RCE Galicia - 2023

See you in the forest! ("Vemo-nos no monte!") Educating for prevention, control and eradication of invasive species
Basic Information
Title of project : 
See you in the forest! ("Vemo-nos no monte!") Educating for prevention, control and eradication of invasive species
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Galicia
Contributing organization(s) : 
Fundación Montescola (organizer)
Fundación CEER (organizer)
à:escuta (organizer)
Veredas da Estrela
Asociación Verdegaia
Axóuxere Editora
Comunidade do Monte Veciñal en Man Común de Froxán
Comunidade de Montes de Meira
Comunidade de Montes Veciñais en Man Común da Serra do Xurés-Riocaldo
Agrupamento de Baldios da Serra do Gerês
Associação de Compartes da Freguesia do Campo do Gerês
Asociación Veciñal de Lentille
Concello de Moaña
Câmara Municipal de Seia
Câmara Municipal de Gouveia
Câmara Municipal de Terras de Bouro
Junta de Freguesia de Campo do Gerês
União das Freguesias de Vide e Cabeça
União das Freguesias de Figueiró da Serra e Freixo da Serra
Centro de Ecologia Funcional - Universidade de Coimbra
Centro de Interpretação da Serra da Estrela - Seia
CERVAS - Centro de Ecologia, Recuperação e Vigilância de Animais Selvagens
Liga dos Amigos das Frádigas
Movimento Estrela Viva
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Joám Evans Pim
Organizational Affiliation: 
Format of project: 
Audiovisual, online and printed materials, etc.
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Friday, August 25, 2023
Additional resources: 
- Online educational videos for prevention, control and eradication of invasive species: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEwy91oENTj8D0Rr77APYuDLu_GkGb68P
- Educational resources for kids and families: http://www.rcenetwork.org/portal/sites/default/files/Recursos_Vemonos1.pdf
- Educational guides for adults: http://brigadas.pt/recursos/
Invasive Alien Species Regulation (EU Regulation 1143/2014)
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Plan estratéxico para a xestión das especies exóticas invasoras en Galicia
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Plano de ação para as vias prioritárias de introdução não intencional de espécies exóticas invasoras em Portugal continental
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Plan de acción sobre las vías de introducción y propagación de las especies exóticas invasoras en España
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Guiding Principles for the Prevention, Introduction and Mitigation of Impacts of Alien Species that Threaten Ecosystems, Habitats or Species
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
Galicia (Barbanza, Ribeiro, Xurés, etc.); Portugal (Serra da Estrela, Gerês, etc.)
Address of focal point institution for project: 
Fundação Montescola
Froxán n.º 5
Lousame 15212
(A Corunha - Galiza)
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Invasive exotic species are one of the main drivers of global biodiversity loss, severely affecting soil preservation and human security and wellbeing. Galicia holds 1.5% of Eucalyptus plantations in the world (half a million hectares, covering nearly 17% of the total territory of Galicia) while other invasive species such as Acacia have been incresing their presence over thousands of hectares. Demographic collapse of rural areas, the decline of traditional agro-sylvo-pastoral systems and climate change have fostered conditions for extreme risk of forest fires. Eucalyptus and Acacia are highly invasive and pyrophile species that create a “green desert” with extremely reduced biodiversity, pushing back native forests to small fragmented patches.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
According to the IUCN, "preventing the introduction of invasive alien species and managing their impacts is essential to halting biodiversity loss." The spread of invasive species also has critical impacts on human health, food security, livelihoods and economies. In 2017 an intense wave of forest fires affected NW Iberia burning over 60.000 hectares and leading to more than 120 deaths and many injured. As a reaction, an environmental volunteer programme called the "Brigadas deseucaliptizadoras" (De-eucalyptization Brigades) was initiated in April 2018. From a small group of just a few dozen, the initiative has grown to over 1,300 volunteers ("brigadistas") and hundreds of interventions to restore native habitats.
April, 2022
Based on the experience of the "Brigadas deseucaliptizadoras", initiated in 2018, there was a clear need to build up the knowledge base of the growing number of participants coming from local communities, common land assemblies and social movements that are organizing to promote the prevention, control and eradication of invasive species. The diversity of participants and the need to outreach to society at large demanded new educational approaches. There was also a need to create channels to foster the collaboration between different stakeholders and territories facing similar problems for the exchange of knowledge and good practices in how to engage, educate and train community members, active and potential volunteers and society at large. While the Brigadas had already been conducting informal learning by doing trainings for years, "See you in the forest!" ("Vemo-nos no monte!") has systematically created, developed and adapted learning approaches for the prevention, control and eradication of invasive species through a European Union funded Erasmus+ project.
"See you in the forest!", as a collaborative partnership, was created with the objective of generating practical training itineraries mainly for adults but also engaging other age groups, including kids and teens which often are also participants in intergenerational activities. The focus was educating for prevention, control and eradication of invasive species, bridging traditional knowledge from local rural communities and the most recent research findings from fields including environmental conservation and restoration, forestry, forest fire prevention, land management, etc. All activities and materials were created from a cross-border perspective, designed and engaging participants from Galicia and Portugal.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
"See you in the forest!" has developed an intense programme of activities, including developing new educational materials (video tutorials, educational guides, field manuals, etc.) that will remain available for future use, and has carried out dozens of theoretical-practical interventions, cross-border seminars and technical training workshops and seminars on the eradication and control of exotic species. All activities have been based on a "Learning by doing" approach, that has mobilized over a thousand participants in both countries. A new series of short 2-minute-long video tutorials has been made available immediately becoming popular among broader audiences. Educational guides and resources have been purposely developed both for adults and children filling a gap on educational materials on exotic species and environmental volunteering. Sample materials can be found below in PDF.
Size of academic audience: 
Three international exchanges have been organized in which participants from each country visited the other country to work, train and share knowledge and one additional cross-border action was organized on the Peneda-Gerês National Park and Xurés Natural Park, with interventions and trainings on both sides of the border during a week-end programme. Additionaly, fifteen training sessions and field invasive species control actions were organized in several locations across Galicia and Portugal. Each full-day session included a half a day practical field intervention, a communal lunch and an afternoon workshop on a wide range of topics, from applied mechanics to forest management and international forest resources policy. Parallel activities were organized for kids using especifically created materials. During the project the number of volunteers participating in the "Brigadas" increased to 1,400 and a solid base for ongoing activities was established in Portugal with dozens of local groups participating in the initiative.
Lessons learned: 
Demographic decline in rural areas and local dynamics can be challenges in organizing new forms of participation and engagement. The project conscientiously focused on involving members local rural communities instead of focusing on urban groups that already have previous experiences of environmental volunteering. While this may have initially limited participant numbers, it was seen as critical for long-term project sustainability and local community involvement.
Key messages: 
The “Brigadas” and the "Vemo-nos no monte!" project show how people working together can bring about change in restoring landscapes and natural habitats transforming general pessimism regarding change into engaged participation. It also shows the potential for cross-border educational activities in the faced of increasingly shared global threats.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
Invasive alien species and their environmental, social and economic consequences had been listed as one of the main regional challenges in the 2017 RCE Galicia application and were at the core of many ongoing and planned activities included in that document. Five years later this issue has become even more critical and is now among the priorities of RCE Galicia activities.
“Vemonos no Monte!” (See you in the forest!) is an Erasmus+ European project funded by the European Union's Erasmus Programme (2021-2-ES01-KA210-ADU-000049587) in the 2021-22 Action KA2 call of the 2021-2027 Erasmus+ framework. Participating local authorities and common land communities in Galicia and Portugal (listed above) have also supported costs of certain activities on the ground while local NGOs have offered in-kind support through trainings and field visits.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon VemonosnoMonte.png (3.15 MB) Volunteers at the first cross-border action at the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, Portugal Vemo-nos no monte!
Image icon VemonosnoMonte2.jpg (935.04 KB) Removing Acacia trees at the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, Portugal Vemo-nos no monte!
Image icon VemonosnoMonte4.jpg (1.45 MB) Training workshop at the Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal Vemo-nos no monte!
Image icon VemonosnoMonte5.jpg (774.25 KB) Field training at the Xurés Natural Park, Galicia Vemo-nos no monte!
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
Disaster Risk Reduction 
Traditional Knowledge  
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level 
I acknowledge the above: