Creating Fire Resilient Forests

Creating Fire Resilient Forests

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Portugal is regularly afflicted by devastating Summer wildfires. It is a complex social issue that can only be solved by exemplar land management.

Our partners Montis dedicate themselves to understanding fire. Together we are working on a native oak woodland restoration project which aims to create fire resilient ecosystems which pose a lower risk to local populations and prioritise native species.

The philosophy behind this work is to integrate natural regeneration with land managements practices that help create a better coexistence with fire and its risks. You can learn about the full plan below.  

Our goal is to bring this project to life so you can feel your impact and go see it yourself if you wish to do so. As such with your contribution you will receive:

🌐 A unique 360° photo of each 1000m2 you help manage

🗺️ The GPS coordinates of each location so you can later visit the exact spot

📨 Regular updates on the development of the project

📷 Photos of the area in each season

The next batch of 360 photos will be collected and sent out in July!

Fighting Fire With Fire

A pioneering land management project in a country plagued by wildfires.
The Intervention Area
An ambitious 100 hectares situated within the beautiful Serra da Arada; a mountainous region in the centre of Portugal and home to the Vouga river and the Iberian Wolf. 

These mountain sides were once thriving oak woodlands but were felled and never replaced. As such Portuguese broom, a very dominant bush species, quickly moved in and has long since taken a stronghold of the land, choking it of any biodiversity. The broom that grows tall, dense and dry in the summer months is also combustible and prone to wildfires.
Project objectives
  • Enrich the biodiversity of the mountain sides (native herbaceous plants and shrubs, invertebrates, birds and small mammals)
  • Increase the area’s resilience to future wildfires
  • Showcase to other forestry stakeholders how native oak woodlands can help prevent the spreading of forest fires
  • Provide and promote public access for eco-tourism and outdoor sports to thrive
Controlled Fire
By systematically burning the impenetrable 3 – 4 metre dense Portuguese Broom we are making space to manage natural processes increasing biodiversity and reducing fuel availability for future wildfires.
Reforestation efforts
Once the Portuguese Broom is removed we plant a variety of native oak trees (Portuguese Oak, Holm Oak, English Oak and Cork Oak) as well as strawberry trees, hawthorn and juniper to add further biodiversity to the native woodland.
Bird platforms
We and our partners are also installing a series of bird platforms. Atop these platforms, large piles of acorns will be left for Jay birds to ‘steal’. 

Jays are famous for burying acorns to retrieve later in the winter. A Jay can hide up to 3000 acorns during an autumn, and those it forgets to recover will help in our reforestation efforts.
Re-engineering water lines
The controlled fires also reveal natural water lines that we can divert or dam to ensure sediments accumulate and add vital nutrients to the soil. 

Our Partners

Montis is a Portuguese NGO that focuses on sustainable land management practices. We work with their great team in our reforestation project and this land management project.