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Research by Raquel Lopes, from the Department of Biology
UA wishes to make widely known the history of Portuguese monumental trees
Raquel Lopes e a araucária-de-norfolk de 113 anos do Jardim Infante D. Pedro (Aveiro)
They distinguished themselves from others for their immense size, for their centenarian age or even for the bizarre shapes they develop over the years. Some of them have seen the Romans arriving, others have seen the Napoleonic invasions, others the wedding of Queen Maria II. Some of them are even legendary and mythical characters. They are therefore called monumental trees and are the focus of Raquel Lopes.

The University of Aveiro (UA)’s biologist is going to travel through the country in order to make an inventory, to know and to make known the history of each one of these colossus of the Portuguese natural heritage. The work, the first of its kind in the country, wishes to take action against the lack of knowledge about living monuments that have so much to tell.

The oldest oak of the Iberian Peninsula is planted in Póvoa do Lanhoso, but its 700 years old are nothing when compared to various olive trees, scattered throughout the country, aged over 1000 and 2000 years old. The oldest of them is to be found in Santa Iria de Azoia and has 2850 years old. And what does a chestnut with 500 years old, living in Vila Pouca de Aguiar, has to say? Further to the south, one of the eucalyptuses of the Mata Nacional de Vale de Canas, in Coimbra, with 72 meters high is the tallest tree in Europe. Likewise impressive is the 11-meter-large eucalyptus to be found in the municipality of Sátão.

“We cannot forget that monumental trees are living witnesses of historical and cultural events, they are a memory of habits, customs, legends and traditions, they enhance the landscape and the architectural heritage and they represent a distinguishing feature and of identity of a whole people and region that it is important to preserve”, argues Raquel Lopes.

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