The Matchbox Mountain: Can Portugal Save Its Burning Lungs?

Night had begun to fall when we found the small dirt track. We’d already traveled for over two days to get here. The Serra da Estrela, Portugal, is a place like no other. On surface level you see deep forests, steep gorges and sunsets that remind you of the African plains. But as you look a little closer you begin to see a lie: Invasive eucalyptus. Where Eucalyptus stops, seas of maritime pine – thin, tall, closely packed – flood to the plains below, another alien from post-war industrialisation. What is initially a beautiful sight is in fact a matchbox mountain, just waiting for a spark.