New life for Portugal's oldest forest ravaged by fires

March 25, 2018
Volunteers have begun planting the first of 22 million trees needed to bring Portugal's oldest forest back to life

Around 3,000 volunteers on Sunday began an ambitious reforestation project in Portugal's oldest forest, ravaged by last year's devastating wild fires.

Some 67,500 were planted in the Leiria forest, in central Portugal, which was almost entirely burned to ashes during a series of fires in October.

"We lost 80 percent of the Leiria forest in the fires, a great task is waiting for us: the reforestation will require the planting of about 22 million trees," said Cidalia Ferreira, the mayor of Marinha Grande where part of the 800-year-old wood is located.

Volunteers were supported by military, police and personnel in the government-led initiative.

"We will rebuild this pine forest, so that it becomes pretty and so that our children will have clear air to breathe in the future. That is what motivates me," Jose Dyonisio told AFP.

The dates back to the 13th century and its pine was used by Portuguese explorers to build sailing ships between the 15th and 17th centuries.

The wave of fires which ripped through swathes of land in central Portugal killed 49 people in October last year.

The latest victim of the blazes died of her wounds on Saturday in hospital.

Those fires came after 64 people died in June in the central Pedrogao Grande region, in what were the deadliest wildfires in the country's history.

Explore further: EU to re-think civil protection aid after Portugal fires

Related Stories

EU to re-think civil protection aid after Portugal fires

October 30, 2017

The European Union is re-thinking civil protection assistance, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Monday, after a request from Portugal which this year suffered several deadly forest fires.

Spain sends help to battle Portugal's wildfires

August 14, 2017

Spanish firefighters and water-dumping aircraft have bolstered Portuguese efforts to gain control of forest fires raging in the centre of the country, the European Commission said Monday.

Portugal arsonists feed wildfire destruction

August 16, 2017

Portugal's police said Wednesday they had arrested 61 suspected arsonists so far this year, with fires on the rise and figures showing the largest number of people killed in forest blazes since 2003.

Rash of forest fires breaks out in Indonesia

February 21, 2018

Indonesia was battling a rash of forest fires Wednesday as it raised an alert over the blazes which occur every year and emit choking smog that can envelop neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia.

Recommended for you

The pace at which the world's permafrost soils are warming

January 16, 2019

Global warming is causing increasing damage in the world's permafrost regions. As the new global comparative study conducted by the international permafrost network GTN-P shows, in all regions with permafrost soils the temperature ...

Sewers could help clean the atmosphere

January 16, 2019

Sewage treatment—an unglamorous backbone of urban living—could offer a cost-effective way to combat climate change by flushing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.