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How to protect them?

Portugal has a long history of preserving large trees, however much remains to be done on this topic.

Here we highlight what we know exists on a national scale, and what we can start to do to bring the protection of the grove to a scale never seen before. We highlight here the three main ways of protecting large trees in Portugal:

  1. Protection of holm oak and cork oak

  2. Public Interest Grove

  3. Local-scale protection

Âncora 1

Protection of holm oak and cork oak

Law No. 155/2004 - Establishes protection measures for the cork oak and holm oak .

This law is mainly focused on the protection of these two trees due to the economic value they represent, the cork oaks and the acorns of the holm oak.


Despite being two species protected at national level, they are not distributed throughout the territory.

These data were made available by the Flora-On Project

A.Carapeto, PVAraújo, F.Clamote, M.Porto, S.Malveiro, J.Lourenço, EPPereira, DTHolyoak, et al. (2019). Quercus suber L. - distribution map. Flora-On: Flora de Portugal Interactiva, Portuguese Botanical Society. Consultation held on 10/15/2019

Âncora 2

Public interest grove

Law No. 53/2012 - Approves the legal regime for the classification of trees of public interest.

In Portugal there are (according to the most recent information provided by the ICNF IP.), 499 groves classified as of public interest and therefore protected by national law due to their:

  1. representativeness;

  2. rarity;

  3. postage;

  4. age;

  5. history;

  6. cultural significance or

  7. landscape setting.

Find them on the following map:

(made available with the support of Filipe Dâmaso Saraiva and Cláudia Rosado Silva, source of the ICNF IP data.)

These trees are listed in the RNAIP - National Register of Trees of Public Interest and correspond to trees that meet the different characterization criteria identified and specified in the Regulation with the development and densification of the assessment parameters and their correspondence to the classification criteria. of Public Interest , of March 5, 2018, approved by the ICNF IP.

In this regulation we can, for example, know the minimum size for the classification of trees of public interest according to the species. The following table was recreated from the original available in the regulation:


If you know any tree of this species that has dimensions larger than those identified and that is not identified in the RNAIP, you can recommend its classification even on private land.

You can do this with the ICNF or ask for our help to continue this process.

Âncora 3

Local-scale protection

Several municipalities have adopted concrete measures to protect their grove, in order to bridge national failures.



Some municipalities have chosen to develop complementary measures to protect trees that exist within their limits.

We are a family owned and operated business.

The most basic measures are integrated in the regulations for green spaces or urban planning that are widely developed at national level, and at the opposite end, in specific regulations for the management of trees.

We are a family owned and operated business.

The municipalities that raise the bar are, among others, Sintra, Cascais, Vila Nova de Gaia, Sabugal and Lisbon, but at least 33 national municipalities have some particular measure for the protection of trees in their administrative area.


By the end of 2020, all municipalities will have to update their PDM - Municipal Master Plan, which dictates the management of the territory. In this update, it is necessary to include forest management measures, as indicated in the PROF - Regional Plans for Forest Management that cover the region.

The PROF were updated in 2019 and all of them indicate a set of tree species that should be subject to specific protection measures in addition to the cork oak, holm oak and holly,

In the PROF Entre Douro e Minho; PROF de Trás-os-Montes and Alto-Douro; PROF from Lisbon and Tagus Valley and PROF Alentejo, the identified species are:

Oak-roble ( Quercus robur );

Black Oak ( Quercus pyrenaica )

Yew ( Taxus baccata )

In PROF Centro-Litoral and PROF Centro Interior, the identified species are:

Yew ( Taxus baccata );

Bird cherry ( Prunus lusitanica )

In PROF Algarve, the identified species are:

Monchique oak ( Quercus canariensis );

Junipers, juniper and sabine ( Juniperus sp. );

Rhododendron ( Rhododendron ponticum subsp. Baeticum ).



What this indicates is that there is a possibility to create and implement specific measures to protect these species at the municipal level by the end of 2020.


Check with your municipality about what is being done and suggest new ideas and options that enhance the protection of these trees!

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