Wetlands restoration in Portugal

Wetlands are very important for climate change mitigation, biodiversity as well as provide many other benefits. Wetlands restoration plays an important role in their preservation. Below you will find some experience from Portugal, discovered by ALFAwetlands experts.

Wetlands restoration in Portugal is an important conservation initiative aiming at preserving and enhancing these valuable ecosystems. Wetlands play a crucial role in maintaining biodiversity, mitigating climate change, and providing numerous ecological services. 

Over the years, Portugal has recognized the significance of wetlands and has undertaken efforts to restore and protect them.

Wetlands in Portugal

Wetlands in Portugal offer a rich and diverse ecosystems that play a crucial role in maintaining the country’s environmental balance. These wetland areas provide essential habitats for a wide variety of plant and animal species, some of which are endangered or rare. 

Recognizing the importance of wetlands, Portugal has implemented conservation efforts and designated several protected areas to preserve these invaluable ecosystems. However, ongoing challenges such as urbanization, pollution, and climate change pose threats to wetland conservation. These threats are emphasizing the need for continued sustainable management and restoration practices to ensure the long-term preservation of these unique habitats.

Importance of Wetlands in Portugal

Approximately 2.5% of Portugal’s land area consists of wetlands. These wetlands are spread throughout the country and include coastal lagoons, estuaries, marshes, and rivers. They are contributing to Portugal’s rich biodiversity and environmental balance.

Wetlands in Portugal play a vital role in the country’s ecological health and provide numerous benefits to both the environment and society. These wetlands, hold immense importance for several reasons.

Firstly, wetlands serve as crucial habitats for a diverse range of plant and animal species. They provide nesting, breeding, and feeding grounds for numerous migratory and resident birds, amphibians, fish, and other wildlife. These habitats support biodiversity and contribute to the overall ecological balance.

Secondly, wetlands act as natural filters, purifying water by trapping sediments and removing pollutants. They play a critical role in water quality improvement, helping to maintain the health of rivers, lakes, and coastal areas. Additionally, wetlands help to control flooding by absorbing excess water during periods of heavy rainfall, reducing the risk of damage to surrounding areas.

Furthermore, wetlands act as carbon sinks, absorbing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This helps to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to the country’s carbon sequestration efforts.

Portuguese wetlands protection

Wetlands significance is well recognized in Portugal. They are protected and restored in Portugal through various initiatives and designated conservation policy. 

The preservation of wetland ecosystems is essential for maintaining biodiversity in Portugal. Further on they ensuring clean water resources, mitigating climate change, and providing recreational and educational opportunities for communities. 

It is crucial to continue prioritizing the conservation and sustainable management of wetlands to safeguard their invaluable contributions to Portugal’s natural heritage.

The most important wetlands restoration projects in Portugal

One of the most important wetland areas in Portugal is the Ria Formosa Natural Park located in the Algarve region. It encompasses a vast coastal lagoon system and is well known for its rich biodiversity. It is serving as a critical habitat for numerous bird species, including flamingos and spoonbills.

Another significant wetland is the Tagus Estuary, situated near Lisbon. This estuary is a vital stopover for migratory birds, offering them essential feeding and resting grounds during their long journeys.

Additionally, the Sado Estuary, located in the Setúbal district, holds great ecological importance. It supports a wide variety of bird species and is a designated protected area due to its ecological significance.


Wetlands in Portugal, are crucial for maintaining number of ecological benefits. Efforts to conserve and protect these important wetland areas are essential to ensure their long-term ecological and socio-economic benefits.

Wetlands restoration projects in Portugal demonstrate the country’s commitment to conserving its natural heritage and promoting environmental sustainability. 

Viera Vydarena
Wilderness Volunteer

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