Monsanto Forest Park
Monsanto Forest Park is a protected forest in Lisbon, Portugal, the largest green patch in the city, with almost 1000 ha (10 km2). It offers a well diversified tree-covered area to the Portuguese capital.
A large number of species were introduced in Serra de Monsanto (Monsanto Hills) during the reforesting period. Due to climate and geological characteristics, they created a very interesting ecosystems in the urban patch of Lisbon (and surrounding municipalities). The Ecological Park of Lisbon, located at Monsanto Forest Park, is a meeting point for a new contact with the environment, right in the heart of the Portuguese capital. Its main purpose is to make visitors aware of the many variables of the environment, for instance, geology, climate, flora, and fauna.
The Ecological Park, residing inside the Forest Park, has a perimeter of four kilometres, and a total area of fifty hectares, of which sixteen is fenced and thirty four is non-fenced. It spreads over Serra de Monsanto, from Alto da Serafina to the Woods of S. Domingos de Benfica, passes the farm of Marquis de Fronteira and the Lead Shooting Club of Portugal. The Ecological Park runs an Interpretation Centre, with an auditorium, a space for permanent and occasional exhibitions, and a Centre of Multimedia Resources. Quercus, the largest Portuguese non-profit national environment organization for the conservation of the natural environment, is based in Monsanto Park.
The intensive agricultural usage of the soils led to erosion and practically to a destruction of the original vegetation. In the 1930s, the increasing demand for construction areas led Duarte Pacheco, a Portuguese Secretary of State for the Public Works, to resuscitate an idea from 1868: the reforesting of the then practically bare Serra de Monsanto. The regulation for Monsanto Park was put in place in 1934, and the works for replantation were carried out by farmers and prisoners from Monsanto Fort. Architect Keil do Amaral presented the first complete plan for the park, including leisure and sports areas, some of which still exist. The Ecological Park has a privileged location at Monsanto Forest Park — the largest green patch in the city of Lisbon, with almost 1000 ha. The Monsanto Park Circuit, a 5.44 km (3.38 mi) race track, hosted the 1959 Formula One Portuguese Grand Prix.