Paulo Borges

First name: 


Last name: 




Main field of expertise: 

Terrestrial Conservation

Specialized in: 


Geographic region: 


Name of organisation: 

Azorean Biodiversity Group

Type of organisation: 


Main project your organisation is involved with, in relation to (sub)tropical biodiversity: 

NETBIOME/0003/2011 - ISLAND-BIODIV: Understanding biodiversity dynamics in tropical and subtropical islands as an aid to science based conservation action (2012-2015) Coordinator: Brent Emerson (Instituto de Productos Naturales y Agrobiología (IPNA-CSIC), Tenerife, Canary Islands); Members: Paulo Borges, Rui B. Elias (CITA-A – Azorean Biodiversity Group); Pedro Oromí, José María Fernández-Palacios (Univ de La Laguna, Canaries, Spain); Dominique Strasberg (Université de La Réunion); Christophe Thébaud (Université Paul Sabatier (Toulouse 3)), Juli Caujapé-Castells (Jardín Botánico Canario “Viera y Clavijo” – Unidad Asociada CSIC) Coordinator Portugal: Paulo Borges; Members: Rui B. Elias, António Onofre Soares, Pedro Cardoso, Carla Rego, José Marcelino, Isabel Amorim, Fernando Pereira (added recently: Rui Nunes, Maria Teresa Ferreira). Grant Student: Rui Carvalho Budget for the Azorean Biodiversity Group: 61.044,00€

COST Project 2012-1-12550 - European Information System for Alien Species (2013-2016) Coordinator: Helen Roy (NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (U.K.); Members: Paulo Borges, António Onofre Soares, Rui B. Elias, Isabel Borges, Artur Gil, (CITA-A – Azorean Biodiversity Group);

Good practices your organisation could share on tropical and subtropical sustainable biodiversity management: 


Biodiversity Databases


The main objective of the AZOREAN BIODIVERSITY PORTAL INFRASTRUCTURE ( was to promote the knowledge and conservation of biodiversity at land and sea, especially in the Azores, promoting the free access to scientific data on species distribution and sharing biodiversity data with the public

Methodology implemented: 

The Azores archipelago is considered a biodiversity hotspot and three of the islands are UNESCO Biosphere Reserves; nevertheless until recently there was no institution systematically compiling and archiving biodiversity information on a unique central repository. Thus aroused the initial concept of the Azorean Biodiversity Portal (ABP) in 2004, and in 2008 after years of gathering, accessing and digitizing biodiversity information from the literature, the ABP ( was formally launched on-line, co-funded by the EU INTERREG Project BIONATURA and the Azorean Government and based on the University of the Azores. The ABP includes a comprehensive collection of data on Azorean terrestrial, freshwater and marine biodiversity and an on-line gallery ( with some additional services like photo galleries, species identification tools, thematic pages. The original databases were recently migrated to a new platform (ATLANTIS 3.0; in collaboration with the Government of Canary Islands, using Open Source software which reduces system costs and encourages its implementation in other territories.

Existing results: 

ABP is currently recognized as a valuable outreach, management and conservation tool for all who work in science and protection of biodiversity. We have on average 2000 visits per day and our species distribution data, literature repository, species photo galleries and species identification tools are actively sought by web users. The ABP serves the biodiversity research community in its work to support the understanding Azores ecosystems by policy makers, resource managers, University students, the private sector and the general public.




Studies of island species and their natural histories have become fundamental to the understanding of the evolution, biology and ecology of animals and plants. Here we addressed a list of questions based on long-term ecological and biogeographical studies performed in the Azores, a remote volcanic oceanic archipelago composed by nine islands. The target group are arthropods, and the main habitat Laurisilva, the Azorean native forest.

Methodology implemented: 

The BALA project (2000-2010; Biodiversity of Arthropods from the Laurisilva of the Azores), a survey of arthropods distribution in Azorean native forests, was an important step towards the inclusion of arthropod groups in biodiversity conservation planning in the Azores. During this project standardized studies of Azorean arthropods allowed inferences to be made about their biology, ecology, rarity and conservation status. Transects (150 m x 5 m) were randomly placed within fragments of protected native forest. The number of transects per forest fragment was set up using a logarithmic scale, assuming a species-area relationship (SAR) with a slope (z) of 0.35 in a log-log scale (i.e., a 10 fold area increase implies a duplication of the number of species): 2 transects were set up for 10 ha forest fragments, 4 transects for for 100 ha fragments and 8 transects for 1,000 ha fragments. Consequently, higher sampling effort was applied to larger protected native forest areas (i.e. “proportional sampling”), making it possible to capture not only “area per se effects” but also unveil patterns that could be prevalent in larger areas, such as, spatial beta diversity

Existing results: 

The results obtained during the BALA long-term project (1999-2012) showed that some Azorean forest reserves are clearly more diverse than others, both in terms of alpha and gamma diversities. The effect of forest fragmentation has not been studied in detail, but the data obtained suggests that small fragments play a much more important role than previously thought (see Borges et al., 2005; Borges & Gabriel, 2009). For instance, based both on the presence of unique species and high species richness, the Pico Alto region in the archipelago´s oldest island, Santa Maria, is a hotspot of biodiversity. Over 57 endemic arthropod species are known from Pico Alto (Santa Maria Isl.), i.e. 21% of the Azorean endemic arthropods occurring in an area representing <0.25% of Azorean native forests. Other relevant areas occur on the islands of São Miguel (Pico da Vara), Terceira (Terra Brava, Caldeira da Serra de Santa Bárbara), São Jorge (Topo), Pico (Caveiro, Mistério da Prainha) and Flores (Morro Alto e Pico da Sé)

Good practice & policies your organisation suggests/desires on (sub) tropical biodiversity management.: 


Mapping Biodiversity with Standardized Protocols


A concerted, transnational and transregional effort towards understanding biodiversity dynamics in tropical and subtropical islands by adopting a novel comparative framework which encompasses a series of representative island systems , and using a standardized sampling Protocol.

Methodology implemented: 

For Arthropods we suggest the use of COBRA protocol with some adaptations!cobra/c10g0

Existing results: 

Several projects are applying this protocol in several parts of the world allowing the comparison of biodiversity in Latitudinal gradients.