Since 2019, the Grupo de Estudos e Ordenamento do Território e Ambiente (GEOTA) has planted one million trees of indigenous species through “Renature” reforestation projects, in the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela, Serra de Monchique and Mata Nacional de Leiria. This initiative arose from the necessity to reforest the areas affected by fires, support local communities that are recovering from the destruction and increase the resilience of the forest.

Since 2010, more than 1.5 million hectares have been destroyed by fires in the country. Portugal is considered to be the country most affected by fires in Europe in the 21st century.

Taking into account that around 98 percent of the forest is private or communitarian, the initiative began with involving the local communities that own and inhabit the territory in collaborative efforts to reforest burned areas. Through Renature projects, around 700 owners are being supported in an intervention area of three thousand hectares.

According to Isabel Moura, president of GEOTA, “it is urgent to support and educate local communities in order to recover the ecological and economic value of the forest. We understand that the importance of forests comes mainly from the resources it provides at an ecological, social and economic level. Active management of the forests by local communities must be a national purpose”.

Miguel Jerónimo, coordinator of the Renature projects, considers that “we cannot sit around and wait for the State to resolve all forest management problems. We turn words into action through the execution of reforestation projects in several regions. We have professional teams who are out in the field on a daily basis, recovering and reforesting burned areas.”

The goal is to change the landscape with species that are more resilient to fires, such as oaks, cork oaks, strawberry trees, chestnut trees, and pine, among other emblematic species such as the Carvalho-de-Monchique, which only grows naturally in the Serra de Monchique and in the Mira River basin, considered to be Critically Endangered, on the Red List of Flora of Mainland Portugal.

Following the work that began in 2019, GEOTA has established a new objective to plant another two million trees by 2027. Thus, the first crowdfunding campaign was launched at European level, so that everyone can contribute directly to the reforestation of the areas destroyed by fires, which will allow for the planting of the first 250 thousand trees.


A journalist that’s always eager to learn about new things. With a passion for travel, adventure and writing about this diverse world of ours.

“Wisdom begins in wonder” -  Socrates

Kate Sreenarong