The Laurissilva of Madeira Island is a unique botanical relic, the origins of the laurel forest date back around 20 million years ago. At that time this forest covered a vast area in the south of Europe and the Mediterranean. Due to the different glaciations in Europe in the beginning of the Quaternary, the “laurisilva” disappeared in a great part of Europe.
This unique forest have about 85% humidity levels producing abundant sources of water used by people from Madeira for drinking, irrigation and creating clean electricity for the whole island of Madeira. The Laurissilva of Madeira Island can be found nowadays on the northern coast at an altitude of 300-1300 meters and also along the southern coast at an altitude of 700-1200 meters. This marvellous forest is home to numerous trees belonging to the lauraceae family such as the Laurel, lily of the valley tree, Persea indica, the Madeira mahogany and much more.
Talking about the fauna you can find the Trocaz pigeon and endemic specie found only in Madeira Island. The bird is frequently associated with the Laurissilva of Madeira island, and consequently its distribution is limited to areas of native forest in mountainous north-facing areas and a few isolated sites on the south-facing slopes. The Madeiran firecrest (the smallest bird on the island and one of the smallest in Europe) and the colourful chaffinch also live in the Laurissilva of Madeira.
Curiosities about the laurissilva of madeira island: