Good practice destination Cascais (PT)

Contributor DiegoNunez
Country Portugal
  • Attraction protection
  • Destinations-in-Europe
  • Europe
  • Low-impact transportation
  • Protection of sensitive environments
  • Site interpretation
  • Visitor behavior
  • Visitor managemt
Release date 19/08/2014
Landscape type Coastal
  • Natural Heritage & Biodiversity
  • Travel, Transport & Mobility
GSTC Criteria for Destinations
  • C1 Protection of cultural assets
  • C2 Cultural artefacts
  • C3 Intangible heritage
  • C5 Intellectual property
  • D.2. Protection of sensitive environments
  • D.12. Low-impact transportation
Marketplace category Destinations Destinations
Type Best Practice Destination (Best Practice Destination)
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# File name Contributor Release date Uploaded by Upload date Size Content type
Good Practice Innovation Sheet
Items Description
1. WHO
Key people and organisations (initiator, leader, partners)  Coastal and Marine Union EUCC and Cascais Municipality
Key Figures Surface Inhabitants Tourism arrivals Tourism nights
 97,4 Km2  206,479  N/A  1.136.943 nights a year
2. WHY
Reason for taking the good practice action

1) Sintra-Cascais Natural Park (PNS-C) is located in a region subject to great urban and  tourist pressure - the Estoril coast, which is a preferred destination for many  domestic and foreign visitors. Situated within the park, the Cresmina-Guincho dune  system is an important asset to the area due to its natural values and biophysical  characteristics and dynamics. The degradation of this fragile natural system requires  the implementation of protection and recovery measures in order to preserve this  area and the ecosystem services that it provides. In this way, the Sintra-Cascais  Natural Park Visiting and Interpretation Network, developed by Cascais Natura and  the ICNB, promotes the natural heritage of the region, framing it in the vast and rich  heritage of the coast and the Sintra Mountains. Besides this, environmental  awareness and scientific research are recognized to be crucial to the conservation  and protection of this area.

2) Quinta do Pisao is located in the North of the municipality of Cascais, at the base of the Sintra mountain range, and it covers an area of 380 hectares within the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. Dedicated to farming, forestry and pasture, Quintana do Pisao represents an important heritage, both in the structural organization, partitioning and rational use of landscape, and through the presence of ruins of cultural and architectural value. Human interventions in this territory resulted in the appearance of new habitats and ecological niches, which are important nowadays for nature preservation.  Making this space available for visitors represents an unique opportunity and a great asset for the metropolitan area of Lisbon, and it will also contribute to preserve and maintain this precious cultural landscape that is a central part of the collective memory of Cascais.


Issues and challenge


3. HOW
Methods /steps / tools used (to develop the good practice)  1) Strong urban and tourist, demographic pressure on Natura 2000 priority habitat, unregulated tourism, degradation of natural spaces (dune cord and coastal cliffs). The rehabilitation works of the Cresmina-Gincho Dune System began in the last  quarter of 2010 and focused initially on the recovery of the dune ridge and the  establishment of vegetation cover through diverse habitat management actions.  These included the placing of seals; eradication of invasive alien species (e.g. Acacia  spp., Carpobrotus edulis); installation of sand fences made of dry willow branches or  wicker in embryonic and primary dunes; plantation of autochthonous species on  mobile dunes (e.g. Ammophila arenaria subsp. australis, Lotus creticus) and fixed  dunes, where characteristic vegetation was wiped out by non-native species  (Rhamnus alaternus, Pistacia lentiscus, Phillyrea angustifolia). Aiming to protect the  native flora and fauna, permanent fences have been established to avoid the  entrance of vehicles into the area. In order to regulate the pedestrian access to the  dune, 2000 metres of elevated pathways, equipped with stopping platforms for  observation, were installed along all the dune system. These wooden pathways  provide an easy and controlled access to the beach and to the new Interpretation  Center “Duna da Cresmina”. This center includes explanatory panels, maps, a  multimedia application and a virtual viewing point. Guided tours of the dune system  with a digital guide are also available

2)Misuses such as motocross, poaching, ride in all-terrain vehicles, abandonment and vandalism of the built heritage.
Widespread abandonment and degradation of ecological space. Safeguarding and managing this cultural landscape involves allowing a certain degree of human intervention in support of efforts to restore or maintain habitats, species, and ecosystems. The combination of man-made and native forests and  cultivated fields and pastures multiplies the niches and the opportunity for the development of biodiversity. The overall aim of this project is to maintain and promote the biodiversity of the area through in situ conservation of agricultural plants and animals. The natural and cultural heritage present in Quinta do Pisão is an important educational resource and a recreational and tourist focus. A network of  trails allows visitors to explore the landscape heritage of the area. These trails can be travelled by foot, bicycle, SEGWAY, donkey or horse. Visitors can make use of digital guides or nature guides which help them to orientate themselves in the park. Electric vehicles are also available to ensure the accessibility for disabled people.

Specific/measurable results, benefits

 1) The works undertaken in the Cresmina-Gincho Dune System have restored 90 acres  of habitat in the area. By creating a network of interpretative trails visitors are able  to access and enjoy this natural space without causing negative impacts on the  environment. These trails attract around 5000 people per month. The Interpretation  Center “Duna da Cresmina” and the numerous information boards present along  these trails, allow them to learn more about the flora and fauna associated to this  dune system and the natural values of these ecosystems. Since April 2013, this  Center has received 4,000 visitors.

2) Since opening to the public, the Quinta do Pisão Nature Park receives on average  2000 visitors per month who are attracted by nature trails, the beauty and  tranquillity of the area, the diversity of habitat and landscapes, and the numerous  nature and cultural activities that are regularly performed by Cascais Ambiente, such  as the Art Festival in the landscape (Land Art Cascais), hiking, donkey rides, livestock management activities, planting native trees and nature conservation activities with  volunteers.

Recognitions (e.g. awards)  QualityCoast Silver Award 2013
Lessons learned

1) It was noted that it is essential to promote the ecological recovery of the sites  before upgrading and allow visitation, in order to generate their resilience to visitation and interpretation process.

2) It was noted that it is essential to promote the ecological recovery of the sites before upgrading and allow visitation, in order to generate their resilience to visitation and interpretation process. It is intended to demonstrate that the rational use of space is  compatible with its preservation through a weighting between the carrying capacity  of the environment and the number of visitors and activities.

Challenges met

1) The restoration works sparked a great interest and curiosity of the scientific  community and the media. The methodology used to restore this areas was widely  presented at scientific meetings and the intervention site is regularly visited by the  scientific community. It is considered as a reference of dune restoration in Portugal.

2) Management of the landscape, which combines nature conservation and productive  components associated with the agriculture and animal husbandry.  Promotion of environmental awareness activities in the countryside.

Critical success factors  
6. MORE 
web-references, documents