Natural habitats and flora species of Portugal

LIFE94 NAT/P/001043

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Dr. Antonio TEIXEIRA

Project description:


Please note this project was financed by instalments. For this reason, the same project may appear in different year’s submissions. With each instalment, the duration, content and budget of the projects were usually amended.
Under the requirements of the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC), Member States were required to designate special areas of conservation – selected under criteria of importance and biological interest – in order to implement the Natura 2000 network in their respective countries to help preserve biodiversity.
Continental Portugal boasts a high diversity of species and habitats, to which the Atlantic archipelagos of the Macaronesia contribute. Nevertheless, at the time this project was approved (1994) the studies carried out on the needs of nature conservation in Portugal were not sufficiently exhaustive to ensure an effective conservation. Moreover, there was an urgent need to extend the country’s knowledge on habitats and flora species in order to fulfil the requirements of the Habitats Directive.


The project’s overall objective was to fill existing information gaps in order to define a first group of scientific measures and technical proposals for the management of the most important habitats and sites to be integrated into the Natura 2000 network in Portugal.
The main goals were to provide a national inventory and mapping (1:100 000) of the habitat types listed under Annex I of the Habitats Directive; and to determine the distribution areas of habitats of selected plant species listed under Annex II of the directive.
More specifically the project would carry out phyto-sociological analysis of already designated special protection areas (SPAs of the Birds Directive), the mapping of potential pSCIs (proposed sites of Community importance of the Habitats directive) and the development of basic management measures to safeguard these sites.
The work of the project was supported by six universities (working under signed agreements with the beneficiary, ICN) and a Scientific Committee to establish general criteria for the collection and storage of data.


This proved to be one of the most important nature conservation projects of its time in Portugal: It provided an important source of standardised data for Portugal that had never before been available. This information was invaluable for various applications beyond the original goals i.e. the identification and management of sites to be integrated into the Portuguese Natura 2000 network.
Building upon the results of another successful Portuguese LIFE project (LIFE93 NAT/P/011600), this project ultimately proposed 31 pSCI sites for integration into the Natura 2000 site network (initially 60 sites were proposed). All the sites were mapped at a scale of 1:100 000. Furthermore, while sometimes lacking in uniformity, geo-botanical descriptions and phyto-sociological details were provided for all the sites. The list of 31 pSCIs list was officially approved by the EU in 1997.
The selection of the 31 proposed pSCI sites was made with public and stakeholder involvement. This involved public meetings and debates with participants of scientific institutions, municipalities, non-governmental organisations, professional associations and the media.


Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Plants


protected area‚  decision making support‚  survey

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Instituto da Conservação da Natureza (ICN)
Type of organisation Park-Reserve authority
Description The Institute for Nature Conservation (Instituto da Conservação da Natureza) is part of the Portuguese Ministry for the Environment. It is the governmental body responsible for nature conservation and biodiversity policies as well as the management of protected areas.


Project reference LIFE94 NAT/P/001043
Duration 01-OCT-1994 to 31-DEC -1996
Total budget 667,000.00 €
EU contribution 500,000.00 €
Project location Norte(Portugal) Centro(Portugal) Lisboa e vale do Tejo(Portugal) Alentejo(Portugal) Algarve(Portugal) Açores(Portugal) Madeira(Portugal)


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