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LIFE VIDALIA - LIFE VIDALIA – Valorização e Inovação Dirigidos à Azorina e Lotus nas Ilhas Açorianas

LIFE17 NAT/PT/000510


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Contact details:

Contact person: Joao MELO
Tel: 351966359245
Email: Life.vidalia@azores.gov.pt



Project description:

Background

Two endemic flora species of the Azores are listed in Annex B of the Habitats Directive as a priority for conservation: Azorina vidalii (Azores bellflower) and Lotus azoricus. They are typically found in coastal areas. The conservation status of these two species was assessed in 2013 as ‘Unfavourable – Inadequate’ for Azorina vidalii and ‘Unfavourable – Bad’ for Lotus azoricus, following negative population trends. Azorina vidalii is listed as ‘Endangered’ by the IUCN, whereas the status of Lotus azoricus has yet to be assessed. Several threats have combined to account for their unfavourable conservation status, including the presence of invasive alien species (invasive plants and rodents), reductions in the quality of surrounding habitat, and a lack of awareness of the relevance of these species with respect to global biodiversity conservation goals.


Objectives

The objective of LIFE VIDALIA is to implement actions on the Azorean islands where the threatened endemic species Azorina vidalii and Lotus azoricus occur. The aim is to improve the conservation status of these species from ‘Unfavourable’ to ‘Favourable’, meaning that the species have long-term viability, with no reduction in their natural range and a sufficiently large and secure habitat. To achieve this objective, in a cost-efficient manner, the project will focus on three Azorean islands, enabling conservation work to be undertaken on all the Natura 2000 sites on those islands. The project foresees the replication of its methods on the other six islands post-LIFE, making use of the additional organisational capacity built during the project. The project team will conduct extensive monitoring, including ecological and socioeconomic assessments. The endemic flowering plants, particularly Azorina, are considered “umbrella species”, and will be used as a focus for a range of environmental education and stakeholder engagement activities.

The project directly contributes to the objectives of the Habitats Directive and the EU Biodiversity Strategy. It also helps implement the Azorean Natura 2000 PAF, by implementing in situ conservation actions for priority species and restoring habitats through the control of invasive alien species.

Expected results:

  • Improved conservation status (from ‘Unfavourable’ to ‘Favourable’) of two endemic Habitats Directive priority species, Azorina vidalii and Lotus azoricus, on three of the nine islands of the Azores, embracing all of the known populations on these target islands (16 Azorina vidalii, 4 Lotus azoricus);
  • Reinforcement of 20 populations of the two plant species, to around 10 400 individuals of Azorina vidalii and 2 750 individuals of Lotus azoricus (an increase of 158 % and 217 %, respectively, compared to current levels);
  • Improved habitat conditions for further expansion and to reduce threats, on 96 ha of land surrounding populations (by planting native flora, reducing invasive flora to 0 % and reducing rodent population density by 75 %);
  • Better technical knowledge available to replicate the methods, including an improved propagation protocol for Lotus azoricus, new methods for safer rodent control, and new guidance for control of eight flora species that are among Macaronesia’s most common invasive species (Aptenia cordifolia, Tetragonia tetragonioides, Drosanthemum floribundum, Cyrtomium falcatum, Tamarix africana, Osteospermum fruticosum, Cynodon dactylon, and Spartina paten);
  • Improved capacity to face future conservation needs in the Azores, by enlargement of a plant nursery for rare and endangered species that will continue to support post-LIFE work on all the Azorean islands, by recruiting staff (2 technical, 6 operational) for ongoing work, such as invasive species control and the replication and transfer of methods; and
  • Raised awareness and behavioural change in several target audiences, including schoolchildren and relevant stakeholders for Natura 2000 conservation (e.g. NGOs, tourism agents).


Results


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Environmental issues addressed:

Themes

Species - Plants


Keywords

endangered species‚  ecological assessment‚  endemic species‚  environmental education‚  monitoring‚  island


Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Regulation 1143/2014 - Prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien ...
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...

Target species

 Azorina vidalii   Lotus azoricus   


Natura 2000 sites

SCI PTFAI0004 Caldeira e Capelinhos - Ilha do Faial
SCI PTFAI0005 Monte da Guia - Ilha do Faial
SCI PTFAI0006 Ponta do Varadouro - Ilha do Faial
SCI PTFAI0007 Morro de Castelo Branco - Ilha do Faial
SCI PTJOR0013 Ponta dos Rosais - Ilha de S. Jorge
SCI PTJOR0014 Costa NE e Ponta do Topo - Ilha de S. Jorge
SCI PTPIC0010 Ponta da Ilha - Ilha do Pico
SCI PTPIC0011 Lajes do Pico - Ilha do Pico
SCI PTPIC0012 Ilhéus da Madalena - Ilha do Pico


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Beneficiaries:

Coordinator Direco Regional do Ambiente
Type of organisation Regional authority
Description The Regional Government of the Azores is the public authority responsible for nature conservation, including the management of Natura 2000 network sites, on the nine islands comprising the Azores.
Partners Sociedade de Gestão Ambiental e Conservação da Natureza, AZORINA, S.A., Portugal

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Project reference LIFE17 NAT/PT/000510
Duration 01-JUL-2018 to 30-JUN -2023
Total budget 1,757,577.00 €
EU contribution 1,318,182.00 €
Project location Açores(Portugal)

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Read more:

Project web site Project's website

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