Setúbal/Sado - NATURA 2000 network of the Setúbal Peninsula/Sado

LIFE98 NAT/P/005235

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Luís ROCHARTRE
Tel: 351/1/2182128
Fax: 351/1/2182127
Email: aflops@mail.telepas.pt

Project description:


Within one of the most industrialised and populated regions of the country, lies a group of areas of outstanding natural value. They are located in the valleys of Tejo and Sado rivers, also including Arrábida, Cabo Espichel, Cabrela e Comporta-Galé, all of them designated as pSCI and two of them bearing SPAs within its range. These areas include a high number of priority habitats and species according with the “Habitats” and “Birds” Directives. In fact, although the area of the five sites totals less than 100,000 ha, it bears 12 priority habitats and 11 priority species. Contrarily to what happened in other areas of the country with similar industrial and population characteristics, in the Setúbal Peninsula/Sado, these values have persisted. Urban and tourism pressure, water pollution due to industrial, agricultural and domestic waste and illegal hunting are the main threats to the viability of populations and habitats.


The project aims were to prepare and partially implement management plans for the five pSCIs in co-operation with the competent authorities. It was foreseen to do that through the establishment of co-operation protocols not only with the competent authorities but also with scientific institutions, municipalities, local landowners and land users. Another goal was to update the existing inventory of habitats carried out in the target areas through a previous LIFE project managed by the ICN (Institute of Nature Conservation, Life project “Natural Habitats and Flora of Continental Portugal”, Contract nº B4-3200/94/763).

The project also intended to design and implement suitable management measures for some of the most important habitats present in the target areas. To this end, it was planned to carry out several demonstration projects to maintain or improve the quality of these habitats (riverine forests, oak woods, dunes, etc.). Other actions to be implemented were signposting and control of access to sensitive areas, native vegetation restoration and the implementation of demonstrative sustainable productive activities. The project also included an important monitoring work of habitats and species, as well as a program of awareness-raising designed for local people and visitors.


This project had four specific objectives:

  • To establish an effective co-operation between the public bodies, local authorities, landowners and research institutions to define management plans in terms of nature conservation;
  • To implement the management plans;
  • To define a regional network of natural areas integrating areas of community, national, and regional interest with a global management strategy; and
  • To raise the awareness towards the natural heritage of the sites as a regional development factor.
  • The best results were obtained for the last one of these objectives, and the first and second objectives were partially achieved. The project had the merit of joining together an impressive array of institutions, which gave their contributions to the preparation of management proposals for the five SCIs involved: three universities, competent authorities (including 17 municipalities) and landowners. Associations of land managers and hunters also participated. In spite of this, it was not possible to achieve a final management document to be publicly discussed before the end of the project. As regards implementation, several management measures were carried out in the form of demonstration projects during the four years of the project and included the restoration of dune, cork oak, Quercus faginea oak and riverine habitats. To accomplish the third objective, the beneficiary proposed a re-definition of the N2000 sites’ boundaries that, in general, coincided with those of the national protected areas.

    In spite of these contingencies, the benefits for the Natura 2000 sites targeted were outstanding. The update of information on the priority species and the cartography of habitats done within the project were a major conservation achievement before the project end. Indeed, the contribution of all competent authorities and stakeholders to the proposals for management plans were also very important, although their public debate did not take place within the project. In addition, a model was created that allows determining the nature conservation value of each area within the Natura 2000 sites, as well as the evaluation of costs and benefits of specific management options. It also permits the assessment of impacts of specific barriers on the occurrence and mobility of priority wildlife species. This was innovative and potentially useful for other N2000 areas.

    The incentive and pump priming effects, both in financial and in policy terms, were remarkable. The project’s initiative to create a visitor centre and trails raised the interest from other agents, mainly municipalities and private bodies, to develop similar initiatives elsewhere within the project’s intervention area. The project’s team provided technical support to the development of four of these initiatives.

    The project contributed to the local economy by hiring 27 people while it lasted. Five new jobs were kept after the project's end: three officers permanently assigned to the Zambujalinho visitors’ centre, which is now self-sustainable, and two officers hired by Aflops. A different kind of impact was achieved through the awareness raising measures, which were well conceived and apparently would have continuity in several schools. In the future, the consensus over the plan proposals, and their public discussion and final implementation, are the most important indicators of the project’s success.


Environmental issues addressed:


Biodiversity issues - Ecological coherence
Habitats - Forests
Information - Governance - Public and Stakeholders participation


management plan‚  protected area‚  sensitive area‚  forest ecosystem‚  cartography‚  employment‚  public-private partnership

Target EU Legislation

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

Target species

 Armeria rouyana   Convolvulus fernandesii   Falco naumanni   Festuca duriotagana   Hieraaetus fasciatus   Hyacinthoides vincentina   Limonium lanceolatum   Linaria ficalhoana   Myosotis lusitanica   Narcissus fernandesii   Spiranthes aestivalis   Tetrax tetrax   Thymus camphoratus   Thymus capitellatus   

Target Habitat types

  • 6420 - Mediterranean tall humid grasslands of the Molinio-Holoschoenion
  • 6430 - Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels
  • 7130 - Blanket bogs (* if active bog)
  • 8210 - Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation
  • 91E0 - "Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)"
  • 9240 - Quercus faginea and Quercus canariensis Iberian woods
  • 92A0 - Salix alba and Populus alba galleries
  • 92D0 - Southern riparian galleries and thickets (Nerio-Tamaricetea and Securinegion tinctoriae)
  • 9320 - Olea and Ceratonia forests
  • 9330 - Quercus suber forests
  • 9340 - Quercus ilex and Quercus rotundifolia forests
  • 1240 - Vegetated sea cliffs of the Mediterranean coasts with endemic Limonium spp.
  • 1430 - Halo-nitrophilous scrubs (Pegano-Salsoletea)
  • 2190 - Humid dune slacks
  • 2250 - Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp.
  • 2260 - Cisto-Lavenduletalia dune sclerophyllous scrubs
  • 2270 - Wooded dunes with Pinus pinea and/or Pinus pinaster
  • 3110 - Oligotrophic waters containing very few minerals of sandy plains (Littorelletalia uniflorae)
  • 3130 - Oligotrophic to mesotrophic standing waters with vegetation of the Littorelletea uniflorae and/or of the Isoëto-Nanojuncetea
  • 3150 - Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition - type vegetation
  • 3160 - Natural dystrophic lakes and ponds
  • 4020 - Temperate Atlantic wet heaths with Erica ciliaris and Erica tetralix
  • 5210 - Arborescent matorral with Juniperus spp.
  • 5330 - Thermo-Mediterranean and pre-desert scrub
  • 6110 - Rupicolous calcareous or basophilic grasslands of the Alysso-Sedion albi
  • 6210 - Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (* important orchid sites)
  • 6220 - Pseudo-steppe with grasses and annuals of the Thero-Brachypodietea
  • 6310 - Dehesas with evergreen Quercus spp.
  • 6410 - "Molinia meadows on calcareous, peaty or clayey-silt-laden soils (Molinion caeruleae)"

Natura 2000 sites

SCI PTCON0009 Estuário do Tejo
SCI PTCON0010 Arrábida/Espichel
SCI PTCON0011 Estuário do Sado
SCI PTCON0033 Cabrela
SCI PTCON0034 Comporta/Galé



Coordinator AFLOPS
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description The AFLOPS (Associação de Produtores Florestais de Setúbal) is an association of forestry producers aiming at the preservation and valorisation of forests and natural areas.
Partners None


Project reference LIFE98 NAT/P/005235
Duration 01-OCT-1998 to 30-SEP -2002
Total budget 3,982,977.14 €
EU contribution 2,788,084.00 €
Project location Lisboa e vale do Tejo(Portugal) Alentejo(Portugal)


Read more:

CD-ROM Title: Flora, fauna and habitats of the Sado Setúbal Natura 2000 sites
Project web site The beneficiary Web Site includes a brief description in Portuguese of its LIFE projects (Nature and Environment).
Video feature Title: LIFE Nature and LIFE Environment project in Sado Setúbal Author: AFLOPS Year: 2000


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