Armando Carvalho in his forest in Santa Comba Dão, in the Center region of Portugal. Photo credit: Armando Carvalho
Armando Carvalho is based in Santa Comba Dão, in the Center region of Portugal, between Coimbra and Viseu. He is the owner of 11 hectares of land, spread over multiple small plots. In 1985, he inherited the land from his family and ever since he tried to improve his farm and forest to respect nature.
Armando has a strong background of forestry engineering. He worked as a conservationist NGO representative for the national park service and on public and regional development projects. All the knowledge he gained during his life benefits his land.
Cork oaks are well prepared to withstand wildfires. Photo Credit: Pixabay.
Armando: It’s a pleasure to be part of this network. I think collaboration is essential to improve ourselves and boost land conservation.
Since 1985 we have gone from 8 hectares to 11 hectares. We started with 90 small pieces of land. And today, we have 75 plots concentrated in the same area to increase our local actions and impact. We had to go through many sales and acquisitions, but we have finally reached our goal—a broader and consolidated estate.
A firefighter observes the flames while trying to extinguish a fire in Cabanões, near Lousã, as wildfires raged in Portugal in 2017. Photo credit: Francisco Leong/AFP (via Getty Images)
Rules to resist fires and build resilience on our private land
- Due to climate change, prevention is key
- Let’s observe and learn from nature’s resilience
- Sharing is caring, we need a community-based approach
- Peer knowledge and experiences are part of the solution
- An agroforestry model, including shepherds and/or goats, improves the estate’s resistance to wildfires
Jóni Vieira, Montis, Portugal: “The case of Armando is particularly important. Because of the fires, we have now realised that what we have been doing so far in landscape management is not working. Or at least, the results are not what we would have expected.
2017 was a wake-up call. Today we are aware that we need to do things differently. But how to proceed?
By listening to people working on the ground. People who are experiencing and testing, such as Armando. They need to be heard. They need to gain visibility. And that’s why a network such as ENPLC matters.”