Laurissilva Forest… be enchanted!
by Andreia Rodrigues
The Laurissilva forest on the island of Madeira is currently the remnant of a primitive forest cover that resisted five centuries of humanization.
It is a forest with subtropical, humid characteristics, whose origin dates back to the Tertiary period, where it came to occupy vast areas of southern Europe and the Mediterranean basin. The last glaciations led to its disappearance on the European continent, surviving only in the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores, Madeira, and the Canaries.
It occupies an area of 15,000 hectares, on the slopes facing north, representing today the most extensive and best preserved Laurissilva of the Atlantic islands.
The designation of Laurissilva da Madeira corresponds to 3 types of distinct plant communities: the Laurissilva do Barbusano, the Laurissilva do Til and the Laurissilva do Vinhático. Due to its richness in biological diversity, in December 1999 the Laurissilva forest of Madeira became a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.
The Laurissilva Forest
Feel it, walking along one of the many levadas that cross the island.
For more advanced hikers, we recommend the Pico do Arieiro /Pico Ruivo path. Beginners can start with Vereda dos Balcões/ Ribeiro Frio. Be prepared for incredible waterfalls, lush forests and superb views.
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