Madeira Natural ParkLocals 

Madeira Natural Park

The Natural Park of Madeira (PNM) is a unique protected area, either by the rich heritage and natural beauty of landscapes terminating either by heritage and by being fully open to the public. Includes areas with different protection status, the highest since it corresponds to total and partial reserves, down to the lowest, the transition zone. This zone extends over the entire periphery and represents about 60% of the area of pneumonia, having the buffer function, that is, to absorb the impacts of human intervention, being essentially rural areas.

It also includes areas of protected landscape, which feature panoramas natural, semi-natural and humanized aesthetic value, the result of a harmonious human intervention in the environment.

Visit the PNM is to discover the nature! In addition to discovering a space conservation and wildlife observation, is recreational space and recreation, preservation of the memories of the past, rural traditions, in addition to the built heritage of agricultural land and forest, from native forest, laurel, until of the exotic.

These particular features while differentiated nature park make this so interesting, not only in the regional context, as well as, national, and global.

Starting a walk by the sea, up the slope, through the agricultural fields with haystacks and characteristic poles, passing through dense forest and continuing through the high mountains, can be observed several natural and humanized ecosystems, some of which are highlighted by high biological values that house, as the Laurel Forest of Madeira, Mountain Massif and the Ponta de São Lourenço.


PNM is a protected area covering about two thirds of the territory of Madeira, or the equivalent of 67% of its surface. Includes all counties, from the far east to west, with higher expression in the central and north coast.

In general, we can say that virtually the entire island of Madeira is PNM, with the exception of urban centers that are located mostly in the southern slope, which lies about 70% of the population, and some locations in the north. The municipality of Calheta is the one with the highest portion of this area. Following is the Porto Moniz, with the highest percentage of around 84% of its area, while Funchal and Santa Cruz have the lowest natural parkland.

This protected area is characterized by having high natural values that constitute a relic worldwide and include some species at risk of extinction.

It also includes areas with considerable cultural value of which highlight areas of protected landscape and some rural areas where agricultural activities developed in terraces have left printed in landscape the effort of centuries of human occupation and where the pair of a rich and diverse built heritage can find rural knowledge transmitted orally from generation to generation.


he PNM area has high natural values and diverse, internationally recognized occurring mainly in mountainous Massif Central, in the laurel forest and the Ponta de São Lourenço.

Madeira Natural Park 2


Habitats of Community Interest present in Mountainous Massif Central:
Mediterranean temporary ponds;

  • Endemic Macaronesian heaths;
  • Mesophylls Macaronesian meadows;
  • Siliceous rocky slopes with vegetation chasmophytic;
  • Siliceous rock with pioneer vegetation of the Sedo-Scleranthion or the Sedo albi-Veronicion dillenii;
  • Endemic forests with Juniperus spp.

Habitats of Community Interest present in Madeira Laurel:
Siliceous rocky slopes with vegetation chasmophytic;

  • Macaronesian laurel forests;

Habitats of Community Interest present in Ponta de São Lourenço:
Cliffs with endemic flora of the Macaronesian coasts;

  • Low formations of Euphorbia close to cliffs.


The fish fauna of the PNM is extremely rich in either vertebrates or invertebrates, including endemic terrestrial mollusks, and very significantly, the insects.
In Laurel avifauna has a low number of species and a high rate of endemism. In the innermost areas of the forest and in better condition are observed regularly, about seven species of birds. The highlight is the flagship mandatory long-toed pigeon Columba trocaz and bis-bis madeirensis Regulus, which are the only endemic species in this ecosystem. The first is considered one of the oldest examples of Macaronesian avifauna. Has a selective diet and partially dependent on the fruits of several species of trees, with particular regard to the tilde, considered the sower of the laurel trees.

The bis-bis is a small bird, the smallest of birds of Madeira, it feeds on insects, which certainly gives it a high importance level of the equilibrium of ecosystems. The Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs madeirensis, subspecies endemic to Madeira Island has a high level of adaptation to habitat island. This fact, combined with morphological differences evident in relation to populations occurring in Continental Europe, assumes that the date of his arrival on the island dates back to very remote times. Other birds that occur with some frequency are the blackbird Turdus merula cabrerae the chat Erithacus rubecula rubecula, the lavandeira schmitzi Motacilla cinerea, and the two robberies, the blanket buteo buteo harterti and kestrel Falco tinnunculus canariensis. In the higher areas of Laurel, where large trees begin to give way to heather, still occurs woodcock Scolopax rusticola, very discreet and usually goes unnoticed to visitors.

Regarding fauna Mountain Massif, is required to emphasize the Zino’s Petrel Pterodroma wooden timber that is one of the most endangered seabirds in the world that occurs only on the island of Madeira, with the conservation status of “Endangered”. It lives exclusively in the sea, only coming to land during the breeding season between late March and mid-October, at which can be heard at nightfall when they return to their nests.

As for terrestrial invertebrates, is the terrestrial arthropod community that has the highest richness, distributed over a wide variety of groups. It is also noteworthy group of Arachnids sporting a very significant presence in terms of spiders, mites and pseudoscorpions, among others.

In São Lourenço group with greatest interest is that of invertebrates. Currently, there are 35 known species of terrestrial molluscs, of which 24 are endemic. Islet in the Desembarcadouro were identified 14 species and 12 endemic, and Islet Lighthouse 13 species, 11 endemic.

In terms of avifauna, seabirds nest on this site, such as the shearwater Calonectris diomedea borealis, the soul-black Bulweria bulwerii, castling-de-castro castro Oceanodroma and sandwich tern Sterna hirundo. Islet in the Desembarcadouro one of the largest nesting colonies of gulls, yellow-legged Larus michahellis atlantis Region. As for land birds, are often run-paths Anthus berthelotii madeirensis, the goldfinch Carduelis carduelis parva, the sparrow-the-ground Petronia petronia madeirensis and canary earth-Serinus canaria canaria.


Flora present in the PNM, the highlight of which is a Laurel forest formation characteristics hygrophilous, endemic Macaronesian well developed with conservation areas climax, only World Natural Heritage by UNESCO in Portugal, and where are present all strata characteristic of this type of community. Studies within the phytosociology recognize this formation various forest plant communities climax which are related bioclimáticos.De floors a large diversity of flora is mainly at the level of herbaceous which can be found in most endemic. As an example, can point to Goodyera macrophylla, orchid endemic to Madeira, known for godiera-the-wood.

This features subtropical moist forest is an ecosystem of great importance from the point of view of botanical and scientific: it is a rare heritage worldwide, where, in addition to Madeira, meaning only occurs in some islands of the western group the Canaries and Azores.

Other islands of this Autonomous Region, particularly in the island of Porto Santo and Deserta Grande, remain living characteristic of this forest, which are true testimonies of the past existence of a larger area of distribution of this ecosystem.

The Laurel is characterized by large trees, mostly belonging to the family Lauraceae (Ocotea foetens the tilde, laurel Laurus novocanariensis the mahogany Persea indica and Barbusano Apollonias barbujana), in addition to others, such as white stick Picconia excelsa, the rolling Clethra arborea, the Aderno Heberdenia excelsa, the perado Ilex pected or cedar-wood of Juniperus cedrus. Underneath the canopy of large trees, shrubs abound as arboreal heather Erica scoparia and Erica, the uveira Vaccinium padifolium the piorno Genista tenera, the buckthorn Rhamnus glandulosa, the mocano Pittosporum coriaceum and Musschia wollastonii and is still a stratum lower rich in ferns, mosses, lichens, liverworts and other small plants, with numerous endemic species.

Another space also important in terms of flora is the Mountain Massif. The vegetation of this area, features are the presence of several endemic plants of Madeira, examples of which are violet-the-wood Viola paradoxa. We can also find here heather Erica maderensis undergrowth, the orchid-da-serra Dactylorhiza foliosa and antilídea-the-wood Anthyllis lemanniana. All these plants are perfectly adapted to the harsh climate of this area, where pontificate large temperature variations and winds. Play a very important role in the uptake of water through rainfall hidden, in addition to contributing to fix soil, combating erosion.

Equally important is the flora that occurs in Ponta de São Lourenço, which currently has 157 distinct vascular plants, of which 141 and 71 in the peninsula Islander Desembarcadouro. We observed how plants barrilhas Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum and Suaeda vera, the Maçacota Bassia tomentosa, fennel navy Crithmum maritimum and some endemics, such as: massaroco Echium nervosum the estreleira argyranthemum pinnatifidum succulentum and gouge-the-rock Matthiola maderensis. With some rare we undergrowth Frankenia laevis, the maritime Silene vulgaris, Silene behen, Astragalus solandri and Cowgirl Calendula maderensis. Islet in the Desembarcadouro are extensive patches of Trevina and several Macaronesian endemics and Madeira, such as Phalaris maderensis Canary seed, Beta patula (species unique to this islet), the almeirante Crepis divaricata, diabelha Plantago coronopus, cauliflower-rock of Crambe fruticosa and Rumex bucephalophorus canariensis.


The PNM encompasses a considerable cultural heritage, very rich and diverse, enabling us to discover the knowledge passed down orally from generation to generation and where you can observe aspects of humanized landscape dating back to the early settlement of the island, especially the rural heritage with a rich set of knowledge making, traditions and architectural heritage.

The rural built heritage is reflected in a wide range of constructions and types that must be preserved and value for future generations, and that goes beyond the traditional houses, past the solar with chapels, stone tanks, barns, fountains, water mills , brought the traditional cellars and mills, and even the actual paths and churches.


If, in 1950, already raised voices suggesting the creation of a park for the preservation of nature in Madeira Island, was in the 70s that were made surveys and studies for the classification of a natural parkland, this island.

On November 10, 1982, came to be created by the PNM Regional Decree n. º 14/82/M, with the main objective to protect nature, biodiversity, ecological balance and landscape, as well as promote quality of life , safeguarding a vast natural heritage constitutes a relic worldwide and includes species threatened with extinction, as well as the preservation of some areas humanized high quality aesthetic and scenic and valuable knowledge.

In 1992, the Laurel forest was classified as a Biogenetic Reserve by the Council of Europe and, in 1999, included in the list of UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, the only World Natural Heritage of Portugal.

In 2001, it was integrated as a Site of Community Importance of the European Ecological Network Natura 2000, and under the Birds Directive, Special Protection Zone is. In 2009, after the approval of its Plan of Planning and Management, became a Special Area of Conservation.

The Mountain Massif Central, fully integrated in PNM as Reserve and Geological Altitude Vegetation was classified in 2001 as a Site of Community Importance of the European Ecological Network Natura 2000, rising in 2009, and after approval of the Plan of Management and Management, a Special Area of Conservation. Under the Birds Directive, its eastern part is Special Protection Zone.

Madeira Natural Park PNM

Since the creation of the PNM, the terrestrial part of Ponta de São Lourenço is inserted in your area.

In 1996, given the importance of this area and to preserve its precious natural heritage, the Madeira Regional Government acquired the land comprising the Ponta de São Lourenço, called from the Breakwater Bay d’Abra, including the House of Sardinha. Since then, this house served as station observation and surveillance PNM, where a team of vigilant nature exercises its functions.

Since June 2010, this space is open to the public and has been refurbished in the Visitor Reception Centre.

Since 2001, this area of land together with the adjacent marine area, on the north coast (from the east end of the islet to Ponta do Farol Spike Yellow), up to 50 meters of water depth, integrating Natura 2000, initially as a Site of Community Importance. With the approval of the Plan of Planning and Management, classification became a Special Area of Conservation.

Is further classified by Birdlife International as an IBA (Important Bird Area), being a nesting site of some seabirds protected.

Since 2011, the whole area of the Madeira Natural Park in the municipality of Santana’s Biosphere Reserve.


Natural Park of Madeira

Protected area that includes areas with different protection statutes, provided a degree of protection higher until the transition zone, range throughout the periphery with a lighter protection, where it is intended that there are human activities in a controlled manner, thus having buffer function and being possible to have a lower human pressure and protection with a higher degree in interior areas and adjacent to this track.

It also includes areas of protected landscape, which have natural panoramas, and semi-humanized aesthetic value.

Mountain Massif Central

Classified Area of Special Protection Area under the Birds Directive and as a Special Area of Conservation, integrating the Natura 2000 network.

Use of this territory is governed by Planning and Management Plan Mountain Massif Central.


Classified Area of Special Protection Area under the Birds Directive and as a Special Area of Conservation, integrating the Natura 2000 network.

Use of this territory is governed by Planning and Management Plan of Laurel Wood.

Ponta de São Lourenço

Classified area as a Special Area of Conservation, integrating the Natura 2000 network.

Use of this territory is governed by Planning and Management Plan of Ponta de São Lourenço, establishing Total Protection Areas (Desembarcadouro the Islanders and the Lighthouse), Partial Protection Areas (peninsula of Ponta de São Lourenço) and Protected Areas Complementary (beaches, sights and Chapel of Our Lady of Mercy).

Activities Allowed / Blocked

In areas of total protection is not allowed any human activity, except for scientific, conservation action, awareness activities and environmental education.

In areas of partial protection applies control activities to develop, privileging the conduct scientific research, conservation action, awareness activities and environmental education and other activities, play and leisure, duly authorized by the Office of the PNM, they do not harm local values and balance of ecosystems.

In protected areas intended to supplement use without compromising the environmental balance, while stray human activities in protected areas more sensitive.

In general, throughout the area of pneumonia, it is forbidden to abandon or dump landfill waste, polluting materials, debris or junk.

Require prior authorization from the Service PNM making any building works, construction of roads, paths and other access routes, as well as the extraction of inert products of any kind, to make the area of pneumonia.

In agricultural areas, is still supported and encouraged the organic production.

Hunting is only allowed for huntable species listed in the legislation concerning the activity VENATORIA edict published annually and where in addition to hunting species are defined venatórios periods, places and processes hunting.

For more detailed information see below Regulations of the Spatial Plan and Management Central Mountain Massif of Madeira, the Madeira Laurel and Ponta de São Lourenço.

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