The destruction of the White Alagoas

If the politicians fail, let the citizens take action and force a fair policy that escapes us.

The Region has helplessly watched the destruction of Alagoas Brancas, what remains of an important wetland in the municipality of Lagoa and from which, as regional history says, the very name of that Algarve city originated.

O Sul Informação has taken care of the case and is yet another example of the sad fate of temporary ponds, as has been the case for years with the temporary ponds of the Natural Park of Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina (Natural Park? – don’t insult the natural parks anymore…).

There is an extensive bibliography on these occurrences, so this is not the place to give news about temporary ponds, so characteristic of the Mediterranean basin, only to reinforce that they are habitats of the utmost importance in the context of biodiversity - so threatened that it is all over the world and particularly in this region. region to which our Mediterranean condition connects us.

Being areas that annually alternate a period of flooding and another of drought, they have a flora and fauna adapted to these conditions, which is why they are, as a rule, made up of vulnerable species and some even threatened.

The fauna, including reptiles, amphibians and birds, includes notable species such as a tortoise, some vulnerable insects such as dragonflies and, among birds, the black ibis.

The history of this wetland reveals how local and regional powers, following national incompetence, have been inept or, more explicitly, blamed for this environmental crime, at a time when we hear so much official rhetoric about the great successes of environmental policy.

The lack of environmental education, so neglected in our country over time, is also revealed here, which makes us find politicians and decision-makers today, if not denialists, at least not very receptive to the Portuguese and world environmental situation.

The chaos of the Protected Areas themselves and their lack of efficient organization can be seen throughout the country, although, for those responsible, they have never been better.

It is not for lack of competence and dedication of many technicians who give their best to the cause of Nature Conservation (NC) – it is for lack of superior guidelines and the widespread abandonment of this policy in a Ministry of the Environment disfigured in its role as a promoter of Quality of Life, where with the CN, along with Territory Planning, it was possible, when “before everything was wrong”, to create the fundamental legislation for the defense and construction of the Environment and which endured decades until the now enlightened ones acceded to Power.

The already long-standing lack of a conservationist strategy by the Autarchy contributes to the debacle of Alagoas Brancas, but also the absence of superior vigilance and promotion of legislation that is the responsibility of the regional bodies that are the ICN(F) and the CCDR.

If the politicians fail, let the citizens take action and force a fair policy that escapes us; we cannot stop being deeply critical and we will end up concluding that it is hard to accept, but it is the country we have…


Author Fernando Santos Pessoa is a landscape architect and forestry engineer. He was a founder of the National Park Service… and he writes with the spelling he learned in school