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Natura Algarve

The Ria Formosa Nature Park

02.02.2013 // Natura Algarve

Barra da Armona - Ria Formosa - Algarve

The littoral sand hills of barrier islands, between Quinta do Lago and Cacela, limit the Ria Formosa from the ocean. In this typical coast line we have six inlets that supply the water renewal to the lagoon: Barra de S. Luis, Faro-Olhão, Armona, Fuseta, Tavira e Cacela. These inlets define on their limits the Ancão and Cacela peninsulas, and in their body the Barreta Island, Culatra Island, Armona, Tavira and Cabanas Islands.

Occupying a total area of approximately 18000ha, it has a huge diversity of habitats like marshes, salt marshes, islands, channels and others. The Ria Formosa Natural Park was created 1987 to preserve and ensure the protection and promotion of its natural assets and also to manage the area in a more sustainable way. 

The south coast of Portugal is a region strongly dependent on fisheries, which lead to the development of several arts and ways to explore marine resources. Although tourism is one of the most important activities in the region, fisheries are still quite important. Like in other areas, this industry has been suffering from the depletion of fisheries resources. Due to its geological characteristics, the Ria Formosa coastal lagoon generates a great source of resources so activities like fisheries and shellfish farming are essential.

 Ilha da Culatra

The Ria Formosa is also important as a nursery area. Many species use the channels of this coastal lagoon as spawning grounds and during their first development stages, and then go to the Atlantic waters, in a cyclic way. The contribution for the recruitments of new individuals allied to its favorable geographical position, with calm and warmer waters, is crucial in the Portuguese coast.

Not less important are the birds. The Ria Formosa Natural Park is considered one of the most important wetlands for numerous species of aquatic birds that use as feeding habitat, a breeding area and others as a wintering ground. The surrounding salt-pans “Salinas” play also an important role as a feeding habitat during high-tide, when birds can’t use the marsh. During generations man, observed and learned how take benefits out of this important coastal lagoon.

Flamingos, Ria Formosa - Algarve

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