Laurissilva Forest – Heritage of Humanity

Laurissilva is the name given to a type of humid subtropical forest made up mainly of trees from the lauraceae family of trees and widespread in the Macaronesia - a region which includes the archipelagos of Madeira, the Azores, the Canaries and Cape Verde.
Its greatest expression is in the highlands of Madeira where its greatest and best preserved swathe is found, having been considered in 1999 by UNESCO as World Natural Heritage, covering an area of around 15,000 hectares.
 
"Macaronésia" is an ancient geographic region in which Madeira Islands are included, and whose unique characteristic is that it preserves the remains of a great forest dating back to the Tertiary Era before the great ice ages. This forest once covered huge extensions of the European Continent. But glaciations led to the massive destruction of the vegetation that once covered Europe. But thanks to the beneficial influence of an ocean climate, these same species were able to survive in the Atlantic Islands.
 

One of the best ways to discover this fantastic environmental heritage is to stroll along the paths and waterways known as “levadas” that cross this green area and allowing direct contact with flora and fauna species that are endemic to Madeira.
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