Our Magic Forest Life

Laurissilva is the name given to the original forest of Madeira, which already existed at the time of the arrival of the Portuguese discoverers.

Madeira has the most extensive and well-preserved area of Macaronesian laurel in the world, occupying an area of about 15,000 hectares, mostly included in the Natural Park of Madeira. It is a Special Protection Area under the Birds Directive and Special Area of Conservation, integrated into the Natura 2000 network. It is a Biogenetic Reserve of the Council of Europe since 1992 and was included on the List of World Natural Heritage Sites by UNESCO in December 1999.

This forest, characteristic of sub-tropical rainforest, is an ecosystem which is extremely important from the botanical and scientific viewpoint. It is a unique heritage in the world, where, in addition to Madeira, only occurs on some meaningful islands in the Western Group of the Canary Islands, Azores and Cape Verde.

The Laurissilva is characterized by large trees, mostly still belonging to the family of Lauráceas. Underneath the canopy of large trees, shrubs abound such as the heather, tall growing vines, the Piorno, the Sanguinho and Pittosporum corjaceum, Musschia wollastonij one will encounter a still lower strata which is rich in ferns, mosses, lichens, liverworts and other small plants with numerous endemic species.

In terms of fauna, it is particularly rich in terrestrial mollusks and insects, not failing to mention the endemic Madeira Laurel Pigeon.

This forest plays an important role in defense against erosion on the steep slopes of the island, while it guarantees the maintenance of the flow of streams and springs.

On the north side of the island occupied by the Laurissilva, often shrouded in fog formation occurs by contact of water and condensation of fog with the foliage of vegetation, thick dripping onto the ground where it infiltrates and accumulates, and then supply the springs and watercourses at lower elevations.

If you want I can take you to some secret places, just contact me.

Carlos Verdinho
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