Climate change impacts
The municipality of Mértola is located in the southeastern Portugal and is part of the Baixo Alentejo.
The climate of this region is predominantly Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers as a result of being located inland. Winters are mild and characterised by little rainfall.
Mértola will experience an increase in the annual average and maximum temperature. Heat waves will become more frequent and forest fires will increase in frequency and intensity. Extreme weather events will also increase in frequency, particularly heavy rainfall in short periods of time and more intense winter storms. The average annual rainfall is likely to decrease by 54% in the spring.
Main motivation for taking adaptation action
Mértola´s main motivation for taking adaptation action is primarily to strengthen its resilience and prepare for the extreme weather risks that the region faces as a result of climate change.
Have you already developed an adaptation strategy?
No, we do not have an adaptation strategy but are currently developing one
Summary of the strategy/plan
Mértola is developing the adaptation action plan and is analysing, with various stakeholders, the priority adaptation and mitigation measures to implement. The priorities currently include creating recreational areas with the integration of renewable generation; enhancing the cultivation of abandoned land using ground fixing policies; rehabilitating affected forest ecosystems; conserving and restoring valuable habitats and forest areas; creating the infrastructure to support sustainable mobility; planting native species; creating a diversity of species and management areas; promoting measures to treat allergies and diseases; developing mechanisms to recognise the spread of new diseases and strains transmitted by mosquitoes and others carriers from other geographic areas; increasing urban cooling; reintroducing species with reduced allergic potential, improving soil structure on agricultural lands; integrating grazing management; increasing the diversity of genes and variety of crop species, and increasing the storage capacity stocks in good years to dry years.
Additional information on adaptation responses
Mértola has developed strategic plans, namely, a forest fire prevention plan and heat wave emergency plans. Additionally Mértola is applying to UNESCO regarding the Islamic route and European Geoparks. Mértola joined ClimAdaPT.Local, a project integrated in the National ADAPT program that supports the development of adaptation projects in Portugal. Another project Mértola has been involved in is the AdaptForChange Project where the municipality of Mértola was a case study. The goal of AdaptForChange is to decrease the cost-benefit of reforestations through innovative approaches.
Planned adaptation actions
Mértola intends to improve the city’s urban environment, ensuring its attractiveness and sustainability by creating urban areas in which people can comfortably live, work and relax. Examples are the creation of more green areas, planting trees, protecting fresh air paths and cold air production areas. In regards to urban rehabilitation, the health department plays an important role, preventing heat-related health risks for the youngest and the elderly. Additionally, the city has already begun implementing several sustainable energy actions in its SEAP regarding energy efficiency in public buildings, street lighting, among other things.
Good practice / spotlight item
Planning for forest fires and water scarcity
What sectors are concerned
A large portion of the Mértola municipal area consists of forest land with fast growing species and agricultural land, meaning that it is particularly vulnerable to water scarcity and to an increasing number of forest fires. As a result, some important plans have been developed, related to forest fire prevention and the occurrence of extreme temperature events. The municipality is already adopting some adaptation measures, which are part of a series of integrated projects related to the renovation of forest and agriculture areas and forest fire plans. All the planning is developed in cooperation with nature and forests conservation institute.
- Agriculture and Forest
Climate change impacts
- Extreme Temperatures
- Forest Fires
- Water Scarcity
Key vulnerable sectors
Assistant to the Mayor
Mayors Adapt signatory
Date of officially joining Mayors Adapt
07 Oct 2015
Covenant of Mayors 2020 signatory