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In November we planted trees in 4 small plots (0,25ha) with state-of-the-art materials and techniques. We hope to establish biodiverse groves of trees that rapidly become living seed banks, also aiming to create a mosaic landscape.  

Since its creation in 2000 reforestation actions have been caried out in Faia Brava, as part of the objective of habitat restauration. However, we were confronted with major problems; like  a poor soil quality, drought, animal damage and disturbance. The overall success of tree plantations in Faia Brava was only around 10% of tree survival after the first year. To increase the tree survival rate we  decided to apply a new method of tree planting.

The new model of plantation was suggested by Ronald Buiting, a known ecological reforestry Dutch expert. The composition and the distribution of the new trees in the plot is a key principle to mimic the structure of a mature forest. This should visually integrate the plantation plot in the surrounding landscape and promote a faster maturation of some trees. We plant native species in monospecific subgroups (eco-units), use natural shapes for the eco-units and a designed variation of densities of trees in different eco-units.

The reduction of water stress in the long hot summer is achieved either by direct watering or by the use of bio degradable cocoons; individual water containers or waterboxes provided by the Land Life Company. The landlife company plants more than million trees a year and uses modern IT technologies.

The holes for the trees were dug with a mechanical drill that creates space for root development. This helps to regulate the temperature for the young trees. It also creates a space for mixing mature manure in the soil, prior to plantation.

The final contribution for a higher success rate was the inoculation of a mycorrhiza mix to the roots of all Oak trees and the other broad-leafed trees. We used a commercial mix from Ecovit (with fungus  native species) that ensures low mortality in the plantation, better nutrition and water in-take abilities and an overall protection against environmental stress.

This experimental work will be monitored over the next few years and we will generate more knowledge and capabilities to create a more resilient forest.

If you are interested in knowing more about this project, you can request a visit to the plot.

planting trees

 

   drill and tractor

 

A team from the University of Aveiro was recently at Faia Brava doing fieldwork related with the project rWILD-COA "Ecological challenges and opportunities in the process of rewilding the Côa Valley". The project consists of a multidisciplinary and international team that includes academic institutions (University of Aveiro, Polytechnic University of Madrid, Autonomous University of Barcelona) and associations related to the conservation and management of natural resources, including the ATNatureza and the Iberia Rewilding Association. Faia Brava, located in the Côa Valley, will constitute an important natural laboratory, where the role of ungulates as “ecosystem engineers” will be tested and quantified. The objective is to explore how the action of ungulates influences the composition and structure of habitats, the richness and diversity of species and the geochemical cycles of the soil. With regard to species richness, one of the groups studied are micromammals, due to their trophic importance and their role as bioindicators. In Faia Brava, systematic sampling is being carried out in order to understand how different densities of ungulates influence the micromammalian community and different physical parameters of these species.

 Apodemus sylvaticus  Eliomys quercinus  Mus spretus  Crocidura russula

Last week we were delighted and grateful to receive Mr. Paulo Azevedo Chairman of SONAE and Dr. Nuno Ferrand Almeida of CIBIO, at our Faia Brava Reserve. Paolo Azevedo is the chairman of Sonae, a multinational company managing a diversified portfolio of business, telecommunications and financial services. Sonae is one of 32 companies in the world to subscribe the "Business for Nature” platform manifesto, which demands swift collective action by governments and companies to promote restoration and preservation of nature.

It was a magnificent day for everyone and it is great to have the opportunity to show our work in the field of nature conservation, as well as explain about the projects we are carrying out. We were proud to share our 20 years discovery journey and we shared our dream for Faia Brava and the Coa Valley.  Paulo showed much interest into the long term perspective of ecosystem restoration, leading to very interesting in depth discussions. Thank you Paulo and Nuno for visiting us!

Paolo Azevedo visit

ATNatureza is accredited by the "Cooperation Organization for Vocational Education, Training and the Labor Market (SBB)"  to the list of Portuguese entities accredited to receive and accompany Dutch professional education trainees. The recognition results from several years of experience of the technical ATNatureza team to receive interns from different Dutch institutions providing challenging internship plans that contribute to professional and personal enrichment. Integration with the local community is also one of the strengths of this internship program resulting in long term relationship with ATNatureza. 

students at pigeonn house

Dutch students at pigeon house Faia Brava, watching vultures

 

Watch this month at TV canal NatGeo Wild, the 6 episodes of the tv-series ‘Europe’s New Wild’ about Europa’s wild nature. In the second episode you will embark on a journey to the greater Coa Valley in North East Portugal, showing river gorges, oak forests, rocky heathlands and scattered fields which constitutes a spectacular mix of landscapes. You will see spectacular images of our Faia Brava park: the garrano horses, the vultures, ‘our’ maronesa cows. You will also see what it means to restore nature and to increase bio-diversity in the Coa Valley.

the missing Lynx

Click here for more information. 

TV-serie Europe’s New Wild
The beautiful documentary Europe’s New Wild will be broadcasted worldwide by NatGeo Wild. It is produced by Rewilding Europe and Off-the-Fence productions and Bonne Pioche, https://europesnewwild.com/  tells the inspiring story to restore nature in Europe. In six episodes the TV series show the spectacular results of breath taking landscapes of Europe. With its worldwide audience, Europe’s New Wild contributes to awareness and in this way, it supports the comeback of nature and enhance the bio-diversity. The series will be broadcasted in more than 45 languages and it will reach millions of people. (click here to find out when to watch in your country)

The six episodes are:

  1. Return of the Titans, the reintroduction of European bison in Romania.
  2. The Missing Lynx and the greater Coa Valley.
  3. Saving Europe’s Bears across Italy, Croatia and Greece; bears and people find ways to live together.
  4. Europe’s Amazon in the wetlands of the Danube Delta, with incredible numbers of fish, water birds, beavers and golden jackal.
  5. The Scavengers Return, in the Rhodope mountains a battle is ongoing to revive a broken food chain.
  6. Land of Snow and Ice; iconic wildlife in Lapland

We are proud as ATNatureza
ATNatureza is the founding organization and owner of the 1100 ha Faia Brava reserve, that plays a central role in the second episode. For 20 years ATNatureza has been restoring nature in the Coa Valley. Thanks to hundreds of volunteers, scientists, donors, NGO’s and governmental institutions we have been able to create Faia Brava, as a unique reserve. With reforestation, little ponds and large herbivores like the garrano horses and Maronesa bovines, we have created a rewilding landscape, a paradise for bio-diversity and a lovely journey for our visitors. In the coming years we aim to expand our nature reserve, so that roe deer will find an appropriate habitat and that the rabbit population will flourish. In this way we hope that predators like the Iberian wolf and the Iberian lynx will find enough space, food and peace in our park. Faia Brava harbors an extraordinary population of vultures and eagles and we aim that our big trees will be attractive for the return of the black vulture. But an ecosystem and bio-diversity is much more than the popular animal and bird eye-catchers; we see astonishing species of flora, insects and fauna coming back and we aim that the North-East Portuguese nature in all its variety will develop and flourish.  

day of the vulture

Photo: Paulo Martinho (DianaFalco) in the Faia Brava Reserve 

Acknowledgement
We wish to thank all persons and organizations that have been working with us in the last 20 years, for making this possible. Rewilding in the Coa Valley is also your success! We promise you to continue working on this mission.

The Board of ATNatureza:
Henk Smit, Anna Berliner, Kas Burger, Carlos Sanchez, Cassiano Monteiro, Tina Perpetuo.
Contact:  Vanda Bras (director) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you  think that our private organization ATN is doing a fantastic job, would you please support us to expand the park (nature needs more space), to increase the bio-diversity and to be able to pay for the maintenance costs? 
If you want to know more about our work at Reserva da Faia Brava, you can request information or schedule a visit via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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News

Innovative new “Impulse for Reforestation in Reserva Fa…

In November we planted trees in 4 small plots (0,25ha) with state-of-the-art materials and techniques. We hope to establish biodiverse groves of trees that rapidly become living seed banks, also aimin...

read more

The importance of Micro-mammels in the Rewilding proces…

A team from the University of Aveiro was recently at Faia Brava doing fieldwork related with the project rWILD-COA "Ecological challenges and opportunities in the process of rewilding the Côa Valley...

read more

Visit Paolo Azevedo, chairman of Sonae

Last week we were delighted and grateful to receive Mr. Paulo Azevedo Chairman of SONAE and Dr. Nuno Ferrand Almeida of CIBIO, at our Faia Brava Reserve. Paolo Azevedo is the chairman of Sonae, a mult...

read more
more news