetic and ecosystem variety.
The most frequent eucalyptus species in Portugal, the common eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) began to be planted in the country in the mid-19th century, as an ornamental species and source of wood. The tree attracts birds, but also bees and other insects, which seek the abundant nectar of its flowers.
Arbutus berries harvest: reviving traditions in Monchique
In the forests of Águas Alves, Monchique, arbutus berries are harvested by many hands. When autumn sets in and the branches of the strawberry trees grow reddish clusters of fruit, the patrons of the Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Monchique come out to remember times past and, as they share memories and stories, the baskets are filled with fruit.