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The two inhabited islands of Madeira (Madeira and Porto Santo) support a high population of approximately 250,000 inhabitants (307.4 inhabitants per km2), where about 75% of the population lives in only 35% of the territory with a greater focus on the south coast.  It is in this area, a less pronounced terrain and more pleasant climate, where much of the economic activity thrives.  This is mainly based on the tertiary and tourism sectors, which constitute the largest source of direct and indirect revenue of the regional economy.

The nature tourism sector is the one which most motivates the 900,000 visitors which the region receives annually.  These activities, which are carried out in an organized manner in groups or individually, occur mainly in the Natura 2000 sites and/or protected areas focusing, in some cases, directly on habitats and species in Annexes of the Birds and Habitats.

In addition to tourism, agriculture and fisheries are main sources of economic activity which arise, amongst others, in the local economy.  To the economic importance of these two activities should be added the social and cultural value to the extent that the population of Madeira is traditionally linked to either rural or marine environment (all eleven counties of RAM have a coastal and eminently rural areas). 

The activity of subsistence farming and non-professional fishing serves the purpose of direct accessibility for families.  Its significant social presence is the guarantee of the minimum social welfare for thousands of families.

The perpetuation of subsistence farming is still crucial for maintaining an extremely unique humanized landscape and built heritage of this region, which is linked directly and unequivocally with the tourism sector.

To the extent that the territory is limited in size, it inevitably leads to an overlap of legitimate interests.  This results in potential negative impacts on both biodiversity and for the existence of a sustainable regional development.

To this one must also add the characteristics of the territory of Madeira (remoteness, geographic isolation, ruggedness and fragmentation) in accordance with Directive 86/467/CEE on July 14th.  The entire region is classified as a disadvantaged area (area with specific handicaps) within the meaning of Directive 75/268/EEC.

In this context, the basic question or aim of this project is the relationship between activities with socio-economic importance and management of nature reserves, species, habitats and Natura 2000 sites with a clear representation in the European biodiversity.

Last Updated (Monday, 22 July 2013 11:24)

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