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Alagoas Brancas, what is that?

Alagoas Brancas is a wetland area. A wet, seasonal freshwater zone located in the urban area of Lagoa, in the municipality of Lagoa. It represents the only remaining area of a vast, ancient wetland that gave its name to the city and municipality of Lagoa. It is called Alagoas Brancas because, during the month of May, the water is covered with white flowers.

Due to the presence of extensive agricultural fields (rice fields mainly) bordering the city of Lagoa, bird populations use the Alagoas Brancas as a dormitory and resting area during annual migrations as well as all year round, and its rice paddies as a source of food.

Amongst a wide variety of insects, amphibians, reptiles as well as flora, there over 140 bird species that have been observed in the Alagoas Brancas (according to eBird). Noteably this wetland regularly hosts more than 1% of the regional population (Mediterranean, Black Sea and West Africa) of Black Ibis, Plegadis falcinellus (Wetlands International 2019), which gives it international importance, according to the Birds Directive and the Ramsar Convention – and potential designation as a Ramsar site under criterion B6.
In addition it houses more than 1% of the national wintering population of the carcasser Bubulcus ibis, stilt Himantopus himantopus and spoonbill Platalea leucorodia.

This wetland also constitutes an important stopping point for birds migrating between their nesting territories in the north, and wintering areas on the African continent, mainly in West Africa, both in the spring (March-May) and in the autumn (August- October).

It is a small natural treasure teeming with life on the outskirts of Lagoa. A recent study determined that wetlands capture four times more carbon than forests, making protecting the Alagoas Brancas even more critical in this time of climate change.

Alagoas Brancas is threatened

The inclusion of the Alagoas Brancas as an urban zone within the scope of the Lagoa Municipal Master Plan, and the subsequent authorization and licensing of urban expansion for the Alagoas Brancas area, is the most significant threat to the area at the present time. The municipality issued a permit for the company Edifícios Atlântico to promote an urbanisation with eleven lots.

Part of it was already buried in early 2017, with the commencement of work in the area, and traces of this destruction, in the form of accumulated rubble, are still visible.

In addition the municipality of Lagoa is expanding the fair grounds for the FATACIL which is right beside the Alagoas Brancas:

“What we defined is to have a true Municipal Park for Fairs and Exhibitions in Lagoa, besides the 10 days of FATACIL, which holds many other events throughout the year. For this, we are expanding the space to seven hectares in area.”

Alagoas is being threatened

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How can you help?

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    of the situation
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  • Taking part in clean-ups *
  • Any other ideas are always welcome

*Next Cleanup is on Sunday, August 21st at 5:30 pm within the framework of the Global Beach Cleanup which is organized by Empty The Tanks Worldwide

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