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December 2023
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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


This project will mainly focuses in the main habitat of the Azores bullfinch, the Azorean Laurel Forest. 

However, inside the SCI Serra da Tronqueira/ Planalto dos Graminhais it is possible to find other priority habitats such as the peatbogs. The three main habitats present are: Macaronesian Laurel Forests, Macaronesian Heaths and Altitudinal Bogs. Inside the Laurel Forest, it is possible to find small areas with Macaronesian Juniper Forests, which were also eliminate in the past due to the extensive use of its wood. Nowadays they can only be found in higher and more wind-exposed areas. Also, mixed with the other habitats, it is possible to find 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

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.

Macaronesian Laurel Forests
They are humid and hiper-humid florestall 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). This habitat includes some generus, such as Picconia sp., that are macaronesian endemisms. Each archipelago has a diferent compositition of their Laurel forest, with many species being endemic to only one archipelago.

Endemic Macaronesian Heaths
They are composed by different types of scrub species, being estructurally 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. Ocasionally, in mountain areas they ocurr as secondary formations of humid forest with high diversity of floristic composition. In the flora of this Macaronesian Heaths, it is possible to find Calluna vulgaris, Juniper Juniperus brevifolia, o Azorean laurel Laurus azorica, Lysimachia azorica, Luzula purpureo-splendens, Morella faya, Osmunda regalis, Thymus caespititius, Azorean Blueberry Vaccinium cylindraceum and Viburnum tinus ssp and V. subcordatum.

Turfeiras  de altitude
They are ombrotrophic (cluod-fed) habitats with low mineral nutrients. The supply of nutrients is mainly 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 and S. compactum.
For a peatland to be considered 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 an acid peatland to which the other types (blanket bogs and flat bogs) should evolve if the environmental characteristic are adequate. In general, we find this type of bogs in wetlands as a mosaic of more mature and more incipient formations. This is the case in Graminhais Plateau.
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.


Scientific papers:
  • Gil, A., Yu, Q., Abadi, M., & Calado, H. 2014. Using aster multispectral imagery for mapping woody invasive species in pico da vara natural reserve (Azores Islands, Portugal). Revista Árvore, 38(3), 391-401.
  • Cruz, A., Benedicto, J., & Gil, A. 2011. Socio-economic Benefits of Natura 2000 in Azores Islands-a Case Study approach on ecosystem services provided by a Special Protected Area. Journal of Coastal Research, (64), 1955.
  • Gil, A., Calado, H., Costa, L. T., Bentz, J., Fonseca, C., Lobo, A.,… & Benedicto, J. 2011. A methodological proposal for the development of Natura 2000 sites management plans. Journal of Coastal Research, (64), 1326.
  • Gil, A., Lobo, A., Abadi, M., Silva, L., & Calado, H. (2013). Mapping invasive woody plants in Azores Protected Areas by using very high-resolution multispectral imagery. European Journal of Remote Sensing, 46(1), 289-304.
  • Gaspar, C., Gaston, K. J., Borges, P. A., & Cardoso, P. (2011). Selection of priority areas for arthropod conservation in the Azores archipelago. Journal of Insect Conservation, 15(5), 671-684.


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