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Cuidar Braga
City/Region : Braga , Portugal

The “Cuidar Braga” project defines a strategy for the Municipality of Braga to encourage the valorisation of agricultural and forestry (biomass) in replacement of its burning. The project resulted in a 40% reduction in burning in 9 rural parishes, expanded to 37 parishes in the municipality.

For this, biocrushers were made available to the population for crushing the vegetable matter resulting from the cleaning of the land.

The success of this project rests on two pillars, first being a free service, and secondly being accompanied by awareness campaigns that had an impact on civil society, with clear benefits for environment.

 

Agendas addressed
DecarbonisationBiodiversityWater resources and air quality
Climate change
Pathways followed
  • Ensure equal access to municipal services
  • Involve citizens through participatory implementation
  • Pursue a shift towards a circular economy
Context

The ACTION PROGRAM FOR ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE (P3AC), complements and systematizes the work carried out in the context of the NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE (ENAAC 2020), aiming especially at the IMPLEMENTATION OF MEASURES OF ADAPTATION (OBJECTIVE II), highlights the PREVENTION OF RURAL FIRE (e.g. economic valuation of biomass and Municipal Plan for the Defence of Forest against Fire) among the main impacts and vulnerabilities of our territory to climate change, which, due to its current expression and future worsening trends, is considered to be subject to priority action. In the context explained above, the Municipality of Braga identified an opportunity to develop and complement the Caring Braga project, which dynamisms a network of parishes around the valorisation of agricultural and forestry biomass, discouraging fires.

In Action

On top of that, about 98% of rural fires in Portugal have a human cause, as the use of fire is associated with various agricultural and forestry practices and, often, these practices give rise to large fires. According to data from the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests, about 31% of rural fires start with small burning of biomass resulting from clearing forests.

This situation encouraged the Municipality to create a pioneering measure throughout the country, to reduce fires and, at the same time, implement an environmental measure to clearly bring benefits to the population.

The Caring Braga project aims to implement three adaptation options for the municipality's EMAAC, through the installation and dynamization of a community Biogrinding Center. To implement the proposal, two technical activities were designed, which integrate the acquisition of partners, namely local authorities (eg, parish councils) and forest managers, who benefit from the mobile fraction of the equipment to crush biomass in loco and streamline the action , and the infrastructure of the Biogrinding Center for admission, processing (crushing) and forwarding of green/forest biomass delivered by citizens and partners. In order to value the by-product, which is intended to be distributed free of charge among biomass contributors, promoting a circular economy, the municipality will use the municipal company BRAVAL - Solid Waste Recovery and Treatment.

In all places where the service was provided, the biomass was transformed into chip of wood, used as mulching or fertilizer, improving the natural fertility of the soil, also improving water quality, as the application of this resource is also important for retaining more moisture close to the soil, reducing the need for irrigation.

This project, in addition to being disseminated to local partners, is also promoted through environmental awareness campaigns in local media, on social networks

Any request reaches the Civil Protection services of the Municipality through an official request. The technicians assess the volume of forest residues (biomass), as well as access to the site, and schedule the service. It is completely free to borrow machinery and specialized labor.

An internal control form is created, where all services are documented, added to all hours of work, calculations of the volume of produced biomass and mathematical formulas for the calculation of CO2 emissions are inserted.

Institutional video of the projet in facebook of the municipality:

https://es-es.facebook.com/municipiodebraga/videos/cuidar-braga/194274261661071/

Is also avaiable on youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHgbkbgg2xg

 

Results

This action aims to reduce forest fires through the elimination of agricultural and forestry waste with specific machinery (without fire), reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air and water quality, biodiversity, fertility protecting the landscape, reducing soil erosion and preserving the health of our ecosystems.

During 2020 until March 2021, 53 biomass crushing services were carried out (with 2 pieces of equipment) 177 hours of work, 106.20 tons produced from forest and agricultural residues were destined for organic fertilization, avoiding the emission of 167.80 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere.

The Municipality achieved excellent results. It is currently preparing a second phase of this project to continue with the free service. Local partners, farmers and forestry producers have joined this project and are very satisfied that they have no costs, do not need to use fire, understand the environmental benefits and produce an organic fertilizer for the fields.

Impact

 Environmental - preserve the biodiversity, improve the quality of air, water and land based on ecosystems that provide natural resources and natural services, preserve the energy flow through the incorporation of an organic fertilizer produced from forest/agricultural biomass (waste), avoiding the emission of greenhouse gases, reducing heat waves, improving biodiversity and local ecosystems.

Social - On the other hand, the municipality sets a good example for the population in general and increases environmental awareness. It is very important to make society responsible so that it becomes an active part of this gigantic challenge to reduce climate change. It encourages landowners and residents to preserve the landscape and indirectly also supports nature tourism. On the other hand, the health of the owners is preserved, mostly elderly people, who are more susceptible to inhaling gases and find it more difficult to move around, making it difficult to escape in the event of a fire.

Economic - this service from the municipality of Braga helps local farmers, as they have no expenses with the transformation of biomass and protect the environment more and increase their quality of life.

Challenges and lessons learned

As an effective member of the Network of Municipalities for Local Adaptation to Climate Change, the Municipality is committed to initiating in Portugal a continuous process of elaborating Municipal Climate Change Adaptation Strategies, increasing the capacity of Portuguese municipalities and other public entities or private, in incorporating adaptation to climate change in their action policies, in their planning instruments and in their interventions. A fact that will escalate the impact of the Caring Braga project and its results, whenever it promotes the exchange of knowledge and experiences at the level of local adaptation between local authorities.

newspaper news
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biocrusher in action
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Contact

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
European Secretariat

Leopoldring 3
79098 Freiburg
Germany

Tel.: +49 (0) 761 – 368 92 0
Fax: +49 (0) 761 – 368 92 19

E-mail: info@sustainablecities.eu
Website: www.sustainablecities.eu

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