AFLOPS SETUBAL - Air Pollution and the Management and Conservation of Forest Ecosystems - Setúbal Península

LIFE98 ENV/P/000556

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Lúcio PIRES DO ROSÁRIO
Tel: 351 212198910
Fax: 351-1/218 21 27
Email: aflops@aflops.pt

Project description:


One of Portugal’s main industrial areas is found along the extensive Lisbon-Setúbal suburban axis. Private woodland resources occupy 50% of this area, which includes the Arrábida National Park. The potential risk of air pollution of the natural park’s forest areas and protected ecosystems constitutes one of the main concerns for the institutions responsible for regional planning and management. There are significant gaps in the information now available in this field, in particular, relating to the updating of this information and relating to its spatial and temporal breakdown. This impedes the establishment of action strategies to mitigate the risk.


The project's inherent or generic objectives were as follows: - to evaluate the different levels of air pollution in the region, in particular regarding substances harmful to vegetation. - to categorise and evaluate the main "input" factors for the region's local planning within the carbon cycle: location of relevant CO2 emission sources, the mapping of main flow paths of CO2 concentrations through the region and the effective capacity of the existing forest for carbon mitigation. - The integration of the methodological corpus and the different data networks for a self-sustainable planning instrument for air-quality in the region.


This project achieved all of the objectives and the expected results. In some ways, the project surpassed some of the initial expectations, such as drawing up a cartographic portrayal of lichen biodiversity throughout the Setúbal Peninsula, which was not included initially in the project . In addition, the use of lichens as biomonitors was innovative in that they were used to monitor dioxin and furan levels. The project integrated and supported national initiatives promoted under the new European Directive for Air Quality through the evaluation of the existing situation on a Continental Portugal level. Also, the initiatives ,developed in the scope of the forests considered carbon sinks and the results achieved, inspired the proposals for extension of the National Programme for Climatic Change.The project contributed to providing elements towards a solution to two of the sustainability issues put forward in the 5th Programme for Environmental Action for the European Union: climate change and bio-diversity protection. The impact of atmospheric contamination depends on processes that are highly influenced by spatial factors: geographical location of contamination sources, the spatial variable of meteorological conditions, topographical characteristics of the land and the preferential lines of dispersion. This project’s innovative character lies in the use of methodology allowing the integration of all the complex processes. Consequently, this favours the operational instruments that support the development of harmonised strategies and actions on the part of institutions responsible for regional planning and management. The project's added value also deserves a special mention, as this was the first time that such a significant forestry biomass had been studied in Portugal to characterise atmospheric contamination phenomena. The Regional Operational Information System for Environmental Quality that was established will make it possible for all the information (database included) to be available for other studies, permitting its application to other geographical areas. Some of the project conclusions, namely the identification of problematic areas, could have implications for regional industry and tourism provided the authorities responsible take the issues highlighted by this project into account. In fact, results revealed the presence of high levels of ozone associated with the fumes from Lisbon's urban and industrialised area and which, under synoptic forcing conditions, were being transported towards the south, over the Setúbal Peninsula. It was also seen that there were certain areas which were more prone to the development of relatively high levels of ozone during the day. This tendency was observed in inland areas, at the beginning of the afternoon, in areas with higher temperatures and/or that were more sheltered. The diagnosis has been completed, the main pollution sources identified and the Regional Operational Information System for Environmental Quality is working. The next step will be to equate and set up the necessary measures to correct or minimise certain situations concerning atmospheric quality. The necessary inter-institutional collaboration for policy implementation and positive actions was one of the project’s weaknesses. Nevertheless, the beneficiary pointed out that this project was a starting point for other actions and activities to be developed by AFLOPS. Indeed, the beneficiary presented five questions/recommendations to be implemented in the (near) future, but without an action plan.


Environmental issues addressed:


Air & Noise - Air quality monitoring


forest management‚  nature conservation‚  air quality monitoring

Target EU Legislation

  • Air
  • Directive 96/62 - Ambient air quality assessment and management (27.09.1996)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator AFLOPS - Associação dos Produtores Florestais de Setúbal
Type of organisation SME Small and medium sized enterprise
Description The Associação dos Produtores Florestais de Setúbal - AFLOPS (association of the forestry producers from the Setúbal district), established in 1993, represents 60,000 ha, about 23% of the total forestry area of this district.
Partners IST–Instituto Superior Técnico DGF–Direcção Geral das Florestas ICN/Parque Natural da Arrábida MLJB–Museu Laboratório e Jardim Botânico UA–Universidade de Aveiro AMDS–Associação dos Municípios do Distrito de Setúbal


Project reference LIFE98 ENV/P/000556
Duration 01-APR-1999 to 31-MAR -2002
Total budget 1,096,459.95 €
EU contribution 530,527.27 €
Project location Lisboa e vale do Tejo(Portugal) Alentejo(Portugal)


Read more:

Project web site Internet Site in Portuguese (English version under construction)


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version