Progress assessment on selected topics
Large developments, particularly related with transport and energy production are severely affecting several Natura 2000 sites. Examples are the unique Sabor river SPA destroyed by a large dam, the soaring bird migratory bottleneck in Sagres (SPA) severely affected by several wind farms and the 900ha Torre da Bolsa SPA under threat if high-speed railway development goes on. Strategic Environmental Assessments were left undone or were done partially for high-speed railway development, wind farm development and many other strategic sectors. Impact assessments studies are being approved with very weak mitigation and compensation measures. The European Commission and the Portuguese Government are not doing enough to tackle the very serious problems.
Important dry grassland sites are being degraded by farming intensification due to lack of government intervention and lack of alternative solutions for farmers. Intensive irrigated crops, such as intensive olive groves, are systematically replacing dry grassland habitats in several SPAs (Campo Maior, Torre da Bolsa, São Vicente, Veiros, Monforte, Reguengos, Mourão/Moura/Barrancos), due to deficient law enforcement and to lack of properly designed agri-environmental measures.
NGOs and LIFE projects are responsible for the major successes of endangered species recovery in Portugal. LIFE projects with NGOs as leaders or partners were the main drivers for recent improving of the status of threatened species, such as the Great bustard, the Lesser kestrel or the Azores bullfinch.