In the past decade, there were wildfires in 2013, 2015, 2017 and now in 2022 in Estrella. The latter being the most catastrophic to date. In total 22 000 hectares has burned in 2022, representing 25% of the total park area. For 11 days the fires raged, with flames impossible to control – probably as a result of one of the hottest and longest drought periods in Portugal in the last few decades, driven by changing regional climate.

Most of the area of the project is on a common land – known in Portugal as ‘baldios’. These common land areas are under the management of the local communities. This project therefore aims to restore as much of the common land landscapes as possible. Thereby supporting the recovery of biodiversity which, in turn, supports the return of local ecosystem services along with ecosystem resilience and adaptation to climate change. Collectively, this restoration action aims to avoid the ‘tipping point’, where desertification of this area is highly likely. These intentional actions involve the planting of endemic species, such as maritime and Scots pine, as well as cork and holm oaks, and chestnut and strawberry trees. In doing so, this project aims to not only recover the area ecologically, but to also provide positive impacts for the local community by supporting the rural economy on which these communities depend.

Location: Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela (‘Estrela’ Mountain Natural Park)

Species: Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster), Scot pine (Pinus sylvestris), Holm oak (Quercus ilex),Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), Cork oak (Quercus suber)