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Scaling up rewilding in the greater Coa Valley

: Rewilding of the Côa Valley area: Natural and semi-natural habitats restoration actions of the most exciting wild areas of the Iberian Peninsula on a larger scale will provide benefits to wildlife including Iberian wolf, Iberian ibex, red deer and roe deer, all thriving in natural densities. Nature-based economy: In combination with some of the old local traditions and products, this new wild dimension has created new sources of income and pride for the region's inhabitants. Grassland restoration will provide benefits to prey species of wolf and birds of prey. Landscape heterogeneity will be favoured in areas of shrub encroachment and areas where the seed bank has been affected due to the recurring fires will be restored. These restored sites will also improve the connectivity within the project area. Stakeholder Engagement and Awareness: Seminars, peer-to-peer exchanges of practices and field visits will be promoted in order to disseminate best practices, inform about project actions and raise awareness on different topics.
: Portugal
: Faia Brava Natural Reserve
: 856.87 hectares (2,117.4 acres)
: 2017
: Ongoing
: Yes
: Rewilding Portugal
: 40.9242
: -7.1014
Increased provisioning of ecosystem goods (e.g. Food, water, etc)
Yes, by increasing opportunities for sustainable production of local agricultural products (Rewilding Portugal, s.a.).
Reduced drought risk, cooling effect, urban heat island mitigation
Yes, a more diverse mosaic landscape has the potential to reduce drought and risk of fires.
Biodiversity conservation or increased biodiversity
Yes, natural grazing leads to the creation of a more diverse mosaic landscape, enhancing biodiversity and also helping boost populations of species such as rabbit and red-legged partridge, which in turn increases the availability of prey for predators such as the Iberian lynx and Bonelli’s eagle, and scavengers such as vultures (Rewilding Portugal, s.a.).
Ecosystem restoration and/or improved ecological connectivity
Yes, the rewilding programme has the overall goal of restoring the greater Coa Valley by reintroduction of grazers and wildlife conservation (rewilding Portugal, s.a.).
Increased quality and quantity of green and blue infrastructures
Yes, through reduction of bush proliferation.
Improved aesthetic value
Increased access to green infrastructure
Yes, by promoting the region and its local natural and cultural identity as a travel destination (Rewilding Portugal, s.a.).
Increased communities' sense of ownership
Yes, the project has increased the sense of pride in the region's inhabitants (Rewilding, Portugal, s.a.).
Increased willingness, participation, investment in NBS
Yes, by involving citizens and local stakeholders.
Education, knowledge exchange and learning
Yes, through the implemented nature-based economy programme (e.g. Responsible Wildlife Tourism Program, Brand Creation of natural food, etc.). The project also developed a Youth Education programme focusing on wildlife conservation, which was established for primary and secondary schools of the project areas, including the provision of didactic materials (Rewilding Portugal, s.a.).
Low provisioning of ecosystem goods (e.g. Water, food)
Yes, business opportunities related to commercially sustainable production of local agricultural products which should support conservation objectives will be identified in the project (Rewilding Portugal, s.a.).
Drought and heat risk
Yes, this landscape is susceptible to forest fire, with the problem being exacerbated by long hot summers driven by climate change.
Loss of biodiversity
Yes, due its land use which is mainly for pine monocultures, which increase vulnerability to fires during drought years and loss of biodiversity (Wright et al; 2020).
Ecosystem degradation
Yes, due to its poor granite soils, the Côa Valley is facing the highest rates of land abandonment in Portugal. Bush encroachment and plantation of pine monocultures have made the landscape extremely vulnerable to large scale rural fires.
Limited knowledge about biodiversity
Good health and well-being (SDG3)
Sustainable cities and communities (SDG11)
Climate action, resilience, mitigation and adaptation (SDG13)
Yes, by restoring a landscape which is highly susceptible to fires.
Terrestrial biodiversity (SDG15)
Yes, this action focusses on rewilding the area by improving natural habitats (Rewilding Portugal, s.a.).
: Rewilding Portugal. s.a. Restoration and connectivity. Information obtained: 2020-12-14. Available at:

Wright, A., Mommer, L., Barry, K. and Ruijven, J.2020. Stress Gradients And Biodiversity: Monoculture Vulnerability Drives Stronger Biodiversity Effects During Drought Years. Available at: