In the current context, upon which the Centro Region undergoes a differentiated development when the coastal side is compared with the inland territories, and based on the tenuous character of “collaborative work” in some areas, the lack of organization of some productive sectors (e.g., fishing and forestry) regarding the management ability, the innovation and the introduction of new technologies, and the lack of sustainable management models, the natural heritage of the Centro Region has been subjected to a risk of severe degradation. The effect of these factors can be further exacerbated when considering the increasing recurrence of extreme weather events, resulting from the climate change period we are currently experiencing.
Considering this scenario, it is a priority to develop strategies that allow the valorization of endogenous natural resources of the Centro Region, not only by mitigating the adverse effects of risk factors, but also by the development of new products related with the sea, and with the agricultural and forestry activities, for a sustainable exploitation of geological resources and for the green economy, contemplating also the introduction of innovative approaches in the processes linked with the exploitation and processing of natural endogenous resources, optimizing their position in their respective chains of value.
Thus, the ReNATURE project sets as priority objectives, to mitigate the adverse effects of risk factors that affect the endogenous natural resources of the Centro Region, to develop skills in sustainable practices of exploitation of these resources, and to contribute to the development of new products and technologies, thus adding economic, social and environmental value to the endogenous natural resources of the Region.
In order to contemplate the vast majority of natural endogenous resources of the Centro Region, this project was divided into four thematic lines, according to the indigenous resource that needs to be preserved and valued: FISHERY and AQUACULTURE, AGRICULTURAL, FOREST and GEOLOGICAL resources. However, for the correct valurization of these resources, it is mandatory to take into account the underlying risk factors. Even though the risk factors may be specific to each type of natural resource, some priority lines of action for the Centro Region were identified, which includes the assessment of the effects of climate change, namely in forest fires, in invasive species, in pests and diseases and in contaminants, among other factors.
In a project that aims to map local resources linked with a particular geographic territory, valorization strategies and their risk factors, it is essential to characterize its socio-economic and cultural dimension, emphasizing the social processes underlying the relationship with these resources and that affect their availability, use and instability. In particular, it is important to know the source of the resources, either as an ecosystem service or not, in the social, economic and cultural organization at the local level.
For this purpose, this project includes a multidisciplinary team of researchers with extensive knowledge and experience belonging to several research units of the University of Coimbra, including the Centre for Functional Ecology of the University of Coimbra (CFE), the Centre for Mechanical Engineering of the University of Coimbra (CEMUC), the Association for the Development of Industrial Aerodynamics (ADAI), the Centre for Research on Earth and Space of the University of Coimbra (CITEUC), and the Molecular Physical Chemistry R&D Unit of the University of Coimbra (QFM-UC). This project also contributes for the strengthening of some existing synergies between some of the team members, fostering the creation of new collaborations through the existence of human resources that will allow the development of a truly integrated program in IC&DT towards the region where the University of Coimbra is inserted, the Centro Region.
2016 to 2019
Centro 2020, Portugal