The Hydrological power of Laurisilva

 

In Laurisilva forest, water is a constant presence and it is even known as a “water-producing forest”, the conjugation of its multiple components contributes to the hydrological balance essential to life and to the collective future of the ecosystem, of the island of Madeira and of Mankind itself. 

 

In this video, Francisco Fernandes and Juan Silva, introduce us to the concept of Laurisilva and explains why this forest is fundamental to maintain the hydrological balance of the island.

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There is much more water available on the north slopes in comparison with the south, as a consequence of the geographic orientation of the island and its vegetation cover, we soon realised that we needed to transport water from the north to the south, in order to satisfy increasing demands.

This led to the building of the Levadas in practically inaccessible locations almost all over the island, in the form of narrow and very long channels or aqueducts that brought water from the springs and streams, down the steep slopes. This water is then used for human consumption, in agriculture and in hydroelectric power plants to produce energy.

The Levadas are the cultural symbol of the island of Madeira and also an important tourist attraction, being internationally renowned.

They provide excellent, picturesque and almost unique paths that allow visitors to enjoy matchless and unforgettable landscapes. They have a fundamental role in the management of water resources and at the same time offer a sustainable way of making use of the Natural Heritage.

Take advantage of the Levadas to observe the Hydrological balance in action!

Here are some tips for your safety: