Researchers push benefits of reforesting Portugal with “firefighting trees”

After the wildfire horrors of this summer, investigators at UTAD (the university of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro) have stressed the need to reforest with “árvores bombeiros”, or firefighting trees.

It is a premise already under development in the Algarve, on the property of Gerhard Zabel, in Silves (click here).

But whereas Zabel is concentrating energies on varieties of cypress, UTAD is suggesting birch, oak and chestnut: the arguments being that they have a lot of leaves and keep the environment relatively humid.

Said Paulo Fernandes, leading the study: “During the summer they are green and thus they burn with more difficulty. They also produce leaves which when they accumulate on the ground render the earth fairly uninflammable.”

Fernandes added that it is “very rare” to discover a fire originating in areas with these tree species, as they “stay green”.

UTAD’s advice simply lends weight to understanding that has even reached government that far greater care has to be taken in the make-up of Portugal’s forests.

With the Algarve borough of Monchique hoping to become a pilot project in forest fire prevention, it may well be that UTAD’s advice is taken on board.

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