Engaging Society in Native Forest Restoration, Portugal
The Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, part of the European Union’s Natura 2000 conservation network and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, comprises a precious, varied and unique natural heritage. Its accentuated geological, climatic, hydrological, geomorphological and biological variability results in an especially high diversity of habitats. The variety of habitats of the park is threatened by the dramatic proliferation of invasive exotic species and the consequent loss of biodiversity, habitats and landscapes. The overall project goal is to restore ecologically degraded areas via a volunteer programme involving the local community, visitors and outdoor enthusiasts. The project conservation measures are primarily aimed at promoting the natural regeneration of native forest and native plant species, enhancing biodiversity, controlling invasive exotic species, re-establishing ecological functions and reducing the risk of fire. EOCA funding would be used to directly support the wide range of hands-on conservation work needed to restore native forest habitats. Forty 3 hour events will be organised each year, each with 30-40 participants, totalling 3,780 volunteer hours. They will carry out tasks including removing invasive species, planting native species, reducing fire risk, restoring water courses over an area of 40 hectares. Up to 4,000 native trees and scrubs will be planted each year.