Portuguese forest overhaul looks to douse annual wildfires
Mar. 21, 2017
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal's government has adopted a long-term plan to improve forest management and help prevent wildfires that scorch thousands of hectares (acres) every summer.
The Cabinet announced a raft of measures after a special meeting Tuesday, including restrictions on eucalyptus, the country's most common and most profitable species — but one that's often blamed for stoking blazes.
The government also plans to hire more firefighters and provide them with better equipment. Meanwhile, a simplified and cheaper program of property registration will seek to ascertain which land has no owner and is being neglected.
Statistics show that 35 percent of Portugal is covered by woodland, slightly above the 28-nation European Union average of 31 percent.
The forest industry, especially the production of paper pulp, accounts for around 3 percent of GDP.