Conversion of the use of land in the easement corridors for the power transmission lines

Year

2010

Organisation

Rede Electrica Nacional (REN)

Description

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.  

 

Highlights:

  • 745,000 native forest trees planted (400 trees per day) on circa 1,450 ha of land belonging to more than 7,700 owners
  • Raising awareness for the protection of biodiversity and native forests through training actions for over 1000 children from 11 countries
  • Creation of local employment through the exploitation of non-timber products  

 

Scope:

The practice has been used in mainland Portugal since 2010.  

 

Main information:

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:

  1. Mapping of the territory and identification of landowners and biodiversity specifications
  2. Developing an action plan for each biodiversity type
  3. Training actions with the landowners and partnerships with national bodies and NGOs
  4. Raising awareness in local communities in partnership with relevant educational biodiversity initiatives

 

Additional information:

  • REN, the Portuguese TSO, is one of the largest-contributing companies to the recovery of the native forest. The practice was developed in cooperation with landowners, local authorities, the association of forestry producers, the Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation (ICFN), the Ministry of Education, and QUERCUS (environmental NGO)  
  • In partnership with the LIFE Elia project, who won the Good Practice of the Year award in 2015, REN developed a reference manual on the vegetation management of trans-mission line corridors for the Mediterranean region