The thermal Lake at Furnas , São Miguel, has been awarded the National Prize for Landscape-following 8 years of conservation work under a grant from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment in the framework of the European Landscape Convention.
The prize followed the conversion of hundreds of acres on the slopes adjacent to the waterbody.
The problem at Furnas Lake was eutrophication , a phenomenon which results in an excess of organic matter in the water caused by a concentration also excessive nutrients . The problem worsened over the last 50 years due to the use of the surrounding area for grazing and agricultural using fertilizer. The proliferation of pastures and loss of native vegetation also contributed to the degradation of the landscape.
The development plan for the basin of Furnas is a key tool for sustainable development in all aspects: environmental , economic , social , cultural , aesthetic , and integrating agriculture with conservation.
The plan in 2005 put hundreds of acres under new rules , aiming to recover the landscape and change the type of land use , seeking to prevent fertilizer runoff into the lake and trying to reverse the eutrophication process. The project also increased biodiversity and preserved the indigenous plant species in the area.
After the acquisition of land and subsequent relocation of cows and fertilizer from the watershed - sustainable alternatives helped farmers and reached into the diversification of activities and the tourism sector .
The Regional Government acquired about 265 acres of pasture and forest and removed tons of pollutants including plastics, tires , cars obsolete scrap and packaging pollutants . They also eradicated invasive plants , while another 34 acres of pasture land were reforested by the owners .
The project , being the winner of the National Prize for Landscape , will be the candidate to the 3rd. Annual Landscape Award of the Council of Europe .