Rewilding abandoned and degraded agricultural lands into rich wildlife areas
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
I am 18 years old or older.
Initiative's representative name
Pedro Filipe Amaral Prata
Initiative's representative date of birth
8th of January 1982
Initiative's representative gender
Headquarters location: country
Headquarters location: city
Guarda, Côa Valley
Where are you making a difference?
Website or social media url(s)
Start-up (first few activities have happened)
Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?
1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.
Land abandonment across Europe has been considered a problem, but at closer look it can be regarded as a successful opportunity to bring positive change to remote rural areas, where alternative economic models that respect nature and people alike are desperately needed, this is Rewilding Portugal's vision.
More and more natural agricultural areas are being abandoned across northern Portugal this has led to a increase in wildfires and rural depopulation but instead of seeing this as a problem rewilding portugal saw a opportunity to restore local ecosystems and to kick start a nature based economy.
2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
The problem faced in the context of the ecological restoration work we do at landscape level are the human cause harm to natural, habitats, such as fire, poaching and persecution and disruption of climate cycles. To each at different extents, affect and can be minimised or solved by rewilding large landscapes as in the Coa Valley.
3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
With a strategy to foster the diversity and abundance of wildlife and natural habitats in the greater Coa valley ecological corridor, by creating, by purchase of land, stepping stone of promoted habitat restoration dn species enhancement. This are promoted to disperse and spill over a greater and wilder landscpe, helping shaping natural dynamics and processes while contributing to sink more carbon. Involving local communities to support and benefit from this landscape restoration project making then feel pride about the place they live is key for the success of the vision, and for the reason a greater part of the projects deal with social component.
We buy land to start a network of core protected areas where forest and biodiverse pastures can return. Other actions include reintroduction of regionally extinct species and support to local businesses.
4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?
Rewilding is the conservation strategy for the XXI century. Nature deserves a change to bloom in Europe. To allow nature to take care of itself, enabling natural processes to shape land, repair damaged ecosystems and restore degraded landscapes, isa rather inexpensive, available, sound and ready approach that can benefit and solve partial problems of societies live today.
5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?
RP wants to create in the Côa Valley a place where different conservation initiatives can be implemented from planting threaten plants to reintroduced long disappeared species to new wildlife businesses to river restorarion initiatives like dam removal.
RP is leader of two projects that count as partners that already work on the ground with, nature conservation NGO's, the university of Aveiro, local government, police forces GNR, Farmer's unions amongst others, to achieve the missionn of the organisation which is to promote wilder landscapes.
6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?
Rewilding Portugal is on the last steps of creating a local businesses network the initial partners will be around 20 from accommodation from restaurants to wildlife businesses. This network will be beneficial for businesses because they will receive marketing and financial support and will have acess to opportunities with other member partners.
We plan to create a 120 000 hectare wildlife corridor along a river cannon. We plan to measure progress in two ways. First, by the amount of hectares restored and by the number of species in the project area. Second, by the amount of business in our network and their diversity plus the number of new ones developed as partners of our rewilding strategy.
7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?
Geographical Spread north to the Douro river and south to the malcata mountain range to west to the estrela mountain and to the east to the Spanish border and águeda river. Reintroduction of key species being it ibex, red deer or iberian lynx will increase the local pride and businesses opportunities.
8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?
Rewilding Portugal supports businesses that have a direct incentive to preserve and restore nature being it local accommodation or wildlife observation businesses. More and better preserved wild areas will attract more tourists and that will mean more clients for the businesses in the area.
9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?
On the short term we have currently two projects currently being implemented with funding from a Life project and from a philanthropic source. On the medium term we want upgrade the current ones to include a bigger area and more bold measures and on the long term we want to be finance by a combination of citizens initiatives, government funds, green bonds and nature offsets (a combination of both carbon and biodiversity ones).
10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?
Rewilding Portugal currently has 7 members.
4 in full time: team leader, project manager and 2 biologists. And 3 in part time: 1 communication, 1 enterprise officer and 1 finance officer.
As our operations grow we want to expand our team to include more biologists, and to pass current part time to full time positions such as the case with the communication and enterprise roles.
11. How did you hear about this challenge?