Freira da Madeira - Conservation of Zino's Petrel through restoration of its habitat

LIFE00 NAT/P/007097

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Dília MENEZES
Tel: +351/291 214 360
Fax: +351/291 214 379
Email: diliamenezes.sra@gov-madeira.pt

Project description:


The Maciço Montanhoso Oriental (eastern mountain massif) on the island of Madeira hosts all the known nesting sites of Zino's or Madeira's petrel (Pterodroma madeira), thought to be extinct at the beginning of the 1970s but since rediscovered. The world population of this species is estimated at 30 pairs, and it is classified as extremely endangered. The site has been classified as an SPA and also as a pSCI, since it includes areas which display a high degree of biodiversity, with an especially wide variety of mountain flora: around 33 endemic species out of a total of 77. The Laurissilva of Madeira, which is also an SPA and pSCI, is a very large area of humid forest dominated by laurel (Laurus novocanariensis) and lily of the valley (Clethra arborea), which hosts many varieties of flora and is the habitat of the long-toed woodpigeon or Madeira laurel pigeon (Columba trocaz). Habitats and wildlife are threatened by soil erosion resulting from excessive grazing, predation by cats and rats, the pillaging of eggs and skins by collectors and uncontrolled tourism.


The objective was to draw up and partially implement the comprehensive management plan for the eastern mountain massif and the Laurissilva of Madeira. The plan was to purchase 320 ha of land, including the central part of the nesting area of Zino's petrel, and then implement management measures which would include cattle removal, cat and rat control and more wardening. The project would also include studies to improve the biological knowledge of the Zino's petrel and its relationship with its environment. Such knowledge is essential for its management, the monitoring of vegetation and target species, and campaigns to increase awareness among the local population and visitors.


The project has achieved its objectives including the: • Elimination of grazing stock in Madeira’s Petrel breeding area, with a positive effect on vegetation. • Acquisition of ‘Montado do Areeiro’ (though through a litigious process). • Discovery of a new breeding colony for the species. • Implementation of a monitoring network for the study of fauna and flora. • Introduction of a wide and comprehensive environmental programme. • Internal approval and implementation of ‘Maciço Montanhoso Oriental’ and ‘Floresta Laurissilva’, both Natura 2000 sites. The population of Madeira’s Petrel has increased from 30-40 to 65-80 breeding pairs mainly through the discovery of new nests, but also due to management actions carried out by the project. It contributed to the improved conservation status of Madeira’s Petrel and its habitat. The increase in individuals raised its status from ‘critically endangered’ to ‘endangered’. Moreover, the draft of a comprehensive and adequate management plan and the purchase of the area where its main population breeds allow for effective conservation of the species in the future. Management actions have also been effective in helping the natural recovery of autochthonous vegetation and to the control of predation. An effective awareness-raising campaign has greatly helped to disseminate project actions. This campaign has also promoted the presence of the Madeira’s Petrel as a tourist asset for the area. Other projects could learn from the change of attitude that this project has achieved. This project has been selected as one of the 26 "Best" LIFE Nature projects in 2007-2008.


Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Birds


protected area‚  public awareness campaign‚  island‚  land purchase‚  management plan‚  mountainous area

Target species

 Pterodroma madeira     

Target Habitat types

  • 8220 - Siliceous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation
  • 9360 - "Macaronesian laurel forests (Laurus, Ocotea)"
  • 4050 - Endemic macaronesian heaths
  • 6180 - Macaronesian mesophile grasslands

Natura 2000 sites

SCI PTMAD0001 Laurissilva da Madeira



Coordinator Parque Natural da Madeira - Autoridade Governamental
Type of organisation Park-Reserve authority
Description Parque Natural da Madeira is a public service authority under the Secretaria Regional do Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais. It aims to protect and improve the use of its natural resources.
Partners None


Project reference LIFE00 NAT/P/007097
Duration 01-APR-2001 to 30-APR -2006
Total budget 1,696,748.00 €
EU contribution 1,187,724.00 €
Project location Madeira(Portugal)


Read more:

Project web site Project's webpage in the Madeira Natural Park's website


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version