We have been trying our best to find ways of contributing to the protection of emblematic sites for their natural value and the example they provide to us of what can be a balanced and beneficial coexistence between man and nature. These are prime examples of our intervention.

Alvor Estuary

This large and complex estuary system is the most important wetland in Western Algarve and the third most important of the Algarve. It is located between the municipalities of Lagos and Portimão and its 1454 hectares comprise a coastal lagoon (estuary), marshes, dunes, salt marshes and the peninsulas of Quinta da Rocha and Abicada with mixed habitats of riparian vegetation, small areas of pine forest and semi-agricultural areas.

The value and protection of the Alvor Estuary

A ROCHA has given priority to the protection of this wetland since 1983. At that time there was no formal recognition of its natural value, or the role that this wetland has for the many species that occupy or make use of it in their migratory routes.

In 1996 the Portuguese government recognized the ecological importance of the Alvor Estuary and classified it as a Ramsar site, under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as waterfowl habitat. In 2006, the European Union declared the Alvor Estuary as Natura 2000 site for its variety of habitats and protected species.

The Alvor Estuary is also of invaluable importance because it enriches all adjacent areas that benefit from this privileged ecosystem, at a landscape or cultural level or as an economic stimulus. It is a rich ecosystem, where sea and land live in a unique and delicate balance. The dunes of the Alvor Estuary show how seemingly fragile structures can be an effective barrier against the erosive forces of sea and wind. The dunes, with their stubborn plant species, make it possible for the marsh and the estuary to exist, on which fishing communities and a wide variety of animal and plant species depend.

The Alvor Estuary is a small paradise, which is increasingly strangled by the pressures of the real estate and tourism industries, but it imposes itself decisively in the landscape with its great variety of habitats and amazing biodiversity. A ROCHA has been promoting the importance of this site and proposing more sustainable ways of using its many resources as it stimulates the regional economy and shows how valuable our natural resources are.

Lagoa dos Salgados

Lagoa dos Salgados is in an area of high natural value, which includes the estuary of the Alcantarilha River, the dunes of Praia Grande and land in the neighbouring National Agricultural Reserve. It is located on the Algarve coast, between the municipalities of Silves and Albufeira, on the ancient marshes of Pera.

The value and protection of Lagoa dos Salgados

Lagoa dos Salgados has become a very popular site for those who enjoy bird watching. The local conditions and varied habitats allow us to find a considerable variety of species there. For this reason, BirdLife International recognized it as an Important Bird Area (IBA).
A ROCHA joined the Friends of Lagoa dos Salgados Network and, together with other environmental non-governmental organizations, we have been protecting the site and the local species and habitats as they are always under the threat of real estate development. You can find alternatives to regional development. We want to collaborate in this way.