There are high levels of land abandonment in the project area, which have negative impacts on local communities and local economies. To revitalize some areas, the project will focus on supporting local products and businesses through several dedicated actions.
Business opportunity identification and planning
Business opportunities will be identified in the project area related to production of local agricultural products, tourism and others. These business opportunities should support wildlife conservation objectives and be commercially sustainable.
The business identification process will involve assessing the business prospects in the relevant focus areas south of the Douro river. The most promising businesses will be selected for business plan development support.
This will include technical support in writing business plans, Rewilding Europe Capital loans for expansion of operations, and support on marketing and sales. The ultimate goal is to promote nature-based enterprises creating a more sustainable economy and increasing employment, skills and income for local communities.
Promoting local products resulting from activities that support wolf conservation
Working with businesses and communities producing natural products and using techniques that complement the objectives of rewilding without harming nature or wildlife can generate multiple benefits. Our focus will therefore be to establish a natural food brand/certification to support producers in generating additional sales, creating awareness and building a regional provenance for natural products in the long term.
Livestock owners and farmers directly involved in the implementation of wolf conservation actions will benefit from the creation of this brand which will accredit their products as supporting wolf coexistence and conservation. By identifying products as supporting wolf conservation, value is being created, implying additional income for farmers and partners that decide to get involved with the project.
Promoting a responsible wolf related tourism in the project area
Tourism is flourishing in Portugal and special care and attention is required in wild mammal-watching. Some mammals required special conservation measures and cannot be disturbed, such as the Iberian wolf. The manual and the guidebook will provide the guidelines for a sustainable and ethical tourism, for people and wild mammals alike.
Specialized training courses will be provided to aspirant local guides in wolf-watching and tourism experience delivery. This will involve comprehensive courses offered with emphasis on preparing the local guides to work with both domestic and international visitors. A best practice digital manual for wild mammal’s touristic watching will be produced. A specialized guidebook on wolf tourism will also be developed.