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Reference: LIFE19 CCA/PT/001178 | Acronym: LIFE DUNAS



The coastline of the Madeira archipelago is mostly rocky or based on rolling rocks. The unique dunes of Porto Santo Island are therefore attractive for touristic use, especially in the summer. However, extreme weather events, with the risk of more intense and more frequent storms, along with rising global sea levels are expected to increase the probability of coastline regression in this EU outermost region.


LIFE DUNASs main objective is to improve the resilience of Porto Santo Islands dune ecosystems to the impacts of climate change. The project aims to achieve this through ecosystem-based approaches, nature-based solutions and long-term sustainable use of pre-dune areas.

The specific objectives are:

  • Restoration of a higher-risk depression dune area, including geomorphological work using about 90 000 m3 of sand dredged from near-shore sand banks without compromising regular coastal dynamics, followed by ecosystem-based restoration based on production of over 39 000 native plants and control of invasive alien species (IAS) on a wider buffer area;
  • Promotion of innovative (re)use of pre-dune areas for agriculture, with production methods and practices that contribute to improved resilience, by mitigating losses due to wind erosion and sand devolving to the dunes; and
  • Improvement in overall climate governance and awareness raised among the local population and users of the sand dunes (tourists and tourism service providers), including through active participation and replication/transfer work.
  • With its use of ecosystem-based measures for sand dune restoration, thus increasing resilience to extreme weather events, LIFE DUNAS will contribute to both the EU strategy on adaptation to climate change (CCA) and Madeiras regional CCA strategy. The project will also support the EUs biodiversity strategy due to the following: improved nesting habitat for the Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus); improved conservation of the endemic flora species Lotus glaucus and Lotus loweanus; promotion of sustainable agricultural practices; and control of Invasive Alien Species (IAS). In addition, it will help implement the EUs IAS Regulation; transfer work could also foster the combat of other IAS present in Macaronesia.


    Expected results:

  • Improved coastal dune resilience, embracing almost 65 000 m2 of ecosystems, ensuring protection for the stretch of coastline at greater risk (nearly 3% of the sandy coastline);
  • Improved shadowing and microclimatic conditions to face heat waves on more than 45 000 m2, through planting of over 39 000 specimens of native flora;
  • Greater resilience to wind erosion in pre-dune areas on demonstration plots covering more than 19 000 m2 (almost 11 000 m2 of vineyard);
  • Improved resilience to flooding and erosion caused by storms in vulnerable areas, with full risk reduction for 15 households, one business (a restaurant) and public infrastructure (760 m of road); and
  • Complementary reduction in CO2 emissions from avoided energy consumption of over 235 kg/yr.

    Reference: LIFE19 CCA/PT/001178
    Acronym: LIFE DUNAS
    Start Date: 01/10/2020
    End Date: 30/09/2025
    Total Eligible Budget: 2,874,062 €
    EU Contribution: 1,580,734 €


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Secretaria Regional de Ambiente, Recursos Naturais e Alteraes Climticas
    Legal Status: PAT
    Address: Rua Dr. Pestana Jnior, 6, 5, 9064-506, FUNCHAL,
    Contact Person: Nuno Marques
    Email: Send Email
    Website: Visit Website

    LIFE Project Map



    • Natural resources and ecosystems
    • Coastal
    • Soil and landscape protection
    • Natural risks (Flood - Forest fire - Landslide)


    • environmental impact of tourism
    • island
    • nature conservation
    • land restoration
    • flood protection
    • climate adaptation strategy
    • climate resilience
    • coastal erosion
    • coastal management
    • erosion control
    • nature-based solutions


    • Regulation 1143/2014 - Prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species (22.10.2014)
    • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020” (03.05.2011)


    Name Type
    CMPS(Município do Porto Santo), Portugal Participant
    SRA(Secretaria Regional de Agricultura e Desenvolvimento Rural), Portugal Participant
    IFCN(Instituto das Florestas e Conservação da Natureza, IP-RAM), Portugal Participant
    VP-GVPPS(Vice-Presidência do Governo Regional / Gabinete do Vice-Presidente no Porto Santo), Portugal Participant
    FCUL(Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa), Portugal Participant