Friday, 22 April 2011

International Day of Monuments and Sites

The Environmental Centre of Priolo collaborated with the City Council of Nordeste in the commemoration of the International Day of Monuments and Sites.

Saturday, April 16th, a pedestrian trail was held in the unique and fascinating Planalto dos Graminhais. The participants got to know the important role of the peats of Graminhais in retaining and filtering water and the action taken to recover this rich and unique habitat in the Azores. The peats of Graminhais are composed by Sphagnum, locally known as Musgão, a bryophyte capable of holding 7 times its weight in water and filtering it of impurities, resulting in water supplies of high quality, in addition to protecting the soil from heavy rainfall.

8 people attended this celebration, among whom were a group of Scouts of Nordeste . Despite the unstable weather that has hit, without hesitation the scouts took the trail of the Planalto dos Graminhais towards Pico da Vara, an emblematic place of the region.

In the afternoon, the celebration of the International Day of Monuments and Sites have been accompanied by a lecture on the importance of peatlands, in the Centro Cultural Padre Manuel Raposo, municipality of Sto. Antonio Nordestinho. Here at the Cultural Center is also a Photo Exhibition of the Planalto dos Graminhais and Pico da Vara, from Pedro Monteiro, which you can visit from monday to thursday until April 29th, from 9am to 16 pm.

We thank all participants for your presence in the hope of having spent a great Day of Monuments and Sites.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Monitoring the Peats

One of the actions of the Project Life Sustainable Laurel is the recovery of the Peats of Sphagnum sp. (better known locally by Musgão) in the Planalto dos Graminhais, located partly in the SPA Pico da Vara / Ribeira do Guilherme since 2008 and fully protected by the Natural Park of the Island of Sao Miguel. Since 2009 work is being conducted by SPEA towards a better understanding of the peats.

(Peats of Planalto dos Graminhais)

One of the best indicators for evaluating the quality of the peats is its ability to retain water. So in 2010 the first 19 perforated pipes were placed in order to monitor the water level in the turfs, installed in 24 hectares that are under the management of the Forestry Service. The initial aim was to determine the variations between the rainy season (February) and the driest period (July) of the year; it was found that the only areas where water was maintained throughout the whole year were the areas dominated by Sphagnum unlike other areas dominated by herbaceous and shrubs or even by other bryophytes.

(Installing the monitoring pipes)

With the help of technicians, SPEA has improved this monitoring system with the installation of 39 more perforated pipes in January of this year, that now covers the entire area interventioned by the project. With a view to monitoring more directly, in the month of March, we have identified 10 locations where we settled 30 perforated tubes that, in addition to monitor the water in the turfs, will monitor the water retained in the mineral topsoil. The tubes will be monitored every two months.

(Installing the monitoring pipes)

Working conditions in the peats of Graminhais are demanding, since it is located over 900 m above sea level, presents a very unstable climate which affects the work and where not even in the best of days the site is easy to exploit.

We take now to thank the SPEA team and the one external to the SPEA, responsible for all this work in the conservation of the Peats of Planalto dos Graminhais!

SPEA was present in the Conservation Journeys of Aldeia

In the past weekend, 2nd and 3rd April, the Association Aldeia organized its V Journeys of Conservation Biology, this year dedicated to forests.

In Anadia, dozens of participants attended the lectures given by researchers and technicians, who addressed various topics within the conservation of forest resources. Control of exotic species, forest management and certification, land use and fires, were among the topics presented and discussed by a very interested audience.

The Project Sustainable Laurel was present with a presentation about some of the actions and achievements of the projects that have been developed in recent years in San Miguel for the recovery of the Laurel Forest, which besides being the natural forest of the Azores, is also essential habitat for Priolo, an endemic bird of this island.

Our congratulations and thanks to the organization of the Aldeia and wishes for success in their future activities.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The Project has a new Area of Germination!

During the year 2010 many seeds were collected for which there was no room, once they reached the stage of germination. Thus, we proceeded to build a new experimental area of germination of endemic plants in the area of Pico de Vereda - Labaçal.

32 plant beds were built mostly for Heather and Azorean holly, seeds that were in stock. We surrounded the area of germination with a safety net, meant to keep rabbits out, and in addition was created a drainage ditch for the possible excess of water. The area was thus enriched with the establishement of the new area of plant germination, it serves to improve the planting area and also increase the production of plants.

The whole area can be visited and is useful in environmental education for schools and the general public. Visite us! contacte the Environmental Center of Priolo through