Natural Resource Management - a public policy

Another article by landscape architect Fernando Pessoa, “father” of the extinct National Park Service, putting his finger on the wound

Natural resources are finite, vulnerable and decisive for our survival, with special emphasis on the vegetation cover that, through photosynthesis, fixes CO2 and recycles oxygen, the water without which there is no life on Earth and the landscapes that they are fundamental to frame the idiosyncrasies of the people who have inhabited this territory for many centuries.

Especially in a country where these resources are not abundant, which is our case, their management must ineluctably belong to the population collective, that is, to the public administration, and not to private activity, which, even in cases where it can manage the interest public (and there are sectors where it is possible to face this management in whole or in part), does not dispense with legitimate profit, as it is its reason for existence. "Lapalitic" truths...

The extinction of the Forestry Services and the forest guards, leaving the woods and bush areas abandoned for several years, should be considered a public crime and those responsible for these policies should have been called to answer to the people, to the country .

Everything was precipitated with the last PSD/CDS Government, where Minister Assunção Cristas was responsible for this policy, with the inexplicable silence of the PSD – quite different from the PSD, which has in its history the best defense of the Environment policy....

In the reversal measures that the current Government has taken, regarding the policies of the previous Executive, by chance – it must be by mere chance – there were no reversals with regard to the essentials of the Agriculture and Forestry and Environment policies. By chance, the lack of interest in Forestry Services (SF) also started with PS Governments.

A National Forest Authority, conceived in current terms of what a SF should and can be, should be a priority for any public policy of effective – but serious – management of natural resources.

The management of water resources should depend, as was the case until the reform of Assunção Cristas, on the Administrations of the hydrographic basins or, if you like, on the hydrographic regions, centralizing everything in the APA, the Portuguese Environment Agency.

Why this Government, through its Ministry of the Environment, has not yet reversed this policy is also a question that is worth thinking about. Luisa Schmidt, Rui Godinho, among other people with authority, have already denounced him.

With the extinction of the ARH and their centralization in the APA, the kingfishers, considered expendable, were also extinguished – just look at the deplorable situation of most of the streams in our interior to see if they were expendable…

But, for example, privatizing Águas do Algarve was a “temptation” that was opposed by all the municipalities in the region. Here was a proposal for good management practice – the privatization… – of this left-wing government…

However, we had the ICN that substantiated the application of Conservation, as an independent and transversal policy to all sectoral economic activities (forests included) and a fundamental pillar of any effective Environmental Policy, but the chaotic and dysfunctional ICNF was created, transferred to the Ministry Agriculture, although in Environment there is still a State Secretariat dedicated to…Nature Conservation. Landscapes and Nature.

And the Protected Areas, which should look after these natural resources, are being managed in three strokes, in complete chaos, just like the forests...

So many praises for a left-wing government supported by the left, including an Ecologist Party Os Verdes, for this!…

 

Author Fernando Santos Pessoa
Landscape architect

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