Rede Electrica Nacional (REN)
REN developed an active approach to the vegetation management of buffer strips under overhead lines, maximising the services provided by the ecosystem and introducing new approaches to its conservation and restoration. The practice aims to add value to the land and the species themselves through the plantation of native trees and shrubs. As a result, the abandonment of these corridors can be avoided while protecting them from forest fires and enabling them to become income generators for landowners.
The practice has been used in mainland Portugal since 2010.
Hydro and wind power generation in Portugal are integrated into areas covered by the National Network of Protected Areas and by Natura 2000. Reforestation with native trees minimises infrastructure impacts and increases their resilience to forest fires as the buffer strips are integrated into the defence system of forests against fires. As REN has usage rights but does not own these reforestation areas, it is key to involve landowners in the process, showing how the management of these areas can be an income generator even though the species planted are not fast-growing or large-sized.
This paradigm shift in vegetation management of the transmission line corridors was implemented through 4 key activities: