Friday, 17 August 2012

Searching for the Azorean Juniper

Since April, that the team from the Sustainable Laurel Life Project, is looking  to obtain more information about one of the most emblematic trees from the azorian endemic flora, known has Azorean Juniper or Juniper (Juniperus brevifolia). This species and their forest formations are protected nationally and internationally. 

The Azorean Juniper is a key species in many natural communities in Azores. His decline may have serious consequences in the natural ecosystems, on the quality and quantity of the water resources, in the soil retention and in the islands flora and fauna.
 Juniperus brevifolia shrub-like

Nowadays the Azorean Juniper woodland was reduced by human action. Since inhabiting the islands that this species where exploited to feed the cattle, to obtain vegetal coal, implementation of pastures and in the civil construction and furniture.

With this study we aim to get to know, in more detail, the species distribution area and conservation status in the Special Protection Areal Pico da Vara/Ribeira do Guilherme, in the municipalities of Povoação and Nordeste, the last patch of natural vegetation of São Miguel’s island.

The first phase of work is to identify the Azorean Juniper patches in Serra da Tronqueira, Graminhais, Pico Verde, Pico da Vara and Pico Bartolomeu, among others, to do so it was used a photo interpretation and validation on the field. After this first phase is concluded it will be carried out a sampling from these populations to determine their structure.

This work is being coordinated by Lourdes Peñil, a Forest Engineer from Universidade Politécnica de Madrid (Spain).

Pico Bartolomeu's observation

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