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Our Mission
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  > Results > Main Results
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Main Results
Planning actions
  • IAS Strategy published in 2016 and in development with 7 stakeholders involved;
  • São Miguel Island Natural Park Management Plan in development and expected to be published in 2018 (In preparation);
  • Detail mapping of vegetation and invasion risk cartography (In development);
  • Workshop for the development of Azores bullfinch Species Action Plan and After-LIFE Plan (to be hosted);
  • After-LIFE Plan (In preparation).
Production of native plants
  • Development of nursery protocols for 25 azorean native and endemic species;
  • Gathered up to 811,4 kg de of clean seed for restoration;
  • Produced up to 229.907 plants of 28 different species.
Establishment of a protection ring 
  • Opening of more than 8 kilometres of access trails to the intervention areas and proposals were prepared for later touristic use;
  • Restored 2 hectares of ridge area, this action will be implemented more intensively from May 2018
Recovery of an altitudinal gradient of natural forest
  • Several techniques, with and without herbicides, tested for the control of Pittosporum undulatum. Best techniques identified were those applying glyphosate, either by injection or by cutting and application in the trunk. No success was verified with techniques not involving herbicides;
  • Restored 1 hectare of pure Pittosporum undulatum into Azorean Laurel Forest after the tests;
  • Several techniques, with and without herbicides, tested for the control of tree ferns. Best techniques identified were those using glyphosate and methyl metasulfuron by foliar application. Techniques not involving herbicides only had effect in the case of C. cooperi stumps.
  • Ecologically restored 12 hectares out of the 24 intended in the altitudinal gradient. The intervened area to the moment corresponds with pure forests of Pittosporum undulatum, with several big trees, therefore slowing the pace of intervention in this area;
  • 109.007 azorean native and endemic plants planted in the area.
Recovery of waterlines and landslide areas
  • Training of 6 field operatives and 3 technicians in climbing techniques in October 2014;
  • Recovered 1 hectare of slopes with natural engineering techniques  and native vegetation;
  • Best Practices Manual on ecological restoration of slopes published;
  • Restored 2 out of the 6,3 hectares of landslides along the altitudinal gradient;
  • Restored 4 hectares of a waterline in a stretch of 500m. 
  • Waterline intervention monitoring system in place since 2015 and data gathering until the end of 2018, one year after the restoration;
Predator control
  • Initial monitoring registered high densities of rodents in the intervention areas of the project, with an increase during the intervention. Also, rodent predation in artificial nests was verified, however it was not possible to verify predation in Azores bullfinch nests due to difficulties in locating them;  
  • 3 types of traps for rodents were tested and best system was implemented in the project intervention areas in order to reduce rodents’ densities;
  • 2 anti-rat garbage containers were installed in the Tronqueira road and all garbage in the road was collected in order to reduce artificial food sources for the rodents;
  • Rodents control was implemented in the altitudinal gradient area. However, it would be important to promote a more intensive control in a wider area, which is not foreseen in this project;
  • Final report on predators threat and control techniques will be published in June 2018;
Evaluation of new threats 
  • A study was conducted in order to evaluate whether hybrid species of Ilex and Laurus were present in the area. However, results were not conclusive;
  • An early detection system is being put in place with resource to the platform: http://invasoras.pt/
Public use management
  • An initial visitor’s survey was conducted in 2014. 
  • An study of universal accessibility was conducted in the SPA and in the Lands of Priolo in 2014;
  • Legislation on sports practice (Carta de Desporto de Natureza) in the area is in development. Recently it was decided to enlarge the legislation to all the island and publication is expected in 2018;
  • The three main trail accesses to Pico da Vara were monitored since 2014 to the end of 2017, with counting of users and measurement of impacts;
  • The previous studies served as basis for the preparation of a Public Use Management proposal for the SPA, which was not foreseen in the project;
  • Exhibition contents of the Priolo’s Interpretation Centre were renewed and actualized in 2016;
  • Visitation online map created;
  • European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas award was renewed in 2017 with a new Action Plan (2017-2021) and the Municipality of Povoação was included as a partner in 2018.
Raise awareness of local population and visitors 
  • 293 General public activities organized with 7.735 participants;
  • 431 School activities conducted with 9.975 students involved;
  • Traveling exhibition for schools about the Azores bullfinch and its scape from extinction (In preparation);
  • Priolo’s Interpretation Centre received and informed more than 15.000 visitors in the SPA 
  • Final report on awareness rising among local population and visitors in preparation.
General monitoring of the project
  • Vegetation development monitoring in 20 plots of 10x10 metres installed in the restoration areas and nearby control areas;
  • Plantation success monitoring plots were installed in 2016 and will be followed until de end of the project;
  • Seed bank analysis was conducted with samples from the 20 vegetation monitoring plots germinated in a controlled environment in the laboratory in 2016;
  • Hidro-seeding success monitoring was conducted with 6 plots of 1x1 metres installed in areas where different natural engineering techniques had been applied;
  • Evaluation of pruning effect in native species was conducted during 2016. However, it was not verified any improvement in the development of the plants or the habitat
  • Azores bullfinch population is monitored annually, with a summer census, a juvenile census and a winter census based on fernstripping. Last monitoring estimated the population in 1182 birds and verified a juvenil/adult ratio of 1,2
  • III Atlas of Priolo, a volunteer scheme, with 50 volunteers, for a more robust estimation of Azores bullfinch population was conducted in 2016 
  • Socioeconomic impact of the project will be prepared until de the end of the project;
* Updated in March, 2018



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