Madeira is home to tremendous biodiversity, encompassing an estimated 7,571 terrestrial species for the whole archipelago. The total number of endemic species and subspecies is about 1,419 (1,286 species and 182 sub-species), which represents 19% of the overall species diversity. There are 210 species of Mollusca and 979 species of Arthropoda that are endemic to Madeira, representing about 84% of Madeiran endemics. Within vascular plants there are 154 endemic species and sub-species while the remaining higher taxonomic groups are less diverse in terms of endemic forms: 36 species of fungi (5%), 12 lichens (2%), 11 bryophytes (2%) and 15 vertebrates (24%).
The most celebrated environment of the archipelago is its Laurel forest which still extends over 15,000 hectares or 20% of the archipelago. These forests, of tremendous biodiversity richness, are the largest and best-preserved Laurel forests in the entire Macaronesia region. They are home to unique plant and animal species, including the famous Trocaz or Madeira Laurel Pigeon (Columba trocaz), and the Madeira Kinglet (Regulus madeirensis), which has been elevated to the status of endemic species. The most threatened bird of Europe, the Madeiran or Zino’s Petrel (Pterodroma madeira) inhabits the highest cliffs it the Central Mountainous Massif.
In the waters around Madeira there are numerous species of marine mammals, including 28 species of cetaceans and the critically endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus). 5 species of marine turtles are believed to use these waters during their pelagic life stage. Additionally, deep water coral reefs grow at depths of 50 metres around the islands. Read more