New Life+Berlenga project helps restoring the natural assets of the archipelago

The Life+Berlenga project was presented on February 7th 2015 at 4 o’clock p.m. during an informal event opened to the public at the Cultural Building in Peniche. The goal of this event was to show local inhabitants and other interested parties the actions taken in Berlengas for restoring and preserving its natural assets.

The main goal of the project is to turn the archipelago of Berlengas into an example of sustainable tourism and responsible economic development by integrating all economic activities in the incredible existing natural assets.

As far as the yellow-legged gulls are concerned, ICNF – Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests informed that every year an egg control is made in the island, and around 60.000 eggs are destroyed annually. The population of yellow-legged gulls in the island is beginning to decrease, which however does not necessarily mean that they cannot be nesting somewhere else.

Life+Berlenga project will help solving this question, because gulls will be monitored by placing small tracking devices on them, so that scientists know where they are heading to and where do they feed themselves.

The partnership involving SPEA – Portuguese Society for Bird Study, ICNF – Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests, Peniche Municipality and Social and Human Sciences’ Faculty of Universidade Nova de Lisboa is based on sustainable development, responsible tourism and preservation of natural assets of Berlengas Natural Reserve, an example of protected area management.

SPEA – Portuguese Society for Bird Study is a non-governmental organisation that works on preserving birds and its habitats in Portugal. SPEA is a member of BirdLife International, an association of nature conservation organisations in more than 100 countries, considered one of world’s authorities of the study of birds, its habitats and problems that affect them.

In present day, one of the priorities has been the removal of the willow in Berlenga Island, a task that will last the next few years, fostering a growing recovery of island’s native flora. This is why the project team has written on a cliff of Berlengas “Life+Berlenga”, during a willow removal campaign, so that visitors can be curious about the project itself.

At the same time, several fauna and flora monitoring actions are now taking place, in order to control other invading species, such as rats and rabbits. These measures will lead to an improvement of habitat’s natural conditions for native species.