Fires in the Algarve

Firefighters and soldiers battle Algarve fires as temperatures hit 45 degrees

 

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A bush fire a scene more and more common in Portugal.

You probably saw this on the news and we had to write about it. The fire has now spread across three councils and even the Reproductive center for the endangered Iberian Lynx was evacuated,

 
All lynxes are safe in Spain in another center, thankfully.
 
We just had to write about this because this is again, and again the same problem. The consecutive destruction of native trees in favor of the very profitable eucalyptus…
 
Portugal continues to be the third country in the world with more Eucalyptus, after Australia and India… now compare in size Portugal to Australia or India!
 
The problem with the Eucalyptus is that it’s a tree which it’s own nature is to burn, the so called “bush fires” are natural parts of the ecosystem this tree is a part of.
 
Trees like the cork oak tree are not so prone to burn, the cork bark itself is a fire retardant and not something readily flammable like the eucalyptus bark.
 
In Portugal though, there are huge lobbies at play here as this “invasive” tree is used to produce paper and guess what’s one of Portugal biggest exports? Paper…
And take a guess at where the fire started and what kind of tree continues to burn effusively? The Eucalyptus.
 
We are not going to name any companies, but the biggest paper companies in the world are based in Portugal.
 
And this is achieved by the constant destruction of ecosystems nationwide to plant the very flammable eucalyptus.
 
It is sad that when one travels through Portugal at some point the landscape is fulled Eucalyptus as far as the eye can see.
 
At Cork Crafts we believe in a fully sustainable future and we understand that this is only possible when we stop destroying ecosystems in favor of making a quick buck.
 
Your company may last a few years but what’s at stake?
 
Where will your paper company be in 100 years? 200 years? Specially now in the advent of the digital world and much of the world going paperless more and more?
 
But all is not lost.
 

There is a growing consciousness in Portugal, there are good people doing good deeds, understanding how important the native ecosystem is and planting cork oaks, fig trees, almond trees and so many native saplings.

So we will keep our hopes up that one day we can reclaim our ecosystem and we will stop having so many fires.

 
– Vasco Carto

 

 

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A typical view of a Montado where the cork oak grows and it’s bark harvested.

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