Sagres Biogenetic Reserve
Algarve’s Noah’s Ark
As one of Southern Europe’s last remaining and most important stretches of wild, unspoilt coastline, benefiting from both a low level of human interference and a low population density, the area from Ponta de Sagres to Cape St. Vincent is a protected area filled with a wide biodiversity of different species and natural habitats, many of which are quite unique in the world.
With its own specificity, resulting from its particular geographical position, varied landscapes, and a climate that is simultaneously marked by the influence of both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean conditions, this region of the south-west Algarve and the Costa Vicentina has been classified by the Council of Europe as a Biogenetic Reserve since 1988 and is one of the most important centres of marine resources and multiple ecological occurrences.
The great diversity of the wealth of natural resources to be found along the coastal strip, the existence of various geographical accidents and the occurrence of different phenomena, such as rocky outcrops emerging from the deep waters in the summer, all these features contribute towards the development of important and high levels of biodiversity.
The rocky coastline from Ponta de Sagres to Cape St. Vincent presents a wide variety of coastal habitats, including marshland, cliffs, sand dunes and lagoons. At the same time, the differentiated characteristics of the marine ecosystem favour the development of a rare and very specific variety of flora, very often described as unique in the world. Biscutella vicentina, Diplotaxis vicentina and Hyacinthoides vicentina are all examples of plants whose scientific names derive from the fact that they only exist in this region.
Particularly notable amongst the various species that reproduce in this region are a wide variety of birds, with 25 different species building their nests on the cliffs. In fact, the Sagres Biogenetic Reserve is the only place in the world where white storks build their nests on sea cliffs and the only place in the country where there is a colony of otters using the marine environment to search for their food.
One of the more interesting biological occurrences in this part of the south-west Algarve is the migration each autumn of thousands of glider birds, in other words birds of prey, including booted eagles, short-toed eagles, sparrow hawks, honey buzzards, griffon vultures and Egyptian vultures.
This information is extracted with friendly permission of RTA from their website.