Loulé approves the creation of the Foz do Almargem and Trafal Local Nature Reserve

City Council signed protocols with ICNF and WWF to plant "hundreds of thousands" of trees in the municipality of Loulé

This Wednesday, June 9th, the Loulé Council approved the creation of the Foz do Almargem and Trafal Local Nature Reserve, in Quarteira, in an area of ​​135,4 hectares, for these wetlands, «with a huge wealth, in terms of biodiversity”, gain a special status of protection. 

The proposal, already approved, will now have a period of public consultation, as well as a vote in the Municipal Assembly.

Speaking to journalists, on the sidelines of the signing of a protocol with the Conservation and Natures Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Vítor Aleixo, Mayor of Loulé, explained that, in principle, "in nine months" this Reserve will be formally created.

The main objective of the initiative is to protect the "life that exists in these two wetlands".


Vítor Aleixo – Photo: Pedro Lemos | Sul Informação


The creation of the Reserve comes in follow-up of the suspension of the Municipal Master Plan (PDM) which the Loulé Council carried out in March 2019 and which prevented the creation of a tourist development in that area: Quinta do Oceano, whose promoter was the Special Closed Real Estate Investment Fund — Invesfundo VII, of the Novo Banco group.

In the same year, the Almargem Association began a study on the two zones (Foz do Almargem and Trafal) which serves as «technical and scientific support for characterizing the richness of biodiversity» in these places.

According to this report, these are areas “extremely rich in wildlife, particularly in species with high protection statuses”.

In total, 137 species were identified, «with emphasis on wintering and migratory water birds, which bring together high concentrations of individuals in periods of wintering emigration, highlighting the following priority species: common duck (Aythya fierce), beaded (strepera marc) red-billed duck (Net rufina), caiman (porphyry porphyry) and Audouin's gull (Ichthyaetus audouinii). "

Added to this is the very strong presence of insects, among which «three Iberian beetles endemisms: the species Pterostichus ebenus, the subspecies Carabus rugosus celtibericus and the subspecies Licinus punctatulus granulatus and the high probability of occurrence of the butterfly Melitaea aetherie, one of the most endangered species of butterflies in Portugal and the pointed-eyed mantis (apteromantis aptera).

Also according to the study mentioned above, "this area is of great value as a breeding area for dragonflies and damselflies in the Algarve".

It was based on all of this that the City Council of Loulé decided that these areas deserved to be preserved.

“We want to make our contribution to the protection of life in all its manifestations. We have there fauna, flora and bird species in large numbers, in a great environmental richness», explained Vítor Aleixo.


Vítor Aleixo and Castelão Rodrigues- Photo: Pedro Lemos | Sul Informação


The approval of the creation of this Reserve was one of the highlights of the Environment Week, promoted by the Loulé Council, and which also included the signing of protocols with the ICNF and WWF that foresee the planting of "hundreds of thousands" of trees, in five years old.

The moment took place at the end of this Wednesday, in the Lagoa de Momprolé, just outside Loulé, in a symbolic place, where, in 2017, around 5 trees were planted in the “Montanha Verde” operation, in partnership with the Zoomarine.

According to Vítor Aleixo, despite the criticism that the action had over the years for many of the specimens having died, only “less than 10% of the trees were lost”.

Therefore, «continuing this reforestation policy», the signed protocols provide for the planting of «more than 400 specimens in the next five years», both in Lagoa de Momprolé and in Serra do Caldeirão.

The trees "will be suitable for the territories", and "technicians from the City Council of Loulé and ICNF will define the proportion".

«The idea is, once again, to increase the capacity to capture carbon and thereby greatly reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, with Loulé contributing to the environmental goals of the national strategy. At the same time, the landscape has an associated value, it has economic and cultural interest and the consequences of these initiatives can only be very beneficial”, he concluded.

For the rest, Joaquim Castelão Rodrigues, ICNF regional director, present at this moment, even considered that Loulé is an “exemplary municipality” and that the Algarve is “proud” in these environmental issues.