Project | Area of Intervention | Caldeirão Hills | 
Caldeirão pSCI
Caldeirão pSCI
Natura network code: PTCON0057

The Site of Community Importance of Caldeirão is located in Serra do Caldeirão, an extensive and prominent shale-greywacke relief intersected by streams and rivers at moderately embedded valleys. The landscape is dominated by cork oak (Quercus suber) woodlands (montados), with and without understorey, scrublands, shrublands of strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), pastures and wide areas of rockroses (Cistus sp), a consequence of intensive cereal crops cultivated from the 60’s, which led to the impoverishment and erosion of soils. In areas where traditional pastures and agro-forestry systems were abandoned and in wetter or declivous areas, it is possible to find dense scrublands (e.g. Kermes oak Quercus coccifera, strawberry trees, Cistus sp), some of them impenetrable. Today, the only and few farmlands that remain cultivated are located near the villages, and most of them are only destined for family subsistence.

The faunistic diversity and abundance is high. The ichthyofauna of the riparian ecosystems is diverse and species like saramugo (Anaecypris hispanica), boga-do-Sudoeste (Chondrostoma almacai), that only exists in some protected areas in Algarve region, particularly in the Mira and Arade Rivers, and boga-de-boca-arqueada (Chondrostoma lemmingii) can be found. Riparian galleries are equally important for the conservation of several species of carnivores, such as the otter (Lutra lutra) and the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), often functioning as ecological corridors for large mammals like this one.

The Caldeirão Site is one of the historical distribution range of the Iberian lynx and, although there are no recent confirmed records of this species, its characteristics remain adequate for its presence or likely to be optimized. Despite having wide areas of degraded habitat due to wildfires, it is still possible to find in the Site areas with suitable habitat in some well preserved steep and inaccessible valleys. Its geographic location, right in the natural corridor between areas where the species occurs, increases the importance and the value of this Site for the conservation of the Iberian lynx – to west connects Monchique, Silves and Espinhaço de Cão mountains (important areas of historical occurrence of the Iberian lynx); to east and northeast the Site extends to the Guadiana Valley and to the border with Spain, where there are still important areas for lynx.