“Trees in urban environments perform essential functions that often go unnoticed”, says the People, Animals and Nature Party.
Olhão’s People, Animals and Nature Party will submit a proposal to Olhão’s Municipal Assembly for trees to be planted in places where they fell or were uprooted during Storm Bernard.
“If, on the one hand, it was a relief to finally smell the wet earth due to the rain that fell in the Algarve these days, on the other, I noticed that the strong gusts of wind felled hundreds of trees throughout the region, with the most affected being existing trees in urban environments”, said Olhão municipal deputy, Alexandre Pereira.
The deputy states that “in the current scenario of climate change, with the worsening of periods of extreme drought, an increase in heat waves and water scarcity in the region, the conservation, protection and promotion of green spaces in urban environments is essential”.
“Trees in urban environments perform essential functions that often go unnoticed. It is imperative to implement public policies that contribute to mitigating climate change and, as such, we believe that the time has come to assume the relevant role of trees and shrubs in absorbing carbon and combating the greenhouse effect”, he adds.
Alexandre Pereira also says that “in addition to this, trees are also responsible for regulating urban temperatures, controlling and reducing noise and air pollution, increasing the general well-being of populations and, above all, increasing tolerance to and combating floods and extreme phenomena that have been increasingly affecting our region”.
Another of the deputy’s proposals is the creation of a municipal regulation for tree management in urban areas. “In April 2022, I presented a proposal, unanimously approved by all municipal deputies from the parties represented in Olhão’s Municipal Assembly, which aimed to create and implement the Strategic Municipal Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change (PMAAC), also creating a monitoring committee with members/representatives of the Municipal Assembly, but, so far, nothing has happened!”, he laments in a statement.
In addition to this strategic plan, the deputy argues that “the municipality of Olhão must have a complete inventory of existing urban trees in public and private municipal domains and a municipal regulation for tree management in urban areas, the drafting of which, according to article 8 59/2021, of August 18, is the responsibility of the Olhão Municipal Council. But, once again, to date, no plan has been submitted to the Municipal Assembly for approval”.
This diploma “regulates interventions to be carried out on trees, namely pruning, transplants and the criteria applicable to felling and the selection of species to be planted. One of the aspects that should be included in these management instruments is the assessment of the phytosanitary status of trees, that is, their health status, which implies that duly prepared and accredited technicians carry out the management and maintenance of urban trees in public spaces.”
The online municipal inventory of trees in urban areas “will allow citizens to ask questions and report incidents regarding existing tree specimens”.
“This way, the municipality comes under permanent scrutiny and has to justify the actions it takes in the management and maintenance of green spaces to its residents, particularly when it comes to pruning, which in many cases is exaggerated”, adds Alexandre Pereira.