The Scaling up Rewilding in Western Iberia project is being led by Rewilding Europe and focuses on the Greater Côa Valley. Partners will work to reinforce a 120.000-hectare wildlife corridor that will improve connectivity in the landscape between the Malcata mountain range and the Douro Valley.
Humans and wildlife have coexisted in the Côa Valley since the Paleolithic. This Valley is a natural corridor for wildlife but its functionality has decreased due to habitat degradation, loss of habitat, wildlife persecution and a lack of awareness towards the importance of natural heritage and the services that functional ecosystems bring to communities.
In the last decades, rural abandonment has brought an opportunity for this area to become a rewilded landscape.
The Endangered Landscapes Programme
The Endangered Landscapes Programme (ELP) is a progressive initiative which envisions a future where Europe’s landscapes are enriched with biodiversity, establishing resilient, more self-sustaining ecosystems that benefit both nature and people.
The ELP is not about recreating the past and taking things back to a time before human influence, but aims to restore processes, populations and habitats for a better and more sustainable future. It signals a shift away from “slowing declines” and “no net loss” to a more positive and creative agenda in which the potential of our land and seas is recognised.
A grant from the Endangered Landscapes Programme will enable the development of a 120,000-hectare wildlife corridor in the Greater Côa Valley in northern Portugal. By scaling up current rewilding efforts, this will transform a region with high levels of rural depopulation and species loss into one with new opportunities for both wild nature and people.
The main aim of this project is to develop a coherent ecosystem and strengthen the wildlife corridor of the Côa Valley (120.000 hectares). In addition, the project aims to build a nature and culture-based economy to create communal support for a wilder environment in which natural processes and key wildlife shape the landscape. More specifically, the project aims to:
- Increase the area of land under restoration in order to increase connectivity in the Côa Valley;
- Bring back wildlife, and improve the status of prey base for Iberian lynx, wolf, Bonelli´s eagle, Spanish imperial eagle and black vulture;
- Reduce the main threats to habitats and species (poaching, poisoning and fire), wolf-husbandry conflict and the use of toxic ammunition;
- Create a scalable nature-based economy that improves the socio-economic situation of local communities;
- Increase awareness about nature conservation, and create pride towards Rewilded Landscapes at local and national level.
The project area encompasses the Greater Côa Valley region, from the Douro river in the north to the Malcata Mountains in the south. Along the Côa River, five core areas have been identified which may function as habitat stepping stones to improve the connectivity of the area.
These core areas are the Faia Brava reserve, the only private protected area in Portugal, Marofa, Ribeira das Cabras, Middle Côa and Jardo.
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About the Endangered Landscapes Programme (ELP)
To find out more about the project or for any queries, please email email@example.com