Woodland “ignored” by nature conservation institute

Vila Real de Santo António (VRSA) Mayor has slammed the “uncaring attitude” of the Institute for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (ICNB) towards the municipality’s coastal dune woodland (Mata Nacional de Dunas Litorais de VRSA), which he says has been virtually abandoned in the past few years.

Luís Gomes’ main concern, particularly as the summer approaches, is the fire hazard the woodland represents. He told the Algarve Resident: “In 2004, the ICNB had agreed on a project for the management of the woodland, but it is regretful that the institute has been putting this off for the last eight years.”

In a bid to provide a response to the problem, VRSA Câmara is again this year making available a team of forest supervisors (Sapadores Florestais), who will patrol the woodland daily during the summer months and thus reduce the risk of wildfires.

The president of the câmara went on to say that in the last few months, the Municipal Civil Protection Service, through its Sapadores Florestais, had also taken charge of the clearing of the land to prevent fires from spreading and had created new lanes to facilitate fire truck access – “something the ICNB should have done.”

Luís Gomes added that council money had been used for these actions and others such as the preservation of woodland species and the repair of boundary fences.

The Mayor concluded: “We hope the ICNB will soon be able to fulfil its obligations and take charge of the maintenance of the Mata Nacional. The Câmara will certainly not accept responsibility for any incidents occurring there.”