EDP initiatives


Aligned with its Biodiversity Policy, EDP has been promoting a wide range of iniatives in order to reduce losses of biodiversity.

 

In 2011, EDP, in partnership with CIBIO, started devoloping a project for the reintroduction of the Osprey in Portugal. During five years, ten Opsrey juveniles will be transfered to the country each year. The aim is to recover the reproductive population of this species, which stopped nesting in Portugal in the beginning of the 21st century.

The first ten juveniles (five from Sweden, five from Finland) were transfered to Portugal in July, 2011. They inhabited a natural space by the reservoir of the Alqueva dam, for their habituation process, development of flight training and the ability to fish. The birds started migrating to Africa on mid-September, from where they're expected to return after two to three years, when sexually mature. This would mean the recognizing of the Alqueva region as their place of origin.

 

In July, 2012, the Alqueva received a new group of Osprey juveniles (11, this year). Like in the previous year, these birds will be gradually released and will have their development followed by technicians until the moment of the migration, in mid-september.

 

Portugal preserves a very favourable habitat for this species, including not only the rocky coast which served as its last nesting site, but also estuarine wetlands and reservoir dams. The reintroduction of the Osprey in these areas is possible, but the collection of juveniles from populations where there's no extinction danger is mandatory. Through the establishment of an early breeding stock at the Alqueva, the gradual recolonization of these species' natural nesting sites, like Alentejo's rocky coast, will be possible. This project involves juvenile birds instead of adults in order to facilitate their habituation to the realeasing site.

 

This project is being developed in partnership with EDIA, SAIP, TAP and ICNF, in collaboration with investigators from Spain, where a similar project is being developed with great succes since 2003.

 

  Through this Fund, EDP's goal is to contribute to the enhancement of scientific knowledge regarding different biodiversity aspects, conservation optimization and the improvement of ecosystems' dynamics. EDP seeks to act with greater focus on domains regarding the development of its activities, favoring regions where the company operates.  Promoting the dialogue and the sharing of knowledge is also one of this Fund's goals, in addition to collaborative efforts between different institutions.
 
  Since 2007, EDP's Biodiversity Fund has supported more than ten different projects, which translates in almost 2,5 million euros of financial support, including:

 > "Movimentos Locais e Regionais do Sisão":
- Drafting of a risk evaluation charter regarding collision with aerial power lines for the Little Bustard, in Lower Alentejo;

 > "BrioAtlas – Portugal":
- Elaboration of a Red Book of Bryophites in Portugal, identifying prioritary areas for its conservation;

> "Plano Nacional de Conservação da Lampreia-de-rio e da Lampreia-de-riacho":
-
Elaboration of a National Conservation Program for these two river lamprey species, defining the criteria for action and classification of prioritary waterlines; 

> "Reserva da Faia Brava – um lugar para a Biodiversidade":
- Promotion of nature conservation aiming at the sustainable management of a natural private reserve, engaging local ONG and the local community as well;

> "Investigação, Conservação e Divulgação da Biodiversidade dos Charcos Temporários (CHARCOScomBIO)":
- Development of a network of microreserves and a national education program for temporary ponds;

> "Conservação e Valorização da Flora Endémica Ameaçada em Portugal":
- Conservation of rare and endangered plant species in Portugal, and its use for medical applications;

> "Atlas das Aves Invernantes e Migradoras de Portugal":
- Promotion of knowledge regarding distribution and abundance of bird species during both their post-nuptial migration and winter migration periods, in Portugal;

> "Caracterização do património genético das árvores ribeirinhas autóctones":
- Promotion of knowledge at the genetic biodiversity level of native riverside tree species, contributing for the success of conservation measures in these habitats;

> "Findkelp – as florestas do fundo do mar":
- Promotion of knowledge of kelp (giant seaweeds) species, and those dependent on them. This is to be achieved through scientific dissemination and drafting of management guidelines supported by tools of public participation.

> "Cultibos Yerbas i Saberes: Biodiversidade, Sustentabilidade e Dinâmica em Tierras de Miranda":
- Conservation of the ethnobotanic patrimony, engaging local communities in management actions and biodiversity conservation measures.

 

 An Environmental Impact Assessment is applied by EDP to its new projects. This procedure identifies and approves necessary measures to minimise environmental impacts, but also to implement compensatory measures, if applicable.

The calendarization of these procedures is defined according to the construction works of the hidroelectric facilities. Information about the implementation of this measures will be given as they're executed on site.

 

Learn Biodiversity project is a Dialogue Program about biodiversity aimed at local communities where EDP operates.


The project has two main approaches:


> Theoretical - The Importance of Biodiversity lies on three pillars: Man as a bio-dependent being; Causes for the loss of biodiversity; and What can we do for biodiversity.



> Practical - embodies various actions aiming to prevent the loss of biodiversity.


It is under this practical approach that the initiative Collect, Germinate, Plant emerges. This action seeks to involve the school community. Students will actively participate in the entire growth cycle of plants, from the collection of seeds to the germination inside EDP greenhouses, and replantation in those plants' natural habitat.

 In 2009, EDP became partners with the Nature Protection League in project "LIFE Steppe birds - conservation of the Great Bustard, Little Bustard and Lesser Kestrel at the cereal steppes of Lower Alentejo". This project was designed to promote on site conservation for these three endangered steppe birds: the Great Bustard (Otis tarda), the Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax) and the Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni). These species, whose conservation is critical, are menaced by the loss and fragmentation of their natural habitat.

The collision with power lines and fences, and the electrocution on supports from power pylons are also responsible for disturbances which urges to minimise.


Participation in this project allows EDP to better understand ecosystem dynamics in this region, protect power lines that cross ecologically sensitive areas and integrate gathered results in future projects in the country. There are foreseen corrections, with the best technology available, in 40 km of power lines, from which six kilometers are already being developed. Subsequent monitoring will allow the evaluation of these interventions.


The project, with a four-year duration, is expected to be concluded in 2012, and is co-financed in 75% by "LIFE Program - Nature", from the European Comission.


For additional information please visit www.lifeesteparias.lpn.pt

 

Since 2009, EDP supports the "EDP - Biodiversity" Chair at Oporto's Univeristy, with the aim to attract to Portugal foreign specialists in the fields of Biodiversity and Nature Conservation.

In 2010, the candidate's selection proceedure, run by an internation, independent jury, was concluded. In 2011, the projects to be developed and fields of work with mutual relevance for both EDP a Oporto's University were fully determined.

 This cooperation protocol between EDP, ICNF (Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests), SPEA (Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds) and Quercus aims to improve compability between high- and medium-voltage aerial power lines and birds' conservation in Portugal, minimising impacts on wild birds. Current actions and goals are as follows:

> Global characterization of impacts of high- and medium-voltage aerial power lines on wild birds;


> Identification and classification of power lines and its pylons according to an index of "hazardousness" for wild birds, especially in Special Protection Zones and Important Bird Areas (IBA);


> Gradual introduction of correction measures to be determined on existent lines that may have impacts on wild birds, according to gathered results;


> Establishment of a set of technical solutions to be installed in future power lines, in order to prevent ou reduce its impacts on wild birds;


> Monitoring of implemented measures regarding the present Protocol and past corrections made.


Birdlife Protocols I (2003-2005) and II (2006-2008) corrected 86km and 40 km of aerial high- and medium-voltage power lines, respectively, considered dangerous due to their route accross sensitive birdlife areas. Bird Life Protocol III made possible correction in 240km os aerial power lines.
 
Birdlife Protocols II (2006-2008) and III (2009-2011)  developed an array of technical solutions capable of minimizing bird mortality, both by collision and electrocution.
 
The experience gained through the application of innovative materials and techniques allowed EDP Distribution to develop a Technical Guide with corrective solutions to be applied in the future. A Manual of Procedures for the removal and transference of white stork nests found in electric pylons has also been devised.

Check the ICNF/EDP Protocol and related Studies.


Some recommendations regarding the construction of new aerial power lines in areas with nature protection status can be found here.

 

The United Nations have declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity.


Besides the need for international efforts to stop the loss of biodiversity, this ephemeris underlines the environment's vital importance for human well-being and survival. The UN estimates that the pace of extinctions has been alarming: a thousand times more than what is considered natural. "This loss is due to human activites, and it is said to be aggravated by climatic changes.", stressed Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the UN.


Conscious of the vital importance of this subject, EDP regards Biodiversity as one of its management's strategic pillars, thus adopting a pro-active behaviour. EDP supports a wide range of initiatives nationwide, and promotes awareness and training for its own employess.

 With the European aim of slowing down the rates of biodiversity loss by 2010 in mind, EDP signed a memorandum of understanding with the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF) to establish a long-term partnership through which initiatives to promote and conserve biodiversity will be developed, along two distinct lines:

1. Long-term initiatives, with preference given to studies that assess the impact of climate change on biodiversity, from both a purely ecological and an economic perspective, to support future proposals for biodiversity interventions with an improved cost/benefit ratio;

For further details, see:

> Impact of climate change on mainland Portugal 


2.
Short/medium-term initiatives to recover or improve the current condition of ecosystems on the one hand, and to assess the causes and consequences of human intervention on the continued loss of biodiversity on the other.

For further details, see:

Plan to improve the conservation state of migratory fish and their habitats at the lower end of the Cavado River;

Emergency recovery plan for three species of rock-dwelling birds in the Douro International Nature Park.

  EDP currently has a cooperation agreement for a study of the impact of climate change on biodiversity in mainland Portugal to be conducted by the end of 2009. This agreement was signed with Instituto de Conservação da Natureza e Florestas (Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests), CECAC - Comité Executivo da Comissão para as Alterações Climáticas (Executive Committee of the Climate Change Commission) and Dr Miguel Bastos Araújo, chief investigator of Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Scientific Research Council) in Spain and associate investigator of the Oxford University Centre for the Environment.
 
The aim of this study is to assess the impacts, vulnerability and adaptability to climate change of a number of fauna species in mainland Portugal, selected on the basis of their threat and/or protection status and their essential role in the preservation of biodiversity. The study will identify, analyse and assess actions to be taken to minimise the impacts of climate change.

  With the aim of reversing the decline of three species of rock-dwelling birds - the black stork (Ciconianigra), the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) and Bonelli's eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus) - this plan is set to run for 2 years at a total cost of around €360,000.

This project began in September 2007 and involves several NGOs and local associations with vast field experience, and the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF), which is responsible for the scientific coordination of the project.

EDP has numerous facilities in the Douro International Nature Park (PNDI) and the risks of these species' extinction in the Trás-os-Montes region acted as an incentive to sponsor this project.

The plan involves 16 actions with a view to:

> Improving the condition of the birds' feeding habitats;

> Increasing the breeding of these three species;

> Reducing mortality factors;

> Increasing scientific knowledge;

> Improving the image of the species in eyes of local residents.

 

Concluded by the end of 2009, this plan benefited a wide range of species and habitats. Besides its recovery and conservation measures, the plan has also promoted good relations with local entities such as hunting associations. This may contribute for the future success of the applied measures of conservation.