Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Peatbogs highlighted in Povoação

The School Program of the Priolo's Environmental Center and the Life Sustainable Laurel Forest Project continues to develop activities in the municipality of Povoação. In total, 56 students from the 8th grade of the Basic School of Povoação watched yesterday, April 8, 2013, a lecture on the peatbogs, their rarity and importance, held by one of the LIFE Sustainable Laurel Forest Project technicians involved in the recovery of this habitat in São Miguel, Rui Botelho.

The peatbogs occupy 3% of the land surface and have 10% of the world's fresh water available for humans. These figures show the importance of the peatbogs in water retention that takes on increasing importance nowadays. In Azores, this type of habitat could be found in the tallest points of all islands in the archipelago, with the exception of Santa Maria and Graciosa, but due to several factors it began to be increasingly rare. The main threats to this habitat are its conversion to grassland or Cryptomeria forest, creating access or drainage ditches, mobilization of land, by grazing animals, introduction of exotic vegetation and even trampling by visitors.

The LIFE project, developed by SPEA in São Miguel, interventioned about 75 acres of this habitat in the Planalto dos Graminhais, an area included in the SPA Pico da Vara / Ribeira do Guilherme and where it can be found areas highly altered and degraded by human activities and invasion of alien species that threaten the fragile balance of this habitat. Among the main invasive species include the Chilean Rhubarb Gunnera tinctoria, Tree Fern Dicksonia artica Madeira Sweet Pepperbush Clethra arborea, brambles Rubus sp. and the Hydrangea Hydrangea macrophylla.

The students discovered a habitat that is close to them but for many of them, still unknown on what concerns to its function and understood the importance of protecting and developing recovery actions as heavy and slow as those carried out on the Planalto dos Graminhais.

The Life Sustainable Laurel Forest Project and the Priolo's Environmental Center thank all who attended this lecture and they invited everyone to visit this habitat so rare and important for the municipality of Povoação and Nordeste.

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