Eco Restoration & Education


The 138-acre Oitavos Dunes Golf & Resort is located in Cascais,  Portugal in the Sintra-Cascais National Park, close to the Guincho beach  and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The course was  designed by Drew Rogers of Art Hills/Steve Forrest and Associates.  The golf course is ranked in the top 100 courses in the world, has  hosted the European Golf Championship and Portuguese Championships, and  is a Certified Gold Signature Sanctuary.  The property is a mosaic of  various habitats including stabilized dunes, pine flat woods, and dense  stands of umbrella pine. Our ecological land plan integrated these  habitats to maximize wildlife diversity throughout the property. 

A major focus of habitat management for the site was to remove  invasive plants and re-vegetate with native vegetation primarily grown  locally or moved from disturbed areas.  A large nursery was established  on site to grow native plants. Because of the proximity of the property  to open dunes areas, vegetated valleys, and the coast, it plays an  important role in the overall biological integrity of the ecosystem. 


The site had no surface water due to disturbance; therefore wildlife  had no source of freshwater. We worked with project staff to develop  “quinta tanks” (literal translation is farm tank) to provide wildlife  watering holes. These tanks are recycled bathtubs and sinks set into the  ground, disguised with native vegetation, and filled with water from  golf course drainage or rainfall. The tanks have increased the  biodiversity of the site without changing the integrity of the  landscape. 

The maintenance facility is state of the art, but was re-purposed  from an older farm building.  We prepared and implemented a Natural  Resource Management Plan that provides detailed protocols and processes  for managing the homes and golf course. Ecological risk assessments were  conducted to evaluate the pesticides proposed for use on the property.   Given that we are using drainage water to fill up the “quinta tanks” we  were very careful to select materials that were safe for wildlife and  were as short lived as possible.  Extensive Best Management Practices  (BMP) were specified and implemented to protect soil, water, and  vegetation. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies have been  incorporated into every aspect of the plan and maintenance of the  community and golf course. 

We prepared and implemented an Education Program for the staff,  golfers, and school children.  Each year elementary school aged children  visit the property to learn about sustainability and how to have  human-managed landscapes that are compatible with nature.