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SPEA is an Environmental not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support research and conservation of wild birds and their habitats, by promoting sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.
Home  > Lands of Priolo > Habitats
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Habitats



The intervention areas of this project were chosen so they could help stop the degradation porcess of the main natural habitats that can be found in the SPA of Pico da Vara.

The three main habitats present are Macaronesian Laurel Forest, Macaronesian Heaths and Raised Bogs. Inside Laurel Forest, ther can also be found small areas with Macaronesian Juniper Forests, that had been almost extermined due to historical use of this plant for wood. Nowadays they can onlu be found in higher and more wind-exposed areas.
Mistured with other habitats, there can also be found small plots of Macaronesian Mesophile grasslands. The area of these gasslands was not determined due to their small size and scarcity in the field.

Habitats from the Annex I Habitats Directive intervened by the Project

Cod.NameZPE
4050Endemic Macaronesian Heath *8,3
6180Macaronesian Mesophile Grasslands**
7110Active Raised Bogs *0,8
7120Blanket bogs (* if active bog)0,1
91D0Bog Woodland *0,1
9360Macaronesian Laurel Forests *19,1
9560Endemic Forest with Juniperus spp ***


* Priority habitats
** To the moment this habitat could not be measured
NOTE: Priority habitats are those determined in Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/CEE of European Council,  21st of May, 1992) and listed in its annex I, as representative habitats of the European Union at risk of disappearing.


Endemic Macaronesian Heath

are composed by different tipes of vegetal formations, from low to medium height, estructural and ecologically diverse. These dense heaths are dominated by Heather (Erica azorica). They have wide ecological range, being characterized by their ubiquity, apearing from the coast to the mountain lavas. In some ocasions in mountain areas they develop secondary formations of humid forest with high diversity of floristic composition. In the flora of this Macaronesian Heaths, it is possivel to find Calluna vulgaris, Azorean heather (Erica azorica), Juniper (Juniperus brevifolia), o Azorean laurel (Laurus azorica), Lysimachia azorica, Luzula purpureo-splendens, Myrica faya, Osmunda regalis, Thymus caespititius), Azorean Blueberry (Vaccinium cylindraceum) and Viburnum tinus ssp and o Subcordatum.


Raised Bogs

are habitats mainly ombrotrophic (cluod-fed) with low mineral nutrients. The supply of nutrients is manly due to rainfall and mist, being the water level higher than the groundwater table. Vegetation is dominated by Sphagnum sp. mosses, that assure structure and growth of the peat. In the Azorean peatlands the following species have been identified: Sphagnum palustre, S. auriculatum, S. subnitens, S. papillosum, S. squarrosum, S. cuspidatum, S. lescurii, S. centrale, S. capillifolium e S. compactum.

For a peatland to be a raised bog it should have a significant area with peat productive vegetation (although it can be interrumpted temporarilly by natural constraints such as drought). Therefore, Raised Bogs represent the most evolved state of acid peatland to which the other types (blanket bogs and flat bogs) shoul evolve if the environmental characteristic allow it. In general, we find this bogs in humid area forming a complex with more mature and more incipient formations. This is the case in Graminhais Planalto, were this project takes place.
The floristic diversity of the peat is low. Appart from the Sphagnum sp., other important groups present are the bryophytes Polytrichum sp.,and some vascular plants such as Eleocharis multicaulis (more common in low areas), Erica azorica e Juniperus brevifolia.

Macaronesian Laurel Forests

are humid and hiper-humid formations present in the cloud area (an altitude with a constant accumulation of clouds) and are dependent of a high atmosferic humidity equal or over 80%. This forest of Laurel are characteristic of the cloud altitude in the macaronesian islands and they are extremely biodiverse in terms of flora an fauna, including some species which distribution area is restricted to these communities (Pruno-Lauretalia). There are macaronesian endemic generus in this comunities such as Picconia sp., while other generus find in this area their maximun expression. Each archipelago has a diferent compositition of their Laurel forest, with many species being endemic to only one archipelago.

 





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