Monday, 28 February 2011

9th Meeting of the Executive Committee - Review of 2010

On January 19, all entities involved in the Project-LIFE Sustainable Laurel participated in the meetings of the executive committee of the project, to get informed about the state of implementation of the actions contemplated until then, other than the ones observed on the field the previous day.

The meeting was attended by the Regional Director of Environment, which recognized the limitations of the project, financially wise, for the dimensions of the threats faced, but considered it a success and proved to be very satisfied with the results.

The balance for 2010 was considered, in general, as very encouraging and created huge expectations for this year 2011, where major developments are expected in the majority of the shares.

"The goal was to try to recover the largest possible area, but due to the funding assigned to the project, the aim is to make an effective attack in the two municipalities with the highest incidence, so that the results are positive in the preservation of what we have of endemic in the Azores ", said John Bettencourt. in Diary of the Azores

"The results are very positive. In the nursery and greenhouse there are about 40,000 endemic species, which are being planted in areas like Serra da Tronqueira and Graminhais, and to replace the invasive flora that has proliferated throughout the islands of the archipelago." in Diary of the Azores

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Jaime's Tale

The adventures of Priolo Jaime continue to delight the children of the island of Sao Miguel! This time on February 14, 2010, they reached more than 60 students from the elementary school of the Colégio do Castanheiro in Ponta Delgada. This is a tale where a young Priolo, called Jaime, discovers the Laurel forest, where he meets the species of plants from which priolos feed, where he learns to fly, and also gets to known the conservation actions, made by humans, necessary for its survival.

In this activity there was also time to talk about the bird Goldcrest, also an inhabitant of Laurel forest and the smallest bird in Europe, with whom the children are very sympathetic.

This activity was aimed to raise awareness about Priolo, Goldcrest and the Laurel Forest, between the students of the College of Chestnut, since at this school two of their classrooms will be named Priolo and Goldcrest.

If you are interested in collaborating with our activities, we have several waiting for you, targeted to schools and students of various ages. Check the website of the Environmental Center Priolo ( and do not hesitate to contact us (

Cape Myrtle seeds

This season, it appears that there are seeds ready to be collected in the Laurel forest of the Azores, and these are the Cape Myrtle seeds (Myrsine retusa).

On a rainy day, we collected around 700 fruits of Cape Myrtle on the area of Tronqueira Miradouro, from which we then withdraw the seed. For this, the fruits are placed in water to soften, the pulp is removed and the seeds separated. These seeds are germinated in the nursery of the municipality Povoação, from which plants will emerge, and grow until they're ready for replanting in the field.

In another area, the Pico Verde, in the heart of Serra da Tronqueira, it was found that the seeds were not ready for collecting, so we will return to the place to gather some other time.

It should be noted that the results in 2010 were very positive with a collection of around 2000 seeds of Cape Myrtle, at Serra da Tronqueira. The first germinations (at the end of last January) were confirmed shortly after eight months of sowing, and we are expecting even better results.

This way one more species of the Laurel Forest was gathered and added to our Project-LIFE's nursery, that together with Azorean Plum, Fire trees, Laurustinus, Azorean heather, Picconia azorica, among others, will repopulate our areas of intervention and recovery of the Azorean Laurel Forest.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Positive production at the plant nursery

The C1 action of Project-LIFE Sustainable Laurel initiated in January 2009, and established that by the end of the 3rd year of the project, the Endemic Plant Nursery should be able to produce 25,000 plants per year. At the end of 2010, it was found that the annual production at the nursery, located in the municipality of Povoação, was of 33,000 plants; of these 8700 plants have been placed on the ground in specific areas of recovery of the natural forest. Thus, the production set initially, was hit in the 2nd year of the project. An excellent result for everyone involved in this action.

The main species produced are the ones of rapid growth such as Azorean heather, Fire-tree and Azorean plum; these are native plants that have higher germination rates. The challenge now is to produce the greatest diversity of native plants as possible, taking into account that some species take about 1 to 2 years to germinate, as is the case of the Azorean holly and Laurustinus. The nursery is full of plants (both inside and outside), so the outter space is being increased gradually by the field team, in order to respond to the optimal production. We hope that in 2011 we achieve even better results!

Plantation of Azores' endemic species

On Saturday, January 29th, we held another volunteering activity, of plantation of Azores' endemic species.

One of the objectives of the Project-LIFE Sustainable Laurel is to recover the original forest of San Miguel, the Laurel Forest, which is one of the most threatened ecosystems, and where many unique species live.

Under this project, nurseries were established in the municipality of Povoação, where there are endemic and native plants being produced, that are then used to recover forest areas where work has been done to eliminate the biggest threats to the laurel: invasive alien species, such as Yellow-ginger-lilly and Australian cheesewood.

The support of EVERYONE is crucial in this struggle to preserve the unique natural wealth of the Azores. And the support of volunteers is very important to the success of this project.

In this activity, the volunteers did an excellent job and in the end about 100 plants were placed on the ground. Among the native species that are produced in the nurseries of the Project-LIFE Sustainable Laurel we planted Azorean plum, Fire-tree andAzorean heath .

After planting, the volunteers had a well deserved picnic at Sunset Miradouro , and visited the nursery where the plants used for reforestation are produced.

We thank you, enthusiastic and dedicated to people for participating once again in our activities, and for those who joined us for the first time, we hope you have spent a beautiful morning and that you continue to contribute to the success of these actions.

If you are interested in working with us to conserve some of the most threatened habitats of the Azores, be aware of upcoming activities ( or have a group interested, contact us to arrange an activity together: centropriolo@spea. pt

Wednesday, 2 February 2011


On 28, 29 and 30 January 2011 the natural forest of the Azores and the Bogs of Graminhais were represented in Idanha-a-Nova, through the participation of André Batista from Priolo's Environmental Center in the XVIII Pedagogical Conference of Environmental Education "LearnScapes", promoted by the Portuguese Association for Environmental Education.

In communication with the theme "Laurel Forest as a living laboratory, learning with and in Nature: Practice and Approaches of Education in Nature" was presented the work of the Priolo's Environmental Centre regarding environmental education and awareness around the priority habitats, present in the SPA Pico da Vara / Ribeira do Guilherme.

Under the Project LIFE Sustainable Laurel, which aims to conserve areas of priority habitats present in the SPA Pico da Vara / Ribeira do Guilherme and ensure its long-term sustainability, we developed new educational activities. For example, the activity "Seed to Plant", which consists of a guided tour of the nursery where the project produces Azores' endemic plants, during which students can understand the different stages of plant production in nurseries and contribute to the nursery with the implementation of an endemic plant seed or planting in specific areas intervened by the Project LIFE Sustainable Laurel.

In the panel 'Strategies' round and approaches in the Environmental Education field trips", the presentation "Discovering the Laurel Forest" was honored as a successful activity. This activity is intended for students in 3rd and 4th year, as well as students of the 2nd cycle, and allows them to acquire basic but essential information on the natural forest of Azores and their significance, as well as distinguish the native plants from alien species.