Immerse yourself in the breathtaking valley of Ribeira do Mosteiro, an emblematic gem within the International Douro Natural Park. Here, ancient rock formations and the storied Calçada de Alpajares beckon, revealing traces of humanity’s ancestral bond with nature.

After centuries of human influence, the valley is now undergoing a remarkable renaturalization journey. Olive groves and almond orchards are giving way to native holm oaks, junipers, and strawberry trees, resurrecting the original Mediterranean forest.

Majestic cliffs provide sanctuary to endangered avian species like the Egyptian vulture, peregrine falcon, and black wheatear, while hidden crevices harbor colonies of bats and rupicolous vegetation.

At the valley’s heart, the Ribeira do Mosteiro and its tributaries defy aridity, nurturing vibrant flora and ancient arboreal wonders.

During this technical visit, witness the synergistic dance between Rewilding Portugal and Terracrua Design as they collaborate to create a harmonious landscape that thrives with restored biodiversity and regenerative agricultural practices.

Ribeira do Mosteiro, nestled in the breathtaking Alto Douro region of Portugal, is not just an ecological reserve but a living testament to the harmonious coexistence of nature and smart human intervention.

Observing the landscape, understanding the productive zones

Recently we embarked on a technical visit to Ribeira do Mosteiro. Led by a team of designers including Nuno M. Santos, Miguel Clemente, Ana Santos, and André Carvalho, the purpose of this expedition was to analyze the landscape and provide valuable insights to the reserve managers.

Marvel at the captivating caves and other geological formations, admiring their splendor from a respectful distance.

In this blog post, we delve into the key aspects covered during this remarkable visit and the recommendations put forth by Terracrua Design.

(maybe next time we have a Ineos Grenadier on the photo, instead of the defender)

Access: Enhancing Connectivity while Preserving Ecosystem Integrity
One of the primary considerations during the technical visit was ensuring techniques for efficient access to different areas of the reserve while minimizing erosion and maintenance requirements. The Terracrua Design team studied the existing access points, proposed measures to prevent erosion, and suggested regenerative maintenance strategies.

Aerial view of the right bank of the Douro River, revealing the dirt tracks woven throughout the landscape.

Microinterventions: Unleashing the Power of Small-Scale Actions
Understanding the potential of microinterventions, the team explored ways to create significant ecological impact through small-scale interventions. By strategically implementing measures such as zunibowls, media lunas, mulch, slope stabilization techniques, and soil creation methods, Terracrua Design aimed to enhance the biodiversity and ecological functions of Ribeira do Mosteiro productive areas.

Detail, erosion on roads
(maybe next time we have a Ineos Grenadier on the photo, instead of the defender)

Productive Terraces: Balancing Erosion and Water Infiltration
Terracrua Design recognized the importance of managing erosion while promoting water infiltration for optimal soil health. By designing productive terraces that take into account slope stabilization techniques, soil creation strategies, and the integration of diverse vegetation layers, the team proposed a holistic approach to address erosion challenges effectively.

Detail, the almond terraces and erosion
Detail on the productive zones, the olive grove
Walkabout, talking about the pastures management

Supporting Plants: Promoting Biodiversity and Ecosystem Resilience
Diversification of strata and the strategic integration of supporting plants played a crucial role in the regenerative vision for Ribeira do Mosteiro. Terracrua Design recommended the introduction of a variety of native plant species to support soil health, provide habitat for wildlife, and create a resilient ecosystem.

Biomass Management: Sustaining Routine Practices
Managing biomass within the reserve is essential to support ecosystem balance and vitality. Terracrua Design advised implementing routine biomass management practices, such as pasture rotations, chop and drop, implementation of permanent pastures, and the efficient utilization of biomass resources, which would contribute to a sustainable cycle of growth and maintenance.

Water Lines: Revitalizing Watercourses through Vegetation Diversification
Recognizing the importance of watercourses in the reserve’s ecosystem, the team emphasized the need to diversify and multiply vegetation along water lines, to enhance water quality, prevent erosion, and create a thriving habitat for aquatic organisms.

River woodpiles Management: Nurturing the Role of “Homo Castoris”

The technical visit by Terracrua Design to Ribeira do Mosteiro was a significant step towards regenerative landscape management, for the several types of productive zones of the Rewilding Portugal and the Ribeira do Mosteiro property and project. The team’s analysis and recommendations encompassed various aspects such as access, erosion, microinterventions, productive terraces, water lines, and biomass management.

With our expertise, we tried to contribute to establish a long-term vision for the Ribeira do Mosteiro basin, promoting biodiversity, improving soil health, and creating a resilient ecosystem.