The Serra da Estrela Natural Park was the first to be created in Portugal and contains the largest protected area in the Country, with about 101,000 hectares. Its rugged topography with crags, rocks and imposing cliffs culminates in the highest point in mainland Portugal at an altitude of 1993m. In October 2017 the wildfire that occurred in the region of Serra da Estrela caused a burned area of 17,000 hectares, and in August 2022 Serra da Estrela was the stage for one of the largest fire events ever registered in Portugal with 27,000 hectares of burnt area, a significant area of protected landscape was lost and the impacts on the ecosystem were devastating.
Within the scope of the LIFE Resilient Forests Project, a afforestation action was organized by Associação para o Desenvolvimento da Aerodinâmica Industrial (ADAI) close to Manteigas, in Serra da Estrela, in one of the burned areas in the fire complex of October 15, 2017. The project LIFE Resilient Forests designed the afforestation using the Decision Support Tool (DSS) to quantify the goods and services provisioning of the afforestation and the maintenance activities, optimizing the tree density, and selecting among the possibilities, the best spot to develop it. This initiative shows the usefulness of the DSS tool and established a validation point that will provide useful data to validate and improve the DSS tool in the future.
The afforestation action started symbolically on January 12, 2023 and involved the local community of Manteigas (schools and associations) and all people interested in participating. The initiative had the association of several activities namely the Municipality of Manteigas, the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF) and “Community Lands Association of Santa Maria” and several schools and Social solidarity associations of Manteigas. In total, 3300 trees of the Pinus sylvestris and Quercus pyrenaica were planted.
Some photos of the event can be found below.