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Madalena ,  January 18, 2017

Projects for preservation and spreading of plant species awarded priority status, says Marta Guerreiro

The Regional Secretary for Energy, Environment and Tourism stated on Pico the importance of biodiversity conservation, emphasising the priority that the Government of the Azores awards to conservation projects and spreading of plant species.
Marta Guerreiro spoke on the sidelines of an initiative for the planting of 30 yew plants with the aim of reintroducing them into the wild. The government official stressed that this species was once abundant in the Azores, but is currently considered as "probably extinct" in the archipelago; there are only four specimens identified on the island of Pico. This situation is due to its exploitation for luxury furniture and the agrarian transformation brought about by the expansion of animal husbandry.
"With this action aimed at the reintroduction of these 30 plants into the wild, what matters today is the concern for environmental quality and the conservation of biodiversity, which is indeed the Government's priority," said the government official. She also stressed that the Azores are recognised nationally and internationally for its environmental quality.
In April 2013, the Regional Directorate for the Environment, through the Azores Seed Bank, implemented a project for the spreading of yew through staking. It involved the collection of plant material of the last known specimens, having produced several dozen plants; some of which will now be reintroduced into their environment.
In addition to this specific project for the reintroduction of yew, there is also a project developed by the Azores Biotechnology Centre in the field of research leading to the production of endemic plant species by micropropagation, which resulted in tens of thousands of specimens that were subsequently introduced into their environment.
Marta Guerreiro also highlighted the work that has been done by the Azores Seed Bank in the "development of germination protocols of several endemic species," such as the case of "Miosotis azorica"; the latter has been reintroduced on the island of Flores. The government official mentioned that fact that "it was possible to significantly increase the capacity of the Azores Seed Bank in the last four years by increasing the working area and the acquisition of new equipment."
The number of seeds and endemic species of the Azores kept at this Bank increased from 500 thousand seeds from 45 species in 2012 to around eight million seeds from 53 species in 2016.
This year, the Azores Seed Bank will see its conditions improved by being reinstalled in a new space.


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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