Forestry in Portugal
Recent researches have revealed that an estimated percentage of about 38% of the total land area of Portugal is occupied by forests and in fact it is to be noted that the forests occupy even larger area than the amount of land surface dedicated in Portugal to agriculture and farming. In Portugal, the major share of the forest area is covered by the wild pines accounting to about 31% of the total forest area, followed by cork oak trees occupying about 23% of area i.e. 713,000 hectares while eucalyptus occupies around 21% of the forest area. At present the forest products comprise of the major export products in Portugal and they are slowly emerging to be one of the foremost contributors to the soaring Portuguese economy adding on to the Gross National Product of the nation. Some of the most important resources obtained form the forests of Portugal include paper pulp and paperboard, wood pulp, corks and over the years with the progress of time, increased production has led to the formation of various industries dedicated to the seasoning of these products to make them suitable for export in foreign markets. If export statistics are taken into account, it is to be found that in the year 2000, a total growth percentage of 25% could be noted with respect to the exports than in 1999 and since then the figures are steadily increasing.
Over the years, two major problems have plagued forestry and forest resources in Portugal. First and foremost are the wildfires which are extremely common in Portugal. Despite its prevalence adequate measures are not taken and as a result it causes widespread devastation and havoc. Another significant problem is that with increased urbanization, deforestation is on the rise resulting in decrease in forest area which can adversely affect production of forest resources and economy. However, in recent times, researchers are engaged in adopting safety measures to prevent and control wildfires and aforestation is being practiced.