The Biosphere Reserve covers the total terrestrial area of Flores Island (Archipelago of the Azores) as well as the oceanic area reaching a distance of 3 miles from the coast. Flores Island is the surface part of a seamount located near the Mid Atlantic Riff, originated from the volcanic activity which started less than 10 My. The island as an oval shape with a total area of 14.300 ha.
Designation date: 2009
Ecosystem-based network: World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves
Surface : 58,619 ha
- Core area(s): 1,615 ha
- Buffer zone(s): 3,169 ha (terrestrial), 3,974 ha (marine)
- Transition zone(s): 9,332 ha (terrestrial), 40,529 ha (marine)
Location: 39°27'0.000"N; 31°11'60.000"W
The Biosphere Reserve covers the total terrestrial area of Flores Island (Archipelago of the Azores) as well as the oceanic area reaching a distance of 3 miles from the coast. Flores Island is the surface part of a seamount located near the Mid Atlantic Rift, originated from the volcanic activity which started less at less than 10 My ago. The island has an oval shape with a total area of 14.300 ha
Flores Island has the highest number of endemic species per unit area of the archipelago, surpassed only by Corvo, which reflects its great biodiversity and unaltered vegetation areas.
The high central plateau, with an average altitude of 600-700 m above sea level is the major topographic feature of the Island. In this area, we can find some of the most important natural habitats of the island as the high altitude peatlands. These habitats have also a major role in the hydrological systems of the island as well as in the landscape features of Flores Island. The coast of the island is mostly high cliffs, islets and coastal caves formed as a result of the continuous maritime erosion.
The coastal zone is the breading area for several marine bird species. Special remark to the Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii) that has in the Azores around 40% of its total population nesting in the coastal zone of the Flores Island.
During the XX Century the population has decreased, mostly due to emigration and aging. Between the census of 1900 and 2001, the population numbers have changed from 8.127 to 3.995 persons. In 2006 the population was 4.059 (1,67% of the Archipelago’s population), sugesting some inversion of the trend. In general, Flores Island has a young demographic structure but aging is the major tendency.
The majority (61%) of the active people works in the tertiary, 24% in the secondary sector (especially in the milk industry) and only 16% belongs to the primary sector.
The nature, history and the socio-economic reality of Flores Island, in addition to its dimension, provides optimal conditions for the development of innovative actions, experimental and demonstrative, in a logical and observable scale in terms of sustainable development.
Last updated: March 2020