Eucalyptus plantations are expanding – and being blamed for devastation

In 2017, 66 people died after fires ripped through eucalyptus stands around Pedrógão Grande. Restrictions on the highly flammable trees have provoked death threats, yet others feel they do not go far enoughPhotographs by Maria AbranchesThe grapevines were the first signs of life to re-emerge, João Duarte remembers. The green leaves appeared after months of living in a black landscape, burned by the inferno that killed two of Duarte’s family. Next to return were the ferns, followed by the cork trees. Then came the eucalyptus, in greater numbers than before.“I am a little afraid of the eucalyptus. I am not against them. People need money,” says Duarte, a 57-year-old painter who is the gardener at the Pedrógão Grande town hall gardens in central Portugal. “I live in a place surrounded by a green desert of eucalyptus. If another fire comes, it could be worse.”Top: The fire, which broke out on 17 June 2017 in the Pedrógão Grande district. Above: Some of the damage caused by the fire. AFP/Getty, Miguel Vidal/Reuters Continue reading...

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