The government assures that “the money will not fail” to recover Mata de Leiria – Region of Leiria

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The government has assured that “there will be no shortage of money” to recover the Leiria National Forest, including 8.4 million euros by 2024, indicating that after the natural regeneration of the area burnt, the forest management plan will be drawn up.

“The last germination season we have to wait for is April of next year, from there there is no more excuse for the government, nor anyone else, not to plan to management or knowing where there is natural regeneration or where there is no natural regeneration and where should you plant, ”said the Secretary of State for Nature Conservation, Forests and Land Management. territory.

João Paulo Catarino spoke yesterday, Tuesday, during a hearing at the Agriculture and Sea Committee of the Assembly of the Republic, requested by the BE parliamentary group, on the recovery of burnt coastal forests, which took place with the president of the Institute for Conservation of Nature and Forestry (ICNF), Nuno Banza.

“The ICNF, between 2019 and 2022, already has projects underway to intervene on more than 3300 hectares, which corresponds to an investment of more than 4.3 million euros,” said the Secretary of State for Forests, evoking the recovery of the Leiria national forest.

In addition to this amount, “between 2021 and 2024, the ICNF is finalizing intervention projects on an area of ​​more than 6,000 hectares, with an investment estimated at 4.1 million euros”, specified the head of the government, representing 8.4 million euros. euros until 2024.

Leiria National Forest, also known as Pinhal de Leiria or Pinhal do Rei, is state owned, covers 11,062 hectares and occupies two thirds of the municipality of Marinha Grande and the main species is maritime pine . During the fires of October 2017, it burned 86% of its area.

“Money will not be lacking for Pinhal de Leiria, there is this commitment from the government, there is this political will”, assured João Paulo Catarino, assuming that there was “deficient communication” of what is done, but reinforcing that the idea is to make this case an example: “If we always say we can’t do it on private land, in the public we have no justification for not doing it. make”.

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“I understand the people there – their whole life spent there and saw the beautiful pine forest – it’s a huge frustration, but they won’t see it again, unfortunately, for them and for the country, in 80 years. , if we don’t do anything wrong. from here to then, ”the government official said.

Asked about the management of the Leiria national forest, the Secretary of State guaranteed that “the government does not intend to change the management model”, referring that it remains in charge of the ICNF, with adequate reinforcement of resources.

Regarding the removal of burnt wood, João Paulo Catarino said that “the area demarcated for the cutting of burnt wood and the respective sale totals 5,352 hectares, with 5,285 hectares of the total area estimated to date, or 99% of the total area. forecast ”, whose total sold was around 16 million euros, a revenue that was sent to the general state budget.

Despite the revenues allocated to the management of the Leiria national forest, the minister revealed that “16 million euros will not arrive for the interventions” that must be made.

Regarding the creation of the Museu da Floresta, in Marinha Grande, Leiria district, the Secretary of State explained that the ICNF can collaborate in everything, including renouncing the space and paying part of the investment financially. , but it must be the city council or the entities. leaders to lead this process.

ICNF President Nuno Banza provided an update on the three years following the October 2017 fire in the Leiria National Forest, warning that the time elapsed was too short, but highlighting the work of the institute to recover the area. and the effort to constantly recruit new professionals.

“Not being naturally satisfied with the end result, because objectively we would not be able to replace what is lost in this period, it is also true that we have actively worked to make this happen,” said Nuno Banza , adding that “much is being done”, of which “99% of the area of ​​burnt wood is currently removed”.

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