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. The starting date only, remains the same. This project is part of a multi-beneficiaries project; and therefore the summaries are the same for each sub-project.
The designation of special areas of conservation (SACs) for future integration into the Natura 2000 network implied being able to indicate the habitat types listed under Annex I of the associated Habitats Directive and of the native species listed under Annex II present in each SAC. The information available within the Portuguese territory on several of these species was, however, clearly insufficient at the time this project was approved (1994). Therefore, there was an urgent need to update the existing knowledge, in order to complete the inventory of the sites, to establish protection measures for priority species and natural habitats, as well as to propose adequate legislation for the conservation of the Portuguese natural heritage. The results of this project would give the conservation authorities the evidence they needed to enter into dialogue with their colleagues in other ministries and with interest groups.
The project’s global objective was to co-ordinate an action plan that would bring together universities, research institutes, local and regional authorities and NGOs, to complete inventories on a number of important plant and animal species in Portugal (i.e. listed in Annexes I and II of the Habitats Directive).
Specific objectives were:
1. To provide information on 14 animal species: Lynx pardinus, Canis lupus, Lutra lutra, Galemys pyrenaicus, Lacerta monticola, Lacerta schreiberi, Emys orbicularis, Mauremys leprosa, Chioglossa lusitanica, Austropotamobius pallipes, Platalea leucorodia, Ardeola ralloides, Ardea purpurea and Chlidonias hybridus.
2. To provide information on 14 plant species: Silene rothmaleri, S. velutina, Tuberaria major, Convolvulus fernandesii, Jonopsidium acaule, Thymus camphoratus, T. cephalotos, Astragalus algarbiensis, Ononis hackelii, Asphodelus bento-rainhae, Armeria rouyana, Linaria ficalhoana, Linaria ricardoi and Eryngium viviparum.
Other goals were to: (i) create a database on the targeted animal and plant species; (ii) to prepare a management plan for the 529 ha Paul do Boquilobo wetland site; and (iii) to raise public awareness of the importance of Portugal’s natural heritage, particularly among key socio-economic and political groups.
This LIFE project, together with other Portuguese sub-projects played an important role in the development and strengthening of a nature conservation policy in Portugal.
Together the projects made an enormous contribution towards the compilation of data on the country’s fauna, flora and natural habitats and were invaluable in the task of preparing the lists of the country’s proposed SCIs and SPAs. Information from these pioneer projects was also used in the development and evaluation of Environmental Impact Assessment Studies and in the production of the first Red Data Book on the Vascular Flora of Continental Portugal.
1. Specifically, this project successfully compiled detailed information for 13 animal species, (e.g. on their distribution, population trends, assessment of conservation status, identification of priority areas for conservation and proposal of conservation measures). Note, although information on 14 animal species was foreseen by the project, two species Tymus cephalotos and S. velutina – that were not found in Portugal – were replaced by Armeria velutina.
2. Detailed information for another 14 plant species was compiled as foreseen (e.g. on distribution, conservation status, ecology, biology, threats and existing and proposed conservation measures). Although not specified in the project proposal, a map (1:25.000 scale) of the natural and semi-natural vegetation was developed through photo-interpretation and field confirmation. By the end of the project, 40% of the national territory had been mapped and 92% was digitised. An information system on the Portuguese natural heritage, the “Sistema de Informação sobre o Património Natural – SIPNAT” was also developed. See the ICN homepage (www.icn.pt)
The project also developed a detailed management plan for the Paul do Boquilobo natural reserve, a 529 ha wetland. This included an inventory of several animal and plant species, including numerous birds (ie Platalea leucorodia, Ardeola ralloides, Ardea purpurea and Chlidonias hybridus). Although not foreseen, several of the management measures proposed – particularly on protecting the aquatic vegetation from the exotic Louisiana crayfish and water pollution control – were also implemented.
Awareness raising and information, including the project results, were disseminated widely in several scientific and general publications and at seminars and conferences. A total of 68 oral presentations were given and posters were produced. Dissemination outputs included eight thematic publications: seven on specific species (e.g. C. lusitanica, E. orbicularis and M. leprosa, L. monticola, L. schreiberi, G. pyrenaicus and L. lutra) and a more general publication on vegetation maps.