Creating Living Landscapes In Rural Portugal

helping nature to regulate the landscape

Over the years, many agricultural landholdings in rural Portugal have been abandoned. Together with the decline of wild herbivores, this has reduced the level of grazing on the landscape, allowing fire-prone vegetation to extend across the land. In the Greater Côa Valley – a large expanse of habitat mosaics to the north – an unprecedented opportunity for landscape-scale nature restoration exists. Abandoned lands, if set aside for wildlife conservation and ecological restoration, would support a critical wildlife corridor with healthy populations of herbivores, carnivores and scavenger species.  The restoration of natural processes across the landscape would diversify monotonous vegetation. As habitats replenish, wildlife comeback could see the creation of new nature-based businesses to allow people and wildlife to thrive together.

The European Nature Trust is supporting Rewilding Portugal in their efforts to revive natural processes and
build new nature-based economies in the Côa Valley.

We support Rewilding Portugal’s work

Rewilding Portugal is working with local partners to develop a 120,000 hectare wildlife corridor that connects the Malcata mountain range in the south to the Douro Valley in the north. Within the corridor, natural processes will shape the land; replenishing habitats will support higher bird and mammal diversity; scavenger species will recycle nutrients as they should; and carnivory and herbivory will help to
regulate the ecosystem. 

 Through the Endangered Landscapes Programme’s project “Scaling Up Rewilding in the Greater Côa Valley”, Rewilding Portugal are reintroducing wild and semi-wild herbivores on newly-purchased abandoned land. Herbivores are diversifying the vegetation to create more wildfire-resistant communities, while extending habitat for crucial prey species for Imperial eagle, Iberian lynx and wolf.

 Due to the expansion of infrastructure, persecution from humans, and a lack of wild prey, Portuguese wolf packs are currently fragmented south of the Douro. Through the LIFE WolFlux project, Rewilding Portugal is promoting the ecological and social conditions for wolf populations to reconnect and expand: Conflicts with the livestock sector are being reduced through the rekindling of coexistence traditions; and the prey base for the Iberian wolf is expanding within a critical wildlife corridor.

 The rural community is at the heart of Rewilding Portugal’s conservation philosophy. They are working with Rewilding Europe Capital to uplift local nature-based businesses, helping local communities to welcome wildlife comeback.  

Rewilding Portugal's Achievements

More than 1,300 hectares of land purchased for conservation
10 Sorraia horses released into the
Vale Carapito Reserve
More than 30 Serra da Estrela livestock guarding dogs distributed in the
project area

“Rewilding Portugal is excited to partner with TENT to increase the reach of our communications. TENT’s support has already resulted in high-quality articles being published about the Greater Côa Valley”

Pedro Prata
Team Leader, Rewilding Portugal

TENT and Rewilding Portugal’s partnership

The European Nature Trust has an annual funding commitment to support Rewilding Portugal’s work. We are committed to elevating the profile of Iberian wildlife, supporting the production of wildlife media, podcasts and films, and co-ordinating press trips to Rewilding Portugal’s project area. Our outreach work helps to drive engagement and education with the value of Iberian wildlife conservation.

Play your part in the revival of Iberian landscapes

With an unprecedented opportunity for wildlife comeback due to rural land abandonment, the recovery of wildlife populations and their habitats in the Greater Côa Valley can become a conservation success story. You can engage with the wildlife of Iberia by visiting the Greater Côa Valley; your trip will support the creation of sustainable nature-based economies. 

visit the Côa valley

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