Nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation
Portugal is one of Europe’s most vulnerable Countries to climate change. Within it, the Alentejo is one of the most affected regions. The Alentejo's vulnerability to climate change is related to projected increases in temperature and decreases in precipitation, in a region already exposed to extreme climatic conditions. Additionally, the region has a low level of socio-economic development undermining the ability of local communities to adapt to current climate changes.
Of worry are the increased magnitude, frequency, and duration of projected summer heat waves. Exposure to heat waves can lead to dehydration, aggravation of chronic diseases, exhaustion or heat strokes, which can result in irreversible damage to health including loss of life. In particular, urban areas (characterized by the predominance of inert surfaces over green areas) are particularly prone to risks arising from heat waves owing to the "heat island".
Drawing on the concept of nature-based solutions to climate change adaptation, the project “Além Risco”, funded though the EEA Grants programme, will mobilize local communities, such as municipalities and schools, towards addressing the risks of heat waves on public health. This will be done through plantation of up to 50,000 trees in urban settings across the Central Alentejo Region.
Plantations will use a carefully selected variety of tree species adapted to the current and future climate of the region and be supported by landscape plans specifically designed to the locations where planting takes place. A priori agreements will be made with local communities for post-plantation maintenance of the created green spaces.