Home | Ecology | Nature (page 3)


Choose your shipwreck.

Ilha da Barreta We begin our voyage on board the ‘Praia das Conchas’ catamaran. It’s a 35 minute hop providing due time to appreciate the wonderful landscape of Ria Formosa stretching from ‘Portas do Mar’ in Faro through to our destination, Barreta or, as it is more commonly known, ‘Desert Island’. To these names, many locals also humorously add on the epithet of ‘pirate island’. With the experienced Captain Raúl Vicente at the helm, the voyages passes peacefully and calmly while opening an insight into the dynamic that men and nature can daily draw upon. On arriving at ‘pirate island’, …

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Faia Brava

On the trail of wild horses Once again, I’m out and about on foot. We have left the off-road vehicle behind where the terrain became impassable. We carefully follow the tracks on the paths over the hills. It has been raining, the weather bringing moisture and the cold over from the Serra de Estrela. There are hoofmarks of wild horses in the ground. Here and there, some quite fresh horse droppings can be seen in the grass of the reserve, a few older cowpats too. The ones that are still warm show us that we are on the right track. …

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National green fuel

There is nothing new about the rise in forest fires resulting from the predominance of eucalyptuses in Portuguese forests. However, ever since October, environmental organisations deem the situation has taken a turn for the worse due to the entry into effect of decree-law No. 96/2013 (1), the controversial legislation termed “The Eucalyptus Law”. This legislation allows for landowners to plant eucalyptuses on plots of less than five hectares without bothering to notify the national Institute of Nature and Forestry Conservation. In practice, this is swiftly driving an increase in this forestry type, which according to the non-governmental organisation Quercus, already …

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Larus cachinnans

Love at first sight.

Monchique. Henk Hin has always loved being part of nature. At least, that’s where he feels at home. Since he decided to settle in Portugal, he has been passionate about taking photographs of animals and plants. He always wanted to learn how animals really live and what curative properties rare plants and herbs have. You have to be quiet, move slowly, have lots of patience and keep coming back. Animals stay where they are, or they come back, if you are quiet and don’t disturb them. But young people don’t learn that, nor do they learn about looking properly. “Over …

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Birdwatching - Faia Brava

Success stories.

The private educational programme for schools “Faia Brava” was successfully financed through crowdfunding  (www.ppl.com.pt) . €4,150 was used for six safari tents so that classes of school children could be given practical eco-lessons on the ground in the Faia Brava gorge in the wilderness of northern Portugal. €4,508 was raised from 77 private investors and donors. Themed walks, bird watching, seminars and educational games in the over 850 hectares of the unique nature reserve of the river Côa to the north of Guarda are intended to ensure increased understanding of our flora and fauna in Portugal.

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Ecotrails Odemira

Pure nature in the Alentejo.

Shaded by trees, the river Mira meanders lazily from Odemira to Vila Nova de Milfontes. For people wanting to spend their autumn holidays here with children and canoes, www.ecotrails.info offer a weekend tour in a leisurely paddling area. As the tide goes out, you paddle towards the mouth of the river, and you paddle back as the tide comes in. Each stretch of just over 30 km of paddling in one direction can easily be covered in two days. You can also add an overnight stop in Casas Brancas.

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Monastery Vallbona

Ruta del Cister

Twenty steps lead up to the second floor of the sandstone stronghold that stands behind metre-thick walls. That’s where the five guest cells of the Catalonian Cistercian monastery Poblet are to be found. Brother Paco, aged 79, alias Francisco Martínez Soria, hands me the key. He shows me the bathroom, broom cupboard and the wall-walk around the monastery. He’s a man of few words: “Singing at one, followed by lunch.” Then he leaves. Bed, desk, chair, shelf, rubbish bin, saint’s image, radiator, desk lamp. Four by two-and-a-half metres. This is where the three-day, 106 km long walk along the Cistercian …

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rota dos pescadores

Path of the Fishermen

Shortly before Almograve, we really do lose our way when we stray from the path. No more wooden posts in the sand, all gone with the wind. From far away, we can see the village below us. To our left, we can hear the breakers roaring. High dunes separate the beach from the hinterland, which is what caught us out. The pine forest came to an end and we kept going along the path; at some point after post number 325 there were no more waymarkers. We head across country, with the village three kilometres away as the crow flies, …

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Via Algarviana

Via Algarviana

There is no doubt that Portugal’s future strength lies in its geography and its climatic conditions. The generation of electricity from the sun, wind and water makes the country independent. Up to 2030, the country experiences a surge in private investment. This enables Portugal to modernise its public infrastructure in a sustainable way. The doyen of urban planning, the Marquês de Pombal, is impressed. The Renaissance of the Via Algarviana. There had been a referendum about taxes imposed by the state. It emerged from this that the new Portugal could only be reformed from the bottom up. Three key values …

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