Eucalyptus dangerous for the environment

Environmental association Quercus said last week that Eucalyptus has become one the most dangerous tree species because it occupies a significant percentage of the national forest, which represents an “alarming” situation.

Eucalyptus plantations lead to several environmental impacts including soil erosion, alteration of the water regime, loss of biodiversity, landscape changes and can increase the spread of forest fires.

“Eucalyptus trees, in particular, are a huge concern in terms of forest fires,” said Domingos Patacho from Quercus.

Daily newspaper Público also reported last week that Eucalyptus has already become the predominant species in the national forest.

The Eucalyptus increased 16% between the mid-1990s and 2010, according to preliminary data from the National Forest Inventory (Inventário Florestal Nacional – IFN), and currently occupies 750,000 hectares nationwide.

The conclusions of the IFN, according to Público newspaper, will be presented by the Government this month.

Environmentalist Domingos Patacho also believes that the data revealed on Wednesday, January 30 might be inaccurate because “the whole Eucalyptus area in Portugal has not been taken into consideration” and that is why he calculates that “the percentage of Eucalyptus might be higher than it was announced in the IFN”.

The Eucalyptus is a non-indigenous species introduced to Portugal in the mid-19th century.