Pan & Demeter Ecological Consultancy attended the 14th European Geoparks Conference, on São Miguel Island, Azores Archipelago, from 7th – 9th, September 2017. As a member of the Scientific Committee of the Aspiring Geopark Estrela he did an oral presentation entitled: Aspiring Geopark Estrela: Diamonds are forever? Abstract
In this presentation Aspiring
Geopark Estrela is viewed as a rough diamond which can be cut into many facets.
It is argued why Earth Sciences are
not enough to understand the complex ecosystem of Serra da Estrela. In order to
grasp all facets of this shiny diamond we also need Human Sciences to manage
the area in a sustainable way and to let this unique mountain massif shine at
Without knowledge and willingness it
will not be possible to combine both the need for a socio-economic viable
community in the Serra da Estrela and the sustainable management of its goods
and services with the demand in urban areas for energy, drinking water,
leisure, nature, culture and high quality food products. Aspiring Geopark
Estrela creates a new momentum both for multidisciplinary research and
cooperation of all 9 municipalities in managing the region.
On a historical basis major examples
are shown of how facets of the rough Estrela diamond were cut by both its
non-living and its living nature, the interaction of both and thus in short by
its ecology. Additionally, the role of man in using the genius loci is highlighted and how his technology brought about
socio-economic developments in the region, which may explain the present state
of the art.
The importance of the
phenomenological approach is underlined: understanding the different ways in
which people look at nature. The goal is to get anyone around the table who is
interested in the area so that good communication is initiated creating
opportunities to achieve synergistic collaboration. In other words that all the
different viewpoints from artist to scientist, from farmer to townsman, from
child to adult, from resident to tourist, civil servant to entrepreneur and so
on will fall in the right place. In addition we all have also a view where we
personally stand for, being a more
emotional, spiritual view. This view may be called our interior side of
sustainability. It all starts with our experience of beauty which connects us
with the cosmos including Aspiring Geopark Estrela as a unique part of the
The integration of various disciplinary
approaches in the field of Earth Sciences and Human Sciences was already
targeted in the 19th century by the Sociedade de Geografia de
Lisboa, who organised the scientific expedition to Serra da Estrela in 1881
including numerous academic disciplines.
in the sphere of geosciences and using a metaphor as expression of the
phenomenological approach as to optimise the communication between all players
in the region, the ultimate goal of this contribution is polishing the existing
qualities and supplying suggestions of cutting new facets of Estrela diamond.
Aim of the project: (1) assessment of the role of traditional grazed olive groves for nature conservation and the smart and inclusive sustainable development in the European Union. (2) establishment of an organic group certification system for traditional olive systems in the upper Mondego valley in Portugal. (3) realisation of green farm payments for traditional farming in the Mondego valley. (4) organisation of an international workshop in Guarda (Domínio Vale do Mondego) on realising green payments in the EU.
On June 10, 2017, during a special dinner in Manteigas attended by some hundred enthousiastic participants, I received a prize from the Friends of Serra da Estrela (the second oldest environmental NGO of Portugal) for all the work I did for the region. I am much thankful and proud.
The prize is a handmade cristal in the shape of a mountain.
" Conhecemos o trabalho e a dedicacão do Dr. Jan no estudo da botânica na Serra da Estrela, cujo trabalho expresso na publicação, em português e inglês, do Guia Geobotânico da Serra da Estrela com a sua calma e olhar felino, a classificação da Rede Natura 2000, de uma vasta área da Serra
Para além de todos os estudo que fez e continua a fazer na Serra da Estrela, são testemunho da paixão que nutre por ela, da pureza das suas águas, fazendo do Dr. jan Jansen o embaixador mais credivel e o melhor promotor da Serra da estrela.
A Associação Cultural Amigos da Serra da Estrela sente-se muito honrada por os poder homenagear com a galardão Cristal de gelo".