New technologies applied to nature conservation in 'Vale do Guadiana'

LIFE95 NAT/P/000137

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Maria Do Rosário GASPAR DE OLIVEIRA

Project description:


This project takes place in an Important Bird Area (IBA) which is also designated as Special Protection Area (SPA). This area includes important Mediterranean scrub lands, spots of holm-oak formations and vast cereal and fallow-lands, these last ones important for the Great Bustard (Otis tarda) populations. Some priority species are present in the area such as the Black stork (Ciconia nigra), Bonelli’s eagle (Hieraeetus fasciatus), Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), Short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus), Lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) and the Otter (Lutra lutra). The badly managed hunting system is causing serious problems in the area, as well as the high level of pollution of the river Guadiana.


The main purpose of the project is to re-establish the vegetation cover of the area, contribute to an integrated management system for the habitats and stimulate the local community and authorities towards the preservation of the ecosystems and biodiversity. Specific objectives include the preparation of the management plan for “Monte do Vento” area, the preparation of key lines of the management plan of the recently created natural parkof Guadiana, the conservation and restoration of habitats, the demonstration of viable alternatives to social-economical development of the region and raising of the environmental conscience of the school community.
The project intends to be demonstrative and work towards an increase of public awareness and a more active participation from the responsible authorities and local communities on the management process of the area.


The preliminary management plan for “Monte do Vento” area was presented, as scheduled, in June 1996. A file of technical documentation towards the classification of “Monte do Vento” as hunting reserve has been presented to the Ministry of Agriculture and consequently the “Reserva Integral de Caça do Monte do Vento” has been created in October 1996 (Portaria nº 579/96). Guidelines were produced for the Guadiana Natural Park management plan at “Monte do Vento”.
A seed bank of native plant species was created: two greenhouses were constructed where 15,000 plants of 20 different species have been produced. 10 ha were planted with holm and cork oak trees. Riverside areas have been restored in three plots (defined under agreement with the Natural Park) and 12 ha of pasture have been created. Private individuals could ask the beneficiary for technical support and advice on native planting and plant supply. After the end of the project, these actions will be continued through a contract with WWF. A total of 68 artificial nests were constructed, for different sized species (45 in 1996 and 23 in 1997). The rate of occupation was around 63% (42% of which showing breeding signs). Monitoring work was undertaken, but over a relatively short period in the last year of the project.
The beneficiary organized two seminars, one on restoration of Mediterranean ecosystems and another one on the development of sustainable production strategies. The beneficiary has also promoted the dissemination of the project through its presentation in national and international meetings, in one national TV station and through its own bulletin. The activation of the Centre began with the increase of its material (computer, books, CD-Roms and the elaboration of a visual presentation on environmental subjects). The involvement of the schools in the Environmental Education Centre’s activities was made through the creation of a nature club, guided visits to the centre, field visits to “Monte do Vento” and the participation in vegetation restoration activities (production of seedlings and plantation campaigns). In 1997, 30 schools totaling 520 students (70% of the schools of the park area) have visited the Centre. The software on environmental information was concluded and is has been used by students of three local schools, which are connected to the central computer and to each other. The access to this facility has been enlarged to 6 more schools, through the Ministries of Education and of Science and Technology, after the beneficiary’s initiative having been noticed in the press. A 40min video (Portuguese and English versions) on the natural heritage of the region was produced. The signs and field information in an interpretative trail were concluded.


Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Birds


endangered species‚  environmental education‚  protected area‚  conservation of genetic resources‚  hunting‚  natural park‚  integrated management‚  tourist facility‚  nature conservation‚  management plan

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...

Target species

 Bubo bubo   Ciconia nigra   Circaetus gallicus   Falco naumanni     

Natura 2000 sites

SPA PTZPE0047 Vale do Guadiana
SCI PTCON0036 Guadiana



Coordinator Associação de Defesa do Património de Mértola (ADPM)
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description ADPM mission is the economic development, social and cultural of the territories where it intervenes, sharing strategically with public and private entities, but equally with the citizens, the responsibility of active participation in the dynamic of its proper processes of local development.


Project reference LIFE95 NAT/P/000137
Duration 01-JAN-1996 to 31-DEC -1997
Total budget 357,000.00 €
EU contribution 178,500.00 €
Project location Alentejo(Portugal)


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