Dozens of shelters for birds, insects and bats have been set up
Loulé Council has hailed the success of several local projects designed to boost biodiversity in urban areas.
The first project, ‘Local Accommodation for Birds’ was launched in 2020 alongside Olhão-based nature conservation association Vita Nativa in a bid to encourage bird species to settle in urban and peri-urban areas – described by UNESCO as “zones of transition from rural to urban land located between the outer limits of urban and regional centres and the rural environment.”
‘Local Accommodation for Birds’ also aims to raise awareness about the “ecological importance of these species in our daily lives, particularly their role in biological pest control,” the council says.
Thanks to the project, there are already 62 nest boxes installed in the municipality (Loulé, Quarteira, and soon in Almancil), which have already led to the collection of two years’ worth of scientific monitoring data, including box locations, visitation rates, occupancy, species, and reproduction levels.
Another successful initiative was the ‘Guardians of the Community Garden’ project, which involved five fifth grade classes from Dr. António de Sousa Agostinho school. The project consisted of 12 sessions focusing on the themes of “Water, Flora, Fauna, and Content Creation”, which resulted in the placing of signposting at the community garden in Almancil.
Says the council, the ‘Fauna’ theme was developed in collaboration with Vita Nativa, having resulted in the construction of 20 insect hotels which were set up at the garden and at local schools. Eight insect hotels are installed at the Dr. António de Sousa Agostinho school, six at the community garden, and the remaining six at primary schools belonging to the same school group.
“Insect hotels contribute to local biodiversity conservation by providing shelter for different insect species, which are vital in the food chain for many animals and play a crucial role in the reproduction and production of various plants and food for human benefit through pollination,” the local authority says.
“They also serve as an excellent way to raise awareness among citizens about the importance of conserving these small animals and adopting environmentally friendly practices,” it adds.
In 2020, the municipality also participated in the ‘Cadoiço Vive’ project led by environmental association Almargem. One of the main objectives was to “enhance wildlife along the Cadoiço stream”, where 30 bird nest boxes, 13 bat shelters, and four insect hotels were installed.
According to the council, the “extensive and diverse territory of Loulé exposes it to multiple risks with significant implications for the community’s daily life and the resilience of the environment, landscape, and economy.”
The local authority says it has been “prioritising these issues” in order to “address these new challenges and establish policies that promote education for all and sustainable development in various areas, such as natural resource management, biodiversity, climate change, sustainability, integrated public space management, and mobility.”
“There’s no time to waste! A change in behaviour is crucial for society, and it is urgent to transmit and disseminate information, knowledge, and concepts that foster critical awareness. We must raise the alarm and sensitise as many citizens as possible, not only about these environmental issues and problems but especially about their prevention and mitigation,” the council adds.