Madeira Nature Park

LIFE92 NAT/P/014200

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Contact details:

Project Manager: H COSTA NEVES

Project description:


Sub-tropical, humid laurel forests used to cover a range across Europe all the way up to Spitzbergen, Norway, during the Tertiary era. As climate changed, however, other better adapted tree species expanded their range and these ancient forests almost disappeared. Today these forests are restricted to the Canary Islands, the Azores and Madeira.
This project targeted an area of laurel forest in Montado do Urzal, a high altitude site located in the north of the island. The site harbours some 70 plant species, as well as a very rare, endemic (native) species of pigeon, Columba trocaz. Although within the Madeira Nature Park, it was privately-owned and suffering from loss of the original vegetation as a result of increasing arable and livestock farming.


The project’s overall objective was to purchase land on the Montado do Urzal to prevent the total disappearance of this unique forest relict. Following the purchase, the land would be closed off to livestock and protected from disturbance by people through various safeguards. The management of the site would allow the laurel forest to recover.
Once the protected area was fully operational, it would be a valuable region for scientific research and would also be used for environmental education. There was also an economic spin-off: the Montado do Urzal is a water catchment area vital for hydro-electric and irrigation works downstream. The protection of vegetation cover would also provide a positive impact for these activities.


The project achieved its overall and secondary objectives. The land was purchased and livestock (goats and pigs) were removed from this area. This measure was of particular importance because the animals were considered a key threat to the flora of the Montado.
A study and assessment of the laurel forest was also carried out by the project and included in a wider study of the laurel forest areas of the island. The works carried out by the project will help to safeguard an important primitive forest species of the Macaronesian biogeographical region.


Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Forests


forest ecosystem‚  land purchase‚  restoration measure‚  natural park‚  island

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...

Natura 2000 sites

SCI PTMAD0001 Laurissilva da Madeira



Coordinator Parque Natural da Madeira - Regiao Autonoma da Madeira
Type of organisation Park-Reserve authority
Description The park reserve authority responsible for the management of the Madeira Nature Park in the autonomous region of Madeira


Project reference LIFE92 NAT/P/014200
Duration 01-JAN-1993 to 31-DEC -1993
Total budget 207,000.00 €
EU contribution 155,000.00 €
Project location Madeira(Portugal)


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