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Berlengas Biosphere Reserve, Portugal

The Berlengas Biosphere Reserve includes a group of small islands and rocks, and the city of Peniche on the mainland.

Designation date: 2011


Regional network:  EuroMAB and IberoMAB

Ecosystem-based network: Global Change in Mountain Regions (GLOCHAMORE) and Global and Climate Change in Mountain Sites (GLOCHAMOST)




    Surface : 18502,3 ha

    • Core area(s): 18.8 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 859,1 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 17624,4 ha

    Location: N/A

    Administrative Authorities 

    Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e da Biodiversidade - Reserva Natural das Berlengas
    Avenida Mariano Calado n.° 57
    2520-224 Peniche

    Tel.: + 351 262 787 910

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    Ecological Characteristics

    The reserve includes the Berlengas archipelago, the city of Peniche located in the mainland and a marine corridor between the archipelago and Peniche. The main conservation concerns in the reserve are located in the Berlengas archipelago, which consists of a group of islands and coastal reefs in three groups: Berlenga Island and associated reefs, Farilhoes and Estelas.

    The geology and geomorphology of the archipelago do not favour the formation of aquifers or perennial watercourses and the vegetation is mainly herbaceous. Most of the rocky substrate is in the form of steep cliffs sparsely covered with vegetation, sheltering important seabird nesting colonies.

    The archipelago is situated 5.7 miles off the mainland, in a region characterised by two important geomorphological structures Cabo Carvoeiro and the Nazare Canyon.

    These two formations have a significant influence on the physical environment and ecological features of the region, since they interact with the circulation associated with coastal upwelling to intensify primary production in the ecosystem.

    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    There is no population living permanently on the Berlengas archipelago. Residence is temporary and confined to Berlenga Island where there is a small urban and services area that hosts temporary visitors and tourists.

    The city of Peniche has 16000 inhabitants. Most of the economic development of the Peniche is based on tourism, fishing and associated activities.

    The various zones of the proposed biosphere reserve are contiguous. They consist of different units.

    These zones are generally classed under a group of domestic and European land use and nature conservation instruments, viz.: Nature 2000 Network (Sitio do Arquipelago da Berlenga e Zona de Protecção Especial das Berlengas), Rede Nacional de Áreas Protegidas (Reserva Natural das Berlengas) and Plano Director Municipal.

    A range of goals and management guidelines have been established for these areas. The Berlengas archipelago and adjacent sea is governed by the Plano de Ordenamento da Reserva Natural das Berlengas. The body created to manage the whole Biosphere Reserve is the Permanent Working Group of the Berlengas Biosphere Reserve.


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    Last updated: November 2019