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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   The proposed Biosphere Reserve covers the total terrestrial area of Flores Island (Archipelago of the Azores) as well as the oceanic area reaching a distance of 3 miles from the coast. Flores Island is the surface part of a seamount located near the Mid Atlantic Riff, originated from the volcanic activity which started less than 10 My. The island as an oval shape with a total area of 14.300 ha. The high central plateau, with an average altitude of 600-700 m above sea level is the major topographic feature of the Island. It is in this area where we can find some of the most important natural habitats of the island as the high altitude turf zones. These habitats have also a major role in the hydrological systems of the island as well as in the landscape features of Flores Island. The island coasts are mostly high cliffs and several small capes, islands and coastal caves as a result of the continuous maritime erosion. The coastal zone is the nesting location for several marine bird species. Special remark to the Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii) that has around 40% of it’s European population nesting in the coastal zone of the Flores Island. Flores Island was not inhabited by the time of the Portuguese discoveries. After a first try for the human settlement in 1470, there was a definitive settlement during the XVI Century under the guidance of João Fonseca. The first colonists came from the Alentejo, in the South of Portugal, from Madeira Island and from Terceira Island (Azores). During the XX Century the population has decreased, mostly due to emigration and aging. Between the census of 1900 and 2001, the population numbers have changed from 8.127 to 3.995 persons. In 2006 the population was 4.059 (1,67% of the Archipelago’s population), sugesting some inversion of the trend. In general, Flores Island has a young demographic structure but aging is the major tendency. The majority (61%) of the active people works in the tertiary, 24% in the secondary sector (especially in the milk industry) and only 16% belongs to the primary sector. All zones of the proposed Biosphere Reserve are contiguous and all of them have a distinct feature making each of them as a land management unit:
- The Nucleus Zone coincide with natural protected areas included in the Island Natural Park under the categories of Natural Reserve or Natural Monument;
- The Buffer Zone correspond with the zones of the Island Natural Park classified as Protected Area for the Management of Species or Habitats, Protected Landscape Area and Area for the protection and Resources Management;
- The Transition Zone includes marine, agro-forestry and urban areas submitted to land and marine specific juridical regulations oriented to a responsible and sustainable management and exploitation.
  Major ecosystem type   Sub-tropical oceanic island
  Major habitats & land cover types   High altitude and wet zone; marine and coastal zone; zone rural; urban zone
  Location   39º24' N ; Longitude: 31º11' W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   59
  Core area(s)   1.615
  Buffer zone(s)   terrestrial, 3.169; marine, 3.974
  Transition area(s) when given   terrestrial, 9.332; marine, 40.529
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   914
  Year designated   2009
  Administrative authorities  
  Brief description   During the last years there were several scientific research projects covering both the natural, environmental and human features of the Flores Island. Most of these projects were promoted with the aim of collecting specific information in order to support the general management of the human and natural systems of the island. The resulting information covering from human health to geology, monitoring of species and habitats is already available and will be the basis for future work, namely promoted by the Biosphere Reserve.
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Abiotic factors, acidic deposition/acid rain, air quality, air temperature, climate, erosion, geology, geomorphology, groundwater, habitat, hydrology, meteorology, monitoring/methodologies, nutrients, physical oceanography/oceans, soil, speleology, topography.
  Biodiversity   Afforestation/Reforestation, algae, alien/invasive/exotic/introduced species, amphibians, autoecology/synecology, beach/soft bottom, benthos, biodiversity, biogeography, biology, birds, breeding/reproduction, coastal/marine, community studies/communities, conservation, ecology, ecosystem assessment, ecosystem functioning/ecosystem structure, ecotone, endemic species, fauna, fishes, flora, forest systems, freshwater/inland water, fungi, home gardens, invertebrates/insects/spiders, island systems/islands, lagoon systems, lichens, mammals, monitoring/methodologies, mountain and highland systems, natural medicinal products, natural resources, plants, rare/endangered/threatened species, temperate forest, vegetation studies/plant cover, volcanic/geothermal systems/volcano, wetlands.
  Socio-economic   Agriculture/Production systems, agroforestry, capacity building, cultural aspects, economically important species, fishery/fisheries, forestry, human health, people-nature relations/man/nature, quality economies, recreation, resource use, social/socio-economic aspects, stakeholders' interests, tourism, traditional practices/ethnology/traditional knowledge, transport.
  Integrated monitoring   Ecosystem approach, education and public awareness, environmental change, environmental quality, infrastructure, land use/land cover, landscape inventorying/monitoring, management issues, mapping, modelling, monitoring/methodologies, planning and zoning measures/zonation, policy issues, rural systems, sustainable development/sustainable use, urban systems/towns/cities, watershed studies/monitoring.
  Contact address    Secretaria Regional do Ambiente e do Mar Rua Cônsul Dabney
Colónia Alemã Apartado 140 9900-014
 Horta, Azores
  Telephone   + 351 292 207 300
  Fax   + 351 292 292 004
  Web site

Last updated: 11/08/2009

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