Biodiversity falls in Portugal in flora, fish and birds

By TPN/Lusa, in News, Health & Environment · 22-05-2021 12:00:00 · 5 Comments

The more human action dominates the planet, the more other species are at risk, indicate the figures of biodiversity, whose threats manifest themselves in Portugal in flora and in species of birds and freshwater fish.

The diagnosis, on the International Day of Biodiversity, which is celebrated on 22 May, is from activist Paulo Lucas, leader of the association Zero, who told Lusa news agency that the Portuguese flora is in a "very serious situation", with "dozens and dozens of species with protected status", but that are outside classified areas, such as protected areas and the Natura Network.

In fauna, he points to the problematic situation of freshwater fish, "strongly threatened" by the lack of water that advances the pace of climate change, "destruction of shores and introduction of exotic species, which proliferate much more and are usually large predators, such as largemouth bass and catfish.

Birds are also "in a very complicated situation, especially steppe birds, which depend on an "extensive cereal farming model, with fallow rotation and some grazing.

"In the last two years, the figures indicate that they are having very serious problems that the agricultural policy cannot resolve", Zero's leader said.

In the Living Planet Index published last year by environmental organisation World Wildlife Fund (WWF), it noted that between 1970 and 2016 there was a 68 percent decline in mammal, bird, amphibian, reptile and fish populations, based on data on 20,811 populations of 4,392 species.

WWF also noted that biodiversity in freshwater environments is declining at a much faster rate than in oceans or forests. Since 1700, the planet will have lost almost 90 percent of its wetlands, by the way human action has altered the course of millions of kilometres of rivers and streams.

In 3,741 freshwater populations that have been monitored (which include 944 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish), there has been an 84 percent drop since 1970, especially in the Latin American and Caribbean regions.

As for plants, the WWF indicated last year that they are at a risk of expansion comparable to that of mammals and double that of birds. The organisation estimated that one in five species was threatened with extinction.

This year, the motto of the international day, promoted by the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity is "We are part of the solution".

Paulo Lucas points out that there is "insufficient knowledge about natural values" in Portugal and that the creation of protected areas and Natura 2000 zones was carried out without a reference register of species and their conservation status.

"If we don't know where things are and what's at risk, there's no point in having major conservation policies. We prefer to delimit Natura Network sites, for example, in a very comprehensive way, but many hectares, in the middle of these sites, have nothing", he said.

The environmentalist complains of the lack of attention paid by local authorities to the defence of biodiversity.

"What interests them are footbridges, festivals, pedestrian trails that 'value', in inverted commas, but these things are engines of destruction, taking people to places where they shouldn't be", he criticised, indicating that this type of initiative generates pressure on ecosystems.

Although in recent decades education has raised awareness of the threats to biodiversity, he considers that there is "a literacy problem".

"People don't know the flora and even less can they distinguish the animals. The series that are on television are about elephants and zebras, but there are no series about our fauna. It would be very interesting to have this information. It's not enough to tell people to go into nature if they don't know how to interpret what they see. It is not enough", he argues.

Paulo Lucas highlights as positive initiatives such as the reintroduction of the Iberian lynx and the efforts towards its conservation, but points out others that need more intervention, such as the Iberian wolf.

"The population has not grown for many years, it has remained at 300 individuals and an expansion policy is needed. We have abandoned the rural environment and we need to return it to nature, we are artificialising the landscape and we need compensation in other places, we need to expand the wolf south of the Douro, but as long as it has natural prey, such as deer and wild boar", he said.

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The final statement about the government having abandoned the rural environment is so true. There is no forestry education worth the name for workers whose job is supposedly looking after the forest. All they know how to do is cut everything down. Even in areas earmarked for leisure and retreat, one goes for a walk and sees all the big trees felled. That destroys the intricate network of micorrhizal fungi that link woody plants such as heathers and gorse and trees, and all the microorganisms and insects, worms, etc that depend on these networks to hold the soil structure together, retain water, convey minerals and so on. And where does the money from the felled trees go? Certainly not into replanting anything. The forests are “cleaned” ruthlessly and ignorantly, with no understanding of ecological relationships, and the long term damage being done by the organizations designated to maintain forests. Portugal is in the dark ages when it comes to promoting biodiversity, and its farmers and smallholders seem irredeemably wed to spraying toxic chemicals everywhere, dooming millions of plants, insects, birds and mammals - including rural people like me whose health can be impacted by these industrial poisons.

By Jude Irwin from Beiras on 24-05-2021 08:17

The wide use of chemicals in Portugal such as round up are used so freely over wide areas of land destroying complete ecosystems yet is encouraged- why?

By Wendy Williams from Other on 23-05-2021 10:48

Where are the numbers of the fall in biodev. for the Portuguese territory? Or is the title just an extrapolation?

By Pedro Feveriero from Lisbon on 23-05-2021 10:46

Sadly this does not surprise me! I see wildlife habitat being destroyed for building development, I see trees felled to make way for housing, I see herbicides frequently used, I know pesticides are also frequently used too, I know people deliberately kill some species, such as salamanders, snakes, and various hairy caterpillars thought to be Processionary moth larvae, due to superstition and fear, and on top of this, we have droughts and wildfires every year, as part of the 'new normal' caused by climate change.

By Steve Andrews from Other on 22-05-2021 03:18

The globalists are behind the destruction of farming crops, they pay farmers double €, to destroy there crops, as the globalists are now creating artificial food shortages to further kill of millions of people!
Have you noticed in portugal the constant chem trails in the blue sky’s daily?
This is the globalists spraying poisons from high altitude aircraft to poison and injure us all.

The genocide by the globalists banker trillionaires is in full swing!
Start growing your own food now!
Soon the be huge artificial inflation, fuel shortages, and food shortages as the globalists ramp up the genocide!

By Gerry from Beiras on 22-05-2021 02:49
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