Protected Area for the Management of Habitats or Species
Located on the south coast of the island, this protected area covers approximately 207 hectares, from the east end of Morro Grande (Velas parish) to Pico dos Cutelos (Rosais parish).
This terrestrial area has several geologic formations, such as Morro Grande, Morro de Lemos, Entre Montes bay, and high and steep sea-cliffs, and houses a great diversity of birds and plants species. Its highest point is at Pico dos Cutelos, at 376 metres high.
To the west, Morro Grande (or Morro das Velas) and Morro de Lemos are surtseyan tuff cones, which result from submarine volcanic episodes of basaltic s.l. nature. More ancient, the Morro de Lemos is highly affected by marine erosion showing only a small portion of the initial volcanic edifice. On the contrary, Morro Grande is better preserved, displaying a distinct circular shape. Inside its crater is a small strombolian scoria cone depicting a later subaerial eruptive phase.
In Entre Morros bay and the high and steep sea-cliffs of the hills, it is possible to observe the inner structure of these volcanoes, including a clear stratification of volcanic materials and several sag bombs.
Several species of seabirds, such as the Sterna hirundo and the Calonectris borealis, find in this protected area a safe place for resting, breeding and nesting. As for the flora, stand out endemic species such as the Erica azorica and the Picconia azorica.
This area integrates an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) of the BirdLife International organization, is classified as a geosite of the Azores UNESCO Global Geopark and its east end borders with a Protected Area of Resources Management and a Reserve Area for the Catch Management.