Status and Trends of Biodiversity
Portugal possesses a very diverse natural heritage thanks to its geographical location and geophysical conditions. The Azores and Madeira Archipelagos are situated within the Macaronesian region and thanks to their location, the climatic influences to which they are subject and a substratum of volcanic origin, are home to habitats of quite unique nature and undeniable importance. On the mainland, the dune habitats, the rocky cliffs, the marshes in estuary and lagoon systems are all very important as well. The importance of the estuaries can also be seen from the numerous bird populations, which shelter there and use them as migratory stations, wintering areas or breeding grounds. The nesting areas of seabirds in the Madeira Archipelago deserve a special mention as they host some of the most important colonies in the North Atlantic. About 3,600 species of plants occur in Portugal. There are 69 taxa of terrestrial mammals, a total of 313 bird species, of which around 35% are threatened in some ways, and 17 amphibian and 34 reptile species that occur in Portugal. Some of the main threats to the biological diversity of Portugal include: alteration or destruction of habitats; pollution; overexploitation; invasive alien species; urbanization and fires.
Number and Extent of Protected Areas
Portugal mainland (protected areas + Natura 2000 sites) – 2.017.803 ha; 20.47%. Azores and Madeira Regions (Natura 2000/Sites of Community Importance) – 76.758 ha. Azores and Madeira Regions (Natura 2000/Special Conservation Areas) – 49.296 ha.
Percentage of Forest Cover
36.5 % (ca. 3.240.000 ha)