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Horta ,  June 28, 2019

Vasco Cordeiro opens expansion of Faial Botanical Garden, an "excellent example” of public nature preservation policies

The President of the Regional Government opened today expansion works of Faial Botanical Garden, an investment of nearly 600 thousand Euros that falls within the implementation strategy of public policies towards the preservation of the Region's natural heritage.
"The Faial Botanical Garden is an excellent example of what we, as Region, have done over the years and we will continue to do", in the context of nature preservation, ensured Vasco Cordeiro. He spoke at the opening of this nature space, which includes the Azores Orchid Garden and the new Seed Bank facilities.
"We expect to store 100 percent of Azorean endemic plants in this Seed Bank by 2020," which already stores 90 percent of species, stated the President of the Government, who spoke at the ceremony held under the Government's visit to Faial.
According to him, the investment made in the Botanical Garden, in the Seed Bank and in the Orchid Garden are part of the path that has been followed towards the transformation of this type of infrastructures into development assets and progress for their communities, while maintaining their nature conservation functions.
"We are committed to this virtuous partnership between these goals, but this is also achieved by those who undertake these efforts in the field on a daily basis," said Vasco Cordeiro.
In his speech, the President of the Government recalled that the Azores began to follow this path towards the preservation of natural heritage in 1972 with the creation of Caldeira do Faial and Pico Mountain reserves. But it was in the late 20th century that the Region took a significant leap in nature conservation public policies.
"We have taken significant steps in this public action with the integration of a large portion of the Natura 2000 Network territory and, then, with the creation of the nine Island Natural Parks." They have contributed to the introduction of a coherent management model for protected areas, stressed the President of the Government.
Vasco Cordeiro also highlighted the Region's involvement in the BLUE Azores international project, which joins the Oceano Azul and Waitt foundations, with the ambitious goal of transforming about 15 percent of the Region's exclusive economic zone into protected areas.
The Faial Botanical Garden was founded 33 years ago with the purpose of collecting Macaronesia flora specimens that would serve as the basis for the promotion and conservation of the important biodiversity of this geographical space.
"Over the years, it has fulfilled its role in preserving the Macaronesia flora in an exemplary manner, namely the Azorean flora, serving as the basis of many conservation projects, both off-site and on-site," said Vasco Cordeiro.
With the works opened today, the Faial Botanical has doubled its area, stretching over 1.5 hectares.
The Azores Seed Bank now has upgraded facilities with a greater and more efficient capacity for conservation of species. Currently, it stores about 12 million seeds that are distributed by 504 samples from 63 species, with 51 being Azorean endemic species.
The 800 m2 greenhouse is another important component of the garden. It houses the new Azores Orchid Garden that includes Henrique Peixoto's orchid collection, on display at the Botanical Garden since 2010, as well as the collection of orchids donated by Finnish citizens Pekka and Tuuliki Ranta, owners of Europe's second largest orchid collection and one of the largest in the world.
The Azores Orchid Garden is composed of about 5,000 orchids, representing 320 types and 51 genera. It includes Azorean species, namely the "Platanthera azorica," the rarest orchid in Europe that is only found in the Central Plateau (São Jorge) and in Caldeira do Faial (Faial).


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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