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Nº 124 – Edible wild plants in Eco-gardens

Saturday 09.04.2022. Lisbon. It‘s a bright sunny Sunday morning in early April. A tiled azulejo panel in the parking lot of the Praia da Aguda in Sintra-Cascais Natural Park describes the beauty of this beach in verse. Down below the sea is throwing magnificently regular waves; seen from the cliffs the surfers appear tiny. Not easily overlooked with her flaming ginger hair is Filomena Aivado. Today Filomena and João Santos, founders of the Lisbon-based initiative “Hortas Ecológicas” are taking us on a stroll around the world of edible wild plants. This is part of a regular programme presenting indigenous plants …

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What forest is this?

Like sap, we rise up through the four layers of a forest. We progress from the bureaucrats in state institutions to experts who are passionate about the forest. Let’s move from the Dantesque vision of the current ‘eucalyptugal’ to the landscape of the lush forest that is to come.   The ground layer It’s called Quinta da Fonteireira, in Belas, and it is a rare green lung in the suburbs along the Sintra railway line. Between the ages of eight and eighteen, I slept more than a hundred nights there, in Vale Escuro. At that time, when I was in …

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DAY 6
Salir – Cortelha – Barranco do Velho

DAY 6
Salir – Cortelha – Barranco do Velho

Right, the first one hundred kilometres are behind me. It’s turning out to be easier than I’d envisaged; after all, I’m hiking without previous training. The advantage compensating this lack of training is that I know the trail well and that I’m walking slowly, building up my physical form. The entire stretch of the Via Algarviana runs to around 300 kilometres. You have the first, the eastern part, from Alcoutim to Barranco do Velho, the central section from Barranco do Velho to Monchique and the westerly part from Monchique to the southwestern cape. I pack my backpack, take my hiking …

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A conversation in the countryside

The hands of the clock have not yet reached five o’clock on this beautiful summer day that is slowly awakening from its slumber. The information arrives. I am going to meet with a group of citizens who have decided to put an end to monocultures. So, I get out of bed at four in the morning and get dressed. I arrive at a crossroads in no man’s land. I had parked my car in a safe place some time before, and so I walked the rest of the way. At some point, I turned off the tarmac road onto a …

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Do you know how
Intelligent Trees
communicate with humans?

Dr Suzanne Simard is a professor of forest ecology teaching at the University of British Columbia in Canada whose work focuses on how trees communicate with other trees. The passionate educator and TedTalk speaker was given an exclusive platform in the film “Intelligent Trees” to tell the most interesting eco story of the year. Dr Simard used radioactive carbon to measure the flow and sharing of carbon between individual trees and species. She discovered that birch and Douglas fir share carbon. Birch trees receive extra carbon from Douglas firs when the birch trees lose their leaves, and birch trees supply …

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Is Eucalyptus Invasive?

Not everyone places economic growth at number one on their aspirational wish list. The area behind A’s house marks the beginning of a forest. If truth be told, A is living with B, his wife, inside the forest. On his plot of land, measuring one hectare, you’ll find over 500 trees of all kinds: umbrella pines, cork oaks, strawberry trees, willows, alders and ash, bay trees, birches and beeches, olive trees, cedars, chestnuts, and all kinds of fruit trees. Every tree, he says, has its own place, its own home. To him, the forest is the last paradise remaining to …

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The House is Falling Down
The trial against EDP Distribuição Energia SA has started

828 days have passed since the last great forest fire in the Monchique mountains. Now, in mid-November 2020, the judiciary is finally moving. Dare I say, a snail is approaching the finishing line? The third branch of power of the State is independent. In the dock, we have EDP Distribuição Energia SA, the company caught up in the tangled web of the former monopolist, which seems to be completely overwhelmed by its task. It transports electricity via transmission lines from the energy provider to the customers and end-users. The latter are starting to abandon EDP Comercial – now SU Electricidade …

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Forests, our Natural Heritage

Inspired by  https://florestautoctone.webnode.pt/ When I cast my mind back to the beginning of my time on earth, I remember my first visit to a forest, where the crowns of the trees provided shade for the soft soil underfoot. Huge, age-old and very strong trees, mostly beeches, oaks and pines. There were scattered birches and ash trees, trees that were both small and large, living together in their own universe. We would play hide-and-seek in the woods. There were caves and rock formations, many of which were overgrown with moss. It was always reassuringly cool, always a little damp, and occasionally …

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Nº 44 –
There is no more bad news
Real Nature Protection
The LIFE project in the Berlengas

Saturday, 18th July 2020 Lisbon. The “Natura 2000”  network was created by the EU Commission and aims to protect species and habitats of great importance in all 27 EU countries as a genuine form of nature conservation. There is a total of 2,000 species and 230 habitat types in the 27 countries between Finland and Portugal that have been designated as Natura 2000 sites. If you are interested and want to find the nearest nature reserve in your region, just click on https://natura2000.eea.europa.eu//# and enter your place of residence. Monchique is PTCON0037. The whole of the municipality has been designated …

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Nº 43 –
The “Monchique com Futuro” pilot scheme
Fire is put out with water

Saturday, July 11th, 2020 The place at the top is called Bemparece (“Good-looking”) and the name does justice to the beautiful view that you can have from there. We climbed up to the plateau where Ana Mira (67) and Carlos Abafa (75) used to pick chanterelles in wet winters. We are surrounded by cork-oaks, most of which have been burned. The blue sky appears amid the treetops and, in front of us, we can see the mountains. Just a few years ago, everything was different. There were lots of chestnut-trees and cork-oaks here, more than a hundred years old, whose …

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