Atlas Portugal Biosphere Reserves

Translated title of the contribution: Reservas da Biosfera de Portugal

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The Atlas of Portugal Biosphere Reserves is a result of the project Biosphere Reserves: Sustainable Territories, Resilient Communities, the subject of an application to the "Environment, Climate Change, and Low Carbon Economy" Program funded by the EEA Grants 2014-2021 and promoted by the General Secretariat for Environment and Climate Action. It began in November 2020 and concluded in October 2023. The Atlas of Portugal Biosphere Reserves provides a visualization where nature, sus- tainability, history, heritage, knowledge, and discovery converge, offering an enriching interpretation of the Biosphere Reserves of Portugal. Through introductory and contextualizing texts, organized information is presented in maps, tables, and graphs, allowing an understanding of the physical and administrative configuration of the territories. This includes characterizing the resident populations and communities, their evolution over time, the relevance of natural and cultural heritage, economic activities, risks, and ecosystem services associated with the 12 Biosphere Reserves of Portugal, both collectively and individually. From this, it is possible to con- tribute to a perception of the meaning and impact of the Biosphere Reserve status, com- prehending to what extent they represent and contribute to the well-being of people and the quality of nature in these territories. In other words, the aim is, through the informa- tion provided in this Atlas, to contribute to a more detailed assessment of the role and impact of the Biosphere Reserves of Portugal on sustainability. The Atlas of Portugal Biosphere Reserves is composed of three parts. The first part introduces the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MaB) Program, briefly describing its history, contextualizing and explaining the concept of biosphere reserve, and the creation of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. It also characterizes the Network of Reserves of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) for its relevance to Portugal. This section includes a set of maps and tables illustrating the composition of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves and the Biosphere Reserves by region, indicating their location, areas, and associated population. It also presents a map highlighting the correspondence between the Biosphere Reserves and biodiversity hotspots. The second part is dedicated to the Network of Biosphere Reserves in Portugal, starting with a text that briefly and generally describes its constitution and evolution. It identifies and presents, through maps and tables, their location and contextualization within the UNESCO framework. This part is then subdivided into various categories of observation and analysis, invoking various indicators or subcategories that provide an overview and comparison between the 12 Reserves: Territories and communities, Population, Classified areas, Natural heritage, Cultural heritage, Economic and social activity, Tourism, Science, technology and innovation, Well-being and quality of life, Risks, and Ecosystem services. The third part focuses on each of the 12 Biosphere Reserves of Portugal, including an introductory text characterizing each Reserve and presenting a sequence of maps, graphs, and tables that develop the aforementioned categories. The process of creating the base information for the development of this Atlas and the statistical data panel provided through the portal of the Biosphere Reserves of Portugal involved a specific and meticulous methodology, ensuring accuracy and reliability. This methodology comprised several stages: 1. Definition of core content and categories: The first step involved defining essential content and establishing categories for organization and analysis, encompassing various aspects under consideration. These categories form the basis for structur- ing the various subchapters related to the 12 Reserves of Portugal and frame the presentation and observation of data for each Reserve. 2. Hierarchical subcategories and identification of indicators: Subcategories within each category are outlined, framing detailed aspects. Each subcategory includes specific indicators. 3. Validation of indicators and identification of sources: The chosen indicators were tested and validated to ensure their suitability and relevance. After validating the sets of indicators, the process of extracting and compiling information from nation- al, regional, and international sources began. Preferably, primary data sources were used. Depending on the type of information (tabular, alphanumeric, or geographic), official sources that produce and hold the information were selected. These sources are essential to maintain the accuracy and credibility of the information. 4. Geographic representation: Geographic information was processed in ArcGIS Pro. Geographic data was used in its original form, such as biosphere reserve bounda- ries, or processed to obtain geographically circumscribed results for the area of the Reserves (administrative boundaries, protected areas). 5. Geographic data: Geographic data is represented at two levels: Biosphere Reserve and official administrative boundaries (e.g., municipalities). Numerical data suitable for statistical analysis is summarized and processed at the level of the Biosphere Reserve. For other types of data, such as rates and percentages, geographic rep- resentation occurs within official administrative boundaries. Not all collected, organized, and available information is published in this Atlas, given the limitations of a book with an appropriate size; the data panel on the Reservas da Biosfera de Portugal portal may contain more detailed or expanded information.
Translated title of the contributionReservas da Biosfera de Portugal
Original languageMultiple languages
Place of PublicationLisboa
PublisherNOVA FCSH
Number of pages368
ISBN (Print)978-972-9347-58-0
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Biosphere Reserves
  • History
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Natural Heritage
  • Social Sciences and Humanities and Sustainability
  • Ecosystem Services


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