2013-08-16

Waterfall and water channel ("levada") of Caldeirão Verde, Madeira - Portugal (UNESCO WHS)

© Ana Sé (photo) / Governo Regional da Madeira

Unused, sent by "ninocas"

"The property also contains an important testimony of human use. The settlers of Madeira constructed water channels, known as levadas, which run through the forest following the contours of the landscape, and clinging to the cliffs and steep-sided valleys. Typically 80-150 cm wide and constructed of stone or more recently concrete, they carry water from the forest to hydropower stations and to the towns of the south, where they provide essential drinking water and irrigation supplies. Along the levadas there are paths typically 1-2m wide, which allow access to the otherwise almost impenetrable forest. The impact of these features on the property is limited, and also has some benefit for conservation, since they allow access to the forest on relatively flat paths and cover only an infinitesimal area of land. None has been built for 70 years, but the present ones are carefully maintained. Apart from the levadas, and the occasional tiny hut used by those that maintain them, human development within the property is very limited and there is no habitation, no buildings, except the occasional tiny hut for those who maintain the levadas, and no cultivated land. There are limited impacts from two roads, with plans to replace one by a tunnel." In: UNESCO
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