Protected Areas

In Nordeste municipality we find several protected areas classified into the São Miguel Island Natural Park:
: Natural Reserve of Pico da Vara
: Protected Area for Habitats and species management of Tronqueira and Planalto dos Graminhais


These natural areas present the last big spot of laurel forest in the island of S. Miguel, with some endemic species and subspecies among which the Azores Juniper (Juniperus brevifolia), Pau-branco (Picconia azorica), Sanguinho (Frangula azorica), Laurustinus (Viburnum treleasei), Azores Blueberry (Vaccinium cylindraceum), Azores laurel cherry (Prunus azorica) and Azores Heather (Erica azorica). Also in this area we can find Priolo (Pyrrhula murina), an endemic bird that can only be found in this region of São Miguel island.
 
Priolo (Pyrrhula murina)

Present only in this eastern area of São Miguel (Tronqueira mountains), this bird is associated to the altitudinal laurel forest vegetation.
 
Several conservation projects targeting Priolo and its habitat took place in this area. From 2003 to 2008, the LIFE Priolo project (http://life-priolo.spea.pt) developed several actions of eradication of invasive species and restoration of laurel forest which contributed to a substantial increase on this bird’s population. It changed from 400 to 1000 – 1600 individuals. This increase in population also allowed the downgrading of its conservation status from CRITICALLY ENDANGERED to ENDANGERED.
Priolo Environmental Interpretation Centre was created among this project. This centre aims to inform visitors about this bird and the menace it faces (http://centropriolo.spea.pt)
At the present, LIFE Sustainable Laurel Forest project (http://life-laurissilva.spea.pt) is taking place. This project continues the conservation efforts in the laurel forest and extends them to other priority habitats in the area, such as Endemic Macaronesian Heaths and Peatlands in plantalto dos Graminhais.
 
: Protected Area for Habitats and species management of Ponta do Arnel
This protected área is due to the high coastal cliffs in Ponta do Arnel. This area contains important remnants of coastal native vegetation in the Azores, with species such as Azorean Heather (Erica azorica), Faya tree (Morella faya) and Pau-Branco (Picconia azorica).
: Protected Area for Resource Management of Easter Coast.