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You are here: Home / The European environment – state and outlook 2010 / Country assessments / Portugal / Nature protection and biodiversity - National Responses (Portugal)

Nature protection and biodiversity - National Responses (Portugal)

SOER Common environmental theme from Portugal
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

 

Over recent years Portugal has produced a number of strategic plans and documentation which aim to improve the protection of biodiversity and nature. These include the National Nature Conservation and Biodiversity Strategy, the Natura 2000 Network Sector Plan, the Sustainable Development Strategy and management plans for protected areas, coastal zone management plans, a strategy for integrated coastal zone management and a management plan for the maritime area.

In 2001, Portugal adopted the National Nature Conservation and Biodiversity Strategy, interlinking international commitments (Convention on Biological Diversity) and European strategy. Not only was this a national recognition of the importance of biodiversity but it also aimed to implement measures identified in Portugal’s 1987 framework law on the environment. The three objectives of the Strategy were to conserve nature and biological diversity; to promote the sustainable use of natural resources and to contribute to the objectives of international processes (e.g. the Convention on Biological Diversity). These objectives were assessed in the first evaluation of the Strategy, conducted in 2009.

Since 1970, when Portugal’s first protected area was designated, the number and surface area affected by protection laws has greatly increased. In 2009, around 22 % of the area of continental Portugal held some form of protection status. All except four of the areas under the protected area network have had their management plans approved, in accordance with legislation.

In 2008, new laws were passed on nature conservation and biodiversity which brought some consistency and clarification to previous legislation. The Fundamental Network for Nature Conservation (RFCN in Portuguese) consists of the core areas of nature conservation and biodiversity, an ecological reserve, an agriculture reserve, the Natura 2000 areas, other areas designated at international level and the areas of water in the public domain.[1] The legislation also created the SIPNAT (Natural Heritage Information System) and the Cadastre of Designated Natural Values, as proposed in the Strategy for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity. Another important factor is a new economic and financial regime for nature conservation and biodiversity and the creation of the Fund for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity.

The Natura 2000 Sector Plan, published in 2008, defines the strategy for the territorial management of the areas included in the network, taking into consideration their natural value and long-term maintenance requirements.

The Portuguese Sustainable Development Strategy aims to prevent the further decline of biodiversity and to ensure the compensation of affected habitats and species. One of the objectives presented in the Strategy is to increase the value of the Common Birds Index by 2015 against base year 2004, the date of the first census. Similarly, the creation of a network of protected marine areas is identified in the Strategy as an important means of harmonising economic activity with the protection of estuarine, coastal and oceanic ecosystems.

One very important measure has been the replacement of the Institute for Nature Conservation by the Institute for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (ICNB, in Portuguese) which reflects a change of policy regarding the protection of biodiversity. ICNB is the governmental body responsible for nature conservation and biodiversity policies and for the management of protected areas. Its mission includes the sustainable management of wild animal and plant species; designation of land and marine protected areas, management of areas of national interest; integration of the objectives of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources into planning and sector policy; implementation of the National Strategy for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity and development of a national programme for nature conservation; promotion of information and public-awareness raising on nature conservation and biodiversity and the monitoring of compliance with both EU and international law in matters related to nature conservation and biodiversity (ICNB, 2010).

Over recent years Portugal has produced a number of strategic plans and documentation which aim to improve the protection of biodiversity and nature. These include the National Nature Conservation and Biodiversity Strategy, the Natura 2000 Network Sector Plan, the Sustainable Development Strategy and management plans for protected areas, coastal zone management plans, a strategy for integrated coastal zone management and a management plan for the maritime area.

In 2001, Portugal adopted the National Nature Conservation and Biodiversity Strategy, interlinking international commitments (Convention on Biological Diversity) and European strategy. Not only was this a national recognition of the importance of biodiversity but it also aimed to implement measures identified in Portugal’s 1987 framework law on the environment. The three objectives of the Strategy were to conserve nature and biological diversity; to promote the sustainable use of natural resources and to contribute to the objectives of international processes (e.g. the Convention on Biological Diversity). These objectives were assessed in the first evaluation of the Strategy, conducted in 2009.

Since 1970, when Portugal’s first protected area was designated, the number and surface area affected by protection laws has greatly increased. In 2009, around 22 % of the area of continental Portugal held some form of protection status. All except four of the areas under the protected area network have had their management plans approved, in accordance with legislation.

In 2008, new laws were passed on nature conservation and biodiversity which brought some consistency and clarification to previous legislation. The Fundamental Network for Nature Conservation (RFCN in Portuguese) consists of the core areas of nature conservation and biodiversity, an ecological reserve, an agriculture reserve, the Natura 2000 areas, other areas designated at international level and the areas of water in the public domain.[2] The legislation also created the SIPNAT (Natural Heritage Information System) and the Cadastre of Designated Natural Values, as proposed in the Strategy for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity. Another important factor is a new economic and financial regime for nature conservation and biodiversity and the creation of the Fund for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity.

The Natura 2000 Sector Plan, published in 2008, defines the strategy for the territorial management of the areas included in the network, taking into consideration their natural value and long-term maintenance requirements.

The Portuguese Sustainable Development Strategy aims to prevent the further decline of biodiversity and to ensure the compensation of affected habitats and species. One of the objectives presented in the Strategy is to increase the value of the Common Birds Index by 2015 against base year 2004, the date of the first census. Similarly, the creation of a network of protected marine areas is identified in the Strategy as an important means of harmonising economic activity with the protection of estuarine, coastal and oceanic ecosystems.

One very important measure has been the replacement of the Institute for Nature Conservation by the Institute for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (ICNB, in Portuguese) which reflects a change of policy regarding the protection of biodiversity. ICNB is the governmental body responsible for nature conservation and biodiversity policies and for the management of protected areas. Its mission includes the sustainable management of wild animal and plant species; designation of land and marine protected areas, management of areas of national interest; integration of the objectives of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources into planning and sector policy; implementation of the National Strategy for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity and development of a national programme for nature conservation; promotion of information and public-awareness raising on nature conservation and biodiversity and the monitoring of compliance with both EU and international law in matters related to nature conservation and biodiversity (ICNB, 2010).

 

References

ICNB (2010). Brief notes on the Ecology and Geography of Portugal in ICNB

http://portal.icnb.pt/ICNPortal/vEN2007/O+ICNB/Centro+de+documentacao/Noticias+-+Lista/Detalhe+Noticia/biodiversity.htm?res=1440x900


[1] For additional information on protected areas:

http://portal.icnb.pt/ICNPortal/vEN2007/O+ICNB/Areas+Protegidas/

[2] For additional information on protected areas:

http://portal.icnb.pt/ICNPortal/vEN2007/O+ICNB/Areas+Protegidas/

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