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SPEA is an Environmental not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support research and conservation of wild birds and their habitats, by promoting sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.
Home  > Priolo and its Habitat > Priolo's Habitat
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Priolo's Habitat

In the actual site of the SPA “Pico da Vara / Ribeira do Guilherme”, exist some habitats included in the Habitat Directive, as of communitarian importance. From these three types should be stressed out, for their importance and the menaces they face, representing priority habitats of Nature 2000: such as the “Macaronesian Laurel Forest”, which are the preferential habitat of Priolo ; the “Endemic macaronesian heaths” and the “Endemic forest with Juniperus sp.

The littoral Laurel forest of the Azores is composed mainly by species like Picconia azorica (Pau-branco) and Myrica faya (Firetree). After the littoral strip we find a termophyle laurel forest which principal components, apart from "Pau-branco" and Firetree, are also Laurus azorica (Azorean Sweet Bay), Erica azorica (Azorean Heather), Viburnum trileasei (Laurustinus) and Frangula azorica (Buckthorn). Finally, we find an altitudinal laurel cloud forest which besides the Azorean Sweet Bay, it is mainly characterised by the presence of Ilex azorica (Azorean Holly), Vaccinium cylindraceum (Azorean Blueberry), Prunus azorica (Azorean Plum) and Juniperus brevifolia (Azorean Cedar). The natural habitat of the Priolo  comprises the non coastal Thermophylic Laurel Forest and the altitudinal Laurel Forest.

The principal species of flora with relevance in the problem of conservation of the Priolo  and its habitat, and which constitute the target-species of the LIFE Priolo Project, could be classified as following:

Native feeding species for the priolo

Scientific name: Ilex azorica

Common Name (Portuguese): Azevinho

Common name (English): Azorean Holly

Family: Aquifoliaceae

Ecology: Present in Laurel Forest, Juniperus and Pittosporum forest between 250 and 750m.

Status: Azorean endemism (in all islands except Graciosa)

Scientific name: Leontodon rigens

Common name (Portuguese): Patalugo-menor

Common name (English): Hawkbit

Family: Asteraceae

Ecology: Rocky slopes, coastal slopes and peat soils between 20 and 800m.

Status: Azorean endemism (except Santa Maria, Graciosa, S. Jorge and Faial)

Scientific name: Vaccinium cylindraceum

Common name (Portuguese): Uva-da-serra

Common name (English): Azorean Blueberry

Family: Ericaceae

Ecology: Laurel forest over 300 m of altitude. It colonizes recent and non anthropic rocky substrates. Humid and exposed places, forests, landslides and mountain warm cavities.

Status: Azorean endemism (except Graciosa)

Scientific name: Prunus azorica

Common name (Portuguese): Ginja, Ginjeira-do-mato

Common name (English): Azorean Plum

Family: Rosaceae

Ecology: Nearly extinct plant existent in shadowy zones between the 500 and the 600m. It is also an important species for Priolo's habitat, from a structural point of view.

Status: Azorean endemism (except Santa Maria, Graciosa and Corvo)

Scientific name: Luzula azorica

Common name (Portuguese): Sargasso

Common name (English): Azorean Woodrush

Family: Juncaceae

Ecology: Very resistant to drought. It is a pioneer in eroded areas. Can be found from 200 to 1100m in laurel forest.

Status: Azorean endemism (except Santa Maria and Graciosa)

Scientific name: Rubus hochstetterorum

Common name (Portuguese): Silvado-manso

Common name (English): Azorean Blackberry

Family: Rosaceae

Ecology: Slopes, precipices, dense laurel forest, natural hedgerows, road and walkways margins (300-700m).

Status: Azorean endemism (except Graciosa)

Exotic species with feeding importance for the Priolo

Scientific name: Clethra arborea

Common name (Portuguese): Cletra, Verdenaz

Common name (English): Lilly-of-the-valley Tree / Madeiran Sweetpepperbush

Family: Clethraceae

Ecology: Although being an important feeding resource for the Priolo , it develops an aggressive invasive role on laurel forest (500-800m).

Status: Introduced in S. Miguel / Endemic form Madeira

Scientific name: Leycesteria formosa

Common name (English): Himalyan Honeysuckle

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Ecology: Ornamental plant escaped from gardens. Appearing in road slopes and walkway margins, Pittosporum, Laurus forest margins and Cryptomeria plantations (500-800m). 

Status: Introduced in S. Miguel

Scientific name: Prunella vulgaris

Common name (Portuguese): Erva-férrea

Common name (English): Common Selfheal

Family: Lamiaceae

Ecology: Humid places, water lines and margins, fields and quagmires.

Status: Introduced

Scientific name: Polygonum capitatum

Common name (Portuguese): Polígono

Common name (English): Pinkhead Smartweed

Family: Polygonaceae

Ecology: Ornamental plant escaped from gardens. Appears at road margins and slopes (<800m).

Status: Introduced

Scientific name: Scrophularia auriculata

Common name (English): Shoreline Figwort

Family: Scrophulariaceae

Ecology: water lines and margins, fields, roads (200-600m).

Status: Introduced

Structural native species of the Priolo's habitat

Scientific name: Myrsine retusa

Common name (Portuguese): Tamujo

Common name (English): Cape Myrtle

Family: Myrsinaceae

Ecology: Very tolerant to drought. Appears in laurel forest in low exposed places, either humid or dry (300-900m).

Status: Native

Scientific name: Laurus azorica

Common name (Portuguese): Louro-da-terra, Loureiro

Common name (English): Laurel / Azorean Sweet Bay

Family: Lauraceae

Ecology: Original laurel forest. Appearing in humid and warm places, reforestation in low and medium altitudes (<900m).

Status: Native from Macaronesia

Scientific name: Viburnum trileasei

Common name (Portuguese): Folhado

Common name (English): Laurustinus

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Ecology: Dense Laurus, Juniperus forest and vegetation with Myrica and Pittosporum (400-800m).

Status: Azorean endemism (except Graciosa)

Scientific name: Erica azorica

Common name (Portuguese): Urze

Common name (English): Azorean Heather

Family: Ericaceae

Ecology: Resistant to exposure and drought. Laurel and cedar forests and coastal slopes (<1500m).

Status: Azorean endemism

Scientific name: Juniperus brevifolia

Common name (Portuguese): Cedro-do-mato

Common name (English): Azorean Cedar

Family: Cupressaceae

Ecology: Dominant tree in ancient azorean forest. Nowadays it just survives in relatively intact areas between 600 and 900m.

Status: Azorean endemism (except Graciosa)

Scientific name: Culcita macrocarpa

Common name (Portuguese): Feto-do-cabelinho

Common name (English): Tree Fern

Family: Dicksoniaceae

Ecology: Humid and shadowy bushes over 300m.

Status: Native from Macaronesia, with some locations on Iberian Peninsula.

Scientific name: Frangula azorica

Common name (Portuguese): Sanguinho

Common name (English): Buckthorn

Family: Rhamnaceae

Ecology: Laurel forest, Myrica faya forest, clearings, rocky places close to water lines and hedgerows (500-700m).

Status: Azorean endemism (except Santa Maria, Graciosa and Corvo)

Scientific name: Picconia azorica

Common name (Portuguese): Pau-branco

Family: Oleaceae

Ecology: Myrica and Pittosporum forests up to 750m and in coastal slopes.

Status: Azorean endemism (except Graciosa)

Scientific name: Woodwardia radicans

Common name (Portuguese): Feto-do-botão

Common name (English): Rooting Chainfern

Family: Blechnaceae

Ecology: Protected bushes and forest, little river margins and fresh slopes from 400 to 1800m.

Status: Native from Macaronesia

 

Exotic plant species that threaten the conservation of the Priolo an its habitat

Scientific name: Clethra arborea

Common name (Portuguese): Cletra, Verdenaz

Common name (English): Lilly-of-the-valley Tree / Madeiran Sweetpepperbush

Family: Clethraceae

Ecology: Although being an important feeding resource for the Priolo it develops an aggressive invasive role on laurel forest (500-800m).

Status: Introduced in S. Miguel / Madeiran endemism

Scientific name: Hedychium gardneranum

Common name (Portuguese): Conteira, Roca-da-velha

Common name (English): Yellow Ginger-lilly

Family: Zingiberaceae

Ecology: Ornamental plant escaped form gardens. High invasive potential representing a great threat to azorean laurel forest. Present in sub layer of all kinds of forest, natural and anthropic slopes cultivated lands, and forest margins (<950m).

Status: Introduced

Scientific name: Pittosporum undulatum

Common name (Portuguese): Incenso

Common name (English): Australian cheesewood / Victorian box

Family: Pittosporaceae

Ecology: Invasive plant, introduced as protection for orange plantations. Existent as protection, bushes and hedgerows, it supposes one of the most problematic hazards for the low and medium altitude forests of Erica sp. and Myrica faya (50-650m).

Status: Introduced

 

Scientific name: Gunnera tinctoria

Common name (Portuguese): Gigante

Common name (English): Chilean Gunnera

Family: Gunneraceae

Ecology: Ornamental plant escaped form gardens. Highly invasive in wet fields, ravines and slopes (500-700m).

Status: Introduced in S. Miguel

Scientific name: Acacia melanoxylon

Common name (Portuguese): Acácia

Common name (English): Australian Blackwood

Family: Fabaceae

Ecology: Cultivated for wood. Naturalized, it expands in ravines and forests below (<700m).

Status: Introduced



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