Caption: Caldas de Monchique - Photo: INÊS LOPES/OPEN MEDIA GROUP

Monchique battles invasive plant species to stop loss of biodiversity

Monchique Council has revealed a plan to fight invasive plant species in the borough to prevent the loss of biodiversity and protect native species which are being threatened.

Explains Monchique Mayor Rui André, the spread of invasive plants has worsened due to the wildfires that have devastated parts of the borough.

“There has been an exponential increase in the number of plants due to the fires and exposure to sunlight,” says the mayor, explaining that they are growing in areas where they were not previously found.

“We must urgently act in areas where invasive plants are gaining ground, or risk irreparably losing the biodiversity and identity of these locations and the characteristics of Monchique,” André warns.

The project will be implemented in phases and will focus on fighting two invasive species – ‘Mimosa’ (Acacia dealbata) and ‘Australia’ (Acacia melanoxylon).

GEOTA (Group of Studies and Planning of the Territory and Environment) is one of the project’s partners and says it was born from the need to act against the spread of invasive species.

“In mainland Portugal, throughout the last two centuries and especially in the last decades, the number of exotic species has increased very much,” said the group’s president João Dias Coelho, adding that around 670 of these species are believed to exist in Portugal. This accounts for around 18% of the country’s flora, he said.

Monchique Council is ploughing around €17,000 into the first phase of the project, which will begin on September 20 near the local rundown convent and in the area of Montinho.