Portugal Wildlife and Economy

Animals and Plants

Portugal’s nature

Because the Iberian Peninsula is separated from the rest of Europe by the mountains of the Pyrenees, species could develop there that do not exist in the rest of Europe. This applies to both animals and plants. In addition, some species were able to enter from Africa via the Strait of Gibraltar.

According to a2zdirectory, Portugal has diverse landscapes with the coast and the mountainous country in the north and the flatter country in the south, in which also very different types of trees and flowers grow. And the animals have also adapted to the landscapes. In the north-west of the country lies the Peneda-GerĂªs National Park, the only national park in the country.

What is growing there in Portugal?

Typical trees in Portugal are mainly oaks, especially the cork oak. But holm oaks and common oaks are also common. There are also pines – especially maritime pines and pines – and chestnuts, in the south also eucalyptus trees and palm trees, of which the dwarf palm is native here. The famous laurel forest grows on Madeira.

Which animals live in Portugal?

Animals that are only found on the Iberian Peninsula and therefore also in Portugal include the Iberian wolf, the Iberian lynx and the Iberian hare. There are also wild goats, foxes, wild boars, roe deer, deer, wild cats, weasels, martens, otters and a few brown bears. The ichneumon, the only species of mongoose that occurs in Europe, namely in the south of Spain and Portugal, is one of the predators.

In addition to mammals, reptiles also live in Portugal. They include lizards, snakes and the chameleon, which in Europe only occurs in the very south, where it is dry and hot. The golden striped salamander, the Mallorca midwife toad (Ferreret) and the Spanish newt are endemic amphibians of the Iberian Peninsula.

Are there also birds in Portugal?

Of course, birds also fly through Portugal! Because the country is on the route of migratory birds to and from Africa, flocks of them can be seen in spring and autumn. This also includes the storks that you see in the picture on the right.

Sea birds live on the Atlantic coast. The omnipresent seagulls are hard to miss. More likely to be found in the mountains are Egyptian vultures, griffon vultures and the Spanish imperial eagle.

Portugal Wildlife

Economy

Portugal’s economy

In 2007, with the global financial crisis, Portugal’s economy found itself in a particularly difficult situation. Unemployment was at times 18 percent. However, the economy has been slowly recovering since 2013. Foreign debt has been greatly reduced, and the unemployment rate was around 10 percent in 2017.

Portugal’s economy is largely based on services. They make up around 76 percent of total economic output. Industry contributes around 22 percent, agriculture only 2.3 percent. Grains, potatoes, tomatoes, olives and grapes are grown. The industry produces clothing and shoes, wood, paper, pulp and cork, as well as machinery and chemical products.

Cork from Portugal

Portugal is the largest producer of cork. You may be familiar with cork pin boards or corks that are used to close wine bottles. You can also use cork as a floor covering, as shoe soles or building material.

Cork is extracted from the bark of the cork oak. The tree is peeled, so to speak. After about nine to ten years, so much bark has grown back that the oak can be peeled again. However, because more and more wine bottles are being closed with screw caps or man-made corks, the cork industry in Portugal is in crisis. By the way: cork is a valuable raw material that can be used again. That is why you should give (the real) corks to a collection point.

Pulp from Portugal

Pulp is an important raw material for making paper. Pulp is made from wood. In Portugal, the fast growing eucalyptus trees have been planted in large numbers.

However, this brings problems with it, because eucalyptus dries out and leaches the earth, i.e. it removes nutrients. The original forest is also being displaced, and with it the native fauna. The oils that eucalyptus contain also favor forest fires because they are highly combustible. In summer they often destroy large areas of forest.

Tourism

Tourism is one of the services and accounts for eight percent of the total economic output. Most visitors come to the Algarve in southern Portugal or fly to Madeira. The number of visitors has increased in recent years. In 2014 nine million guests came to the country.