Zona Central e Falésias da Costa Oeste
Protected Landscape Area
This area, located on the west coast and on the central zone of the island, has about 2565 hectares and a maximum altitude of 768 metres, and is constituted by volcanic cones, craters, slopes and sea-cliffs.
While in the northwest shoreline outcrop geological formations associated with the submarine volcanism of the early stages of the island’s formation (with about 2.5 million years), in Planalto Central (on the island’s interior) outcrop mostly formations from younger terrestrial volcanism, with less than 670 million years.
Regarding vegetation, stand out endemic species such as the Erica azorica, the Veronica dabneyi, the Vaccinium cylindraceum, the Viburnum treleasei, the Scabiosa nitens and the Euphrasia azorica. In Planalto Central prevail Sphagnum spp. peatbogs forested by Juniperus brevifolia.
The west coast is a privileged habitat for birds such as the Calonectris borealis and the Sterna hirundo.
The landscape in this area is mainly composed of a long, steep and imposing slope that borders the east side of Fajã Grande and Fajãzinha’s settlements. This fossil cliff, with about 300 metres of maximum altitude, separates these fajãs from the Planalto Central and has numerous waterfalls that fill permanent water masses at its base. These water masses are locally known as poços (wells), being the most famous the Poço do Bacalhau and the Poço da Ribeira do Ferreiro (also called Lagoa das Patas and Poço da Alagoinha).
This protected area is crossed by the Fajã Grande - Ponta Delgada (PR01FLO), the Lajedo - Fajã Grande (PR02FLO), the Miradouro das Lagoas - Poço do Bacalhau (PR03FLO) and the Great Route of Flores (GR01FLO) walking trails.
It integrates geosites of the Azores UNESCO Global Geopark, the Zona Central – Morro Alto Special Area of Conservation (SAC) within the Natura 2000 network, a Ramsar Site under the Ramsar Convention and an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) of the BirdLife International organization.