As part of the LIFE ENPLC project, in which Rewilding Portugal is a partner, the first Bioblitz was carried out in one of our rewilding areas, Ribeira do Mosteiro, in Freixo-de-Espada-à-Cinta. In partnership with TAGIS and being an activity framed in the schedule specially developed for this day, the event had the participation of the Symington Family Estates team.
Bioblitz’ members hiking under escaped old olive trees. Photo credit: Rewilding Portugal
Bioblitz LIFE ENPLC project
A grasshopper gets studied. Photo credit: Rewilding Portugal
The event went well for lovers of biodiversity, both fauna and flora, as a total of 130 species were recorded: 24 vertebrates, 40 insects and 66 plants, in an experience that became a unique opportunity for participants to have a detailed contact with the identification of species and discover their role in the ecosystem.
The Ribeira do Mosteiro rewilding area
Ribeira do Mosteiro, a rewilding area managed by Rewilding Portugal, is a key area for landscape connectivity, along the Douro River, in the municipality of Freixo-de-Espada-à-Cinta. Here, Rewilding Portugal is implementing ecological restoration actions that complement the vision of making the Greater Côa Valley a landscape with natural processes and complete trophic chains, reinforcing the ecological connectivity of the region.
Located on the north bank of the Douro River, the Ribeira do Mosteiro valley is one of the most emblematic places in the Douro International Natural Park, housing a formidable geological, biological and cultural heritage. In this rugged valley, it is possible to observe unique rock formations and walk along the famous Calçada de Alpajares, an ancestral path with marks of human presence and their coexistence with nature dating back to the Palaeolithic period are evident.
The Ribera do Mosteiro in a relatively wide river bed. Photo credit: Rewilding Portugal
After millennia of changes in the ecosystem caused by human activity, a large part of the valley is currently in the process of rewilding, with old olive and almond groves being filled in by holm oaks, junipers, turpentines and other trees and shrubs that make up the original Mediterranean forest of the region. The escarpments that delimit the landscape are a nesting place for endangered birds such as the britango, the peregrine falcon, the black wheatear, and the ever-present griffon vulture. The dramatic cracks and folds in the shale are home to numerous colonies of bats and rupicolous vegetation. At the bottom of the valley, the Mosteiro stream and its tributaries combat the aridity of the slopes and allow the existence of great floristic wealth and several examples of centenary trees.
In this area, the work of Rewilding Portugal focuses on ensuring and facilitating the process of rewilding the landscape, reconciling existing agricultural practices with biodiversity, and reducing the risk of major fires, one of the main threats to the biodiversity of Ribeira do Mosteiro.
In Partnership with Symington Family Estates
The LIFE ENPLC project
The ENPLC Life project is an initiative of organisations representing private landowners and conservationists to mitigate climate warming and bring back lost biodiversity. The ENPLC project tests and improves the most promising private land conservation tools, advocates financial incentives, involves citizens and raises public awareness. The ENPLC project is supported by the European Commission’s LIFE environmental funding program and has 18 partners in 11 EU countries, including Rewilding Portugal.
Bioblitz participants posing with the LIFE flag. Photo credit: Rewilding Portugal