A Chestnut Forest for the Future, Portugal

Until the 1950’s, chestnut forests played a crucial role for families’ self-sufficiency in the mountain valleys of Serra da Estrela Natural Park. Due to this, they were less affected by farming and logging, and therefore, they still retain high levels of biodiversity. Two wildfires have however severely affected the habitat’s conservation status and weakened its capacity to regenerate. This project by Veredas da Estrela association aims to break this cycle of fires, and restore the forest’s ability to act as a fire break, stabilize water cycles and soil, and provide food for wildlife and communities. On 10 hectares of affected forest, the organisation will support natural regrowth of 2,500 trees and bushes, fight invasive species and replant 6,500 chestnut and other native species. It will also host six 1 day volunteer action days involving 450 volunteers and turn the forest into a space of shared learning and guardianship, by hosting 6 guided educational hiking-workshops and 6 forest school days.