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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   Paúl do Boquilobo Biosphere Reserve in Central Portugal consists of a natural freshwater wetland surrounded by marshes, which lie in a bend of the Almonda River. Floods from the Tejo River naturally inundate the site in winter and part of it subsequently dries out when the water table is mechanically lowered in spring to create larger areas for cultivation. The site may also act as a flooding buffer zone contributing to increased protection of adjoining farmland areas against erosion caused by winter floods. For many years this wetland has been a valuable sink for alluvial particles carried in by the Tejo River creating rich cultivated areas, which have contributed to the economic wealth of the area. The marshes have characteristic aquatic vegetation in permanently inundated areas. Lines of cottonwood (Populus sp.), willow (Salix sp.) and other trees make up characteristic hedges around the wetland and offer excellent cover for breeding birds and other fauna. Three core areas are designated including the densest willow growths. Sunflower and other fast-growing annuals are grown on fertile sediments around the marsh. The wetland, which is also a Ramsar site, is a very important wintering site for waterbirds in Portugal, with concentrations of ducks pintail (Anas acuta) and cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis), little egret (Egretta garzetta), black-crowned night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) and a growing population of the spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia). The most obvious threat to the ecosystem is the uncontrolled spread of the water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), an exotic, invasive aquatic plant now forming dense floating mats over extensive areas in the wetland. In the surrounding area and catchment, excessive water pumping for agriculture has caused problems in the area in drier years. The local population nearby is mainly involved in agriculture including extensive cultivation.. The site is of considerable conservation value and scientific interest.
  Major ecosystem type   Temperate freshwater wetlands
  Major habitats & land cover types   Marsh vegetation around lake with reedbeds, willow (Salix spp.), poplars (Populus spp.) and Fraxinus angustifolia; Mediterranean sclerophyllous forest dominated by oak species (Quercus suber, Q. faginae and Q. ilex rotundifolia); sweat water bodies with species such as Scirpus lacustris, Thyfa angustifolia and Phragmites australis, invasion by Eichornia crassipes has begun; agroecosystems with maize, and natural pastures
  Location   39°23'N; 08°32'W (central point)
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   554
  Core area(s)   196
  Buffer zone(s)   358
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +15 to +32
  Year designated   1981
  Administrative authorities   Instituto da Conservação da Natureza, tutela do Ministério do Ambiente e do Ordenamento do Território
  Brief description   Monitoring of birds
Monitoring of water quality
Regulation of ground water level
Ecosystem restoration (reforestation of a “montado” area (agro-forestry system dominated by cork-oak and holm-oak communities; fighting invasive species, particularly the water hyacint (Eichornia crassipes))
Effects of agricultural uses
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Groundwater, hydrology, monitoring/methodologies.
  Biodiversity   Afforestation/Reforestation, alien/invasive/exotic/introduced species, birds, methodologies, restoration/rehabilitation/redevelopment.
  Socio-economic   Agriculture/Production systems, agroforestry.
  Integrated monitoring   Impact and risk studies/Environmental impact.
  Contact address    
Reserva Natural do Paul do Boquilobo
Apartado 27
  Telephone   (351.249) 820 550
  Fax   (351.249) 820 378
  Web site

Last updated: 09/03/2005

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