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National plan for conservation of endangered plans (1st phase) (Flora nacional)
Date du début: 1 nov. 2002, Date de fin: 31 déc. 2006 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

Background The project encompasses eight locations throughout the country, all of which form part of the EU Natura 2000 network. Each location is home to significant populations of eight rare species of flora, seven of which are native to Portugal: Narcissus scaberulus, Omphalodes kuzinskyanae, Convolvulus fernandesii, Linaria ricardoi, Plantago almogravensis, Plantago algarbiensis, Tuberaria major and Marsilea quadrifolia, which is found outside Portugal. Five of the eight species covered by the project are found in coastal zones, where they are threatened by the intense human pressure common to most coastal ecosystems. Building, extractive industries, tillage and afforestation add to the threat to habitats and species. Some species endangered face dwindling populations. Objectives The project aimed to conserve the eight aforementioned species of endangered flora. This would be achieved by stabilising or increasing their relative populations and distribution. To this end, the project planned to draw up management and action plans, acquire land, implement micro-reserves, restore habitats, segregate sensitive areas and reorganise access routes, strengthen and reintroduce populations, and monitor populations as well as the project’s actions. A series of promotional measures, such as the publication of information material, implementation of marked trails, information events and guided tours, were also planned. Results This project's proposal has been elaborated based on incorrect information on the target species. The new knowledge on the target species revealed a different reality on their conservation needs, distribution and abundance on the project implementation areas. As a result, the project was concluded with a reduced implementation of the planned activities. However, most of the conservation objectives of the project were reached using different management tools of those initially proposed, such as the Sectorial Plan of the N2000 network or the Management Plans of the respective Natural Parks. Some of the actions lost pertinence due to the extinction of species in the project implementation area or due to the lower presence of the target species in the foreseen areas, thus the respective conservation objectives were not reached. In other cases, e.g. Convulvulus fernandesii, the threats were different than expected. Although this can be considered a good preliminary result of the project, it also entailed the need to re-dimension a number of its aspects, among them, the probable need to re-design the boundaries of some pSCI. One of the main findings was that the species Marsilea quadrifolia had disappeared from the project implementation area. In 2004 the beneficiary made new findings on the distribution and population estimates of the target species, but the work was reduced due to the budget restrictions suffered by the ICN and, in a lesser extent, to some technical difficulties. Nevertheless, the project produced an important update of the knowledge on species’ distribution areas, population numbers, threats and conservation measures. The monitoring of target-species’ distribution provided new data and in some cases, some of the identified threats do not present a real concern in terms of the species long-term conservation. Additionally, in order to contribute to the increase in population numbers, actions such as planting, removing of garbage and invasive species were developed and new in vitro reproduction techniques were tested. Awareness-raising activities aimed at the general public included distributing information leaflets, setting up information boards near the sites where species occur and also near the interpretation footpaths installed in the Convolvulus fernandesii’s area. Geo-referenced information on species distribution, as well as information on the most adequate conservation measures, was sent to public institutions with planning responsibilities. The project also drew up management guidelines to protect these flora species. These measures were included in an official “Plan for the Nature 2000 Sites” prepared by the Nature Conservation Institute during 2006. This plan is a very important land-use instrument which will guide the management of the Nature 2000 sites, as its guidelines must be adapted into rules and management actions to be included in every land-use instrument, from the regional to the municipal level. The implementation of this plan is mandatory to public administration, and, as a result, the integration of the most adequate management guidelines to protect the eight target-species of the project is probably the best way to ensure the implementation of the conservation measures and their effective conservation.


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