Obô do Príncipe Natural Park - PNP

Obô do Príncipe Natural Park - PNP

The Obô do Príncipe Natural Park was created by Law n.º 7/2006, of June 13, arising from the need to identify, delimit and manage the fundamental territories dedicated to the conservation of wild fauna and flora habitats and the biological diversity that characterizes the Santomean national heritage, which is also a relevant heritage of humanity. It is internationally recognized for its global relevance to biodiversity conservation, incorporating all remaining native forest and occupying 45% of the island's area.

The park's boundaries are well defined in the respective law (with the exception of the buffer zone, whose interpretation remained arbitrary) and, since it was established, the PNP has already had two Management Plans (PM; periods 2009-2014 and 2015-2020).


The creation of the Park has the following objectives: a) The preservation, conservation and defense of the forest ecosystems of Príncipe; b) Safeguarding endangered animal and plant species and habitats; c) Conservation and restoration of migratory fauna habitats; d) The promotion of the orderly use of the territory and its natural resources in order to guarantee the continuity of evolutionary processes; e) The promotion of studies on the dynamics of the forest from the perspective of the sustainable use of resources; f) Preparation of studies to assess the impact of human activity, national and foreign economic agents on the forest and surrounding ecosystems; g) The establishment of a monitoring system for forest exploitation activities; h) The defense and promotion of activities and traditional ways of life of resident populations that do not harm the ecological heritage; i) The promotion of the economic development and well-being of the resident communities in a way that does not harm the natural and cultural values of the area.

Park Management Zones

The park's boundaries are well defined in the respective law (with the exception of the buffer zone, whose interpretation remained arbitrary) and, since it was established, the PNP has already had two Management Plans (PM; periods 2009-2014 and 2015-2020).

In the PNP, six macro-management areas are identified, considering their territorial discontinuity

Full protection zones:

  • Southern Massif
  • Trails and Pico Negro

Controlled exploration zones:

  • Slopes of the Southern Massif
  • dry beach
  • olive forest
  • Marine Zone
History of management, delimitations and governance

The Basic Environmental Law (Law No. 10/1999) and the Fauna, Flora and Protected Areas Conservation Law (Law No. 11/1999) paved the way for the designation of terrestrial protected areas, recognizing the unique natural heritage of STP, the richness of endemisms and intrinsic value. This recognition was achieved in 2006, with the creation of the Obô de São Tomé Natural Park (Law no. 6/2006) and the Obô do Príncipe Natural Park (Law no. National System of Protected Areas.


The name "Obô" used in the law as 'Parque Natural Obô do Príncipe', which means "virgin forest" in Forro, Creole from the island of São Tomé, does not correspond to the dialect of the Island of Príncipe and therefore some authors adopt the name "Prince's Natural Park" (PNP). In Lunguié, the dialect of the island of Príncipe, "virgin forest" translates

Principais Intervenções de Gestão no PNP

Limits on PNP

The PNP was created with the objective of protecting the most representative ecosystems of the southern part of the island of Príncipe, including a maritime area (or “maritime strip”) along the southwest coast. The PNP has an area of 7,124 ha, divided into two geographically distinct zones.

  1. The southern region, which covers more than a third of the surface of the island, encompasses most of the mountainous region of the island, including its highest peaks (Picos do Príncipe, Agulha, João Dias Pai, João Dias Filho, Papagaio, Cariote and Mencorne) and a marine strip 500 m long from the coastline;

  2. The significantly smaller Olive Forest in the northwest region of the island, consisting of an ancient secondary forest covering an area of 229 hectares

The PNP is further divided into Management Zones, corresponding to “integral preservation zones” where only scientific activities, monitoring of biodiversity and threats and controlled excursions are allowed; and “controlled logging zones” or “partial protection zones” where some tourism activities, controlled use of forest resources and light construction are also permitted (see table ).

Characterization of abiotic and biotic factors

  • Abiotic Factors

    Abiotic Factors are the non-living components of an ecosystem. They include physical, chemical, and geological factors such as temperature, sunlight, humidity, soil pH, water chemistry, and topography. These abiotic factors can have a direct impact on living organisms. For example, sunlight availability affects plant photosynthesis, temperature influences animal metabolism, and humidity affects species distribution.


    Príncipe Island has a humid tropical climate, with two seasons of three hot and rainy months, four months of Gravana (June to September), a drier period with lower temperatures, and a period between January and February, called Gravaninha. and characterized by less precipitation and lower temperatures. According to the modified Thornthwaite classification, the island is divided into three climatic zones: super-humid, humid and sub-humid. The average annual precipitation varies approximately between 2000mm, in the low areas in the north and northeast, and 4000mm in the areas of higher elevation in the south. The average annual temperature is 25.2ºC, with an average annual relative humidity of 82.5%.


    Príncipe Island is part of the Cameroon volcanic line and had its origin 31 million years ago. Despite its small size, its geological characteristics are not uniform between the north and south of the island. The northern region consists of a low plateau between 120 and 180m, with small reliefs and slopes that lead to the sea. The southern region is much more rugged and includes several peaks, including the highest on the island (Pico do Príncipe, 948m), inserted in a mountain range from east to west, starting at Morro de Leste and Pico de Mencorne and descending west to Carriote and further on to Pico Mesa, which is almost separated from the mountain range; and which expands to the north with the Picos Papagaio, João Dias Pai and João Dias Filho.


    Príncipe Island has three main rivers: Papagaio, Bibi and Banzú. The three rivers are critical sources of water for the inhabitants, all having their origin in the PNP (Figure 6). In particular, the Papagaio River is the main source of drinking water for the capital Santo António, and a considerable part of its lower course is occupied by plantations. The regional authorities have a strong interest in the exploitation of hydroelectric power and there are plans to use these three rivers to provide drinking water to the communities. -Click to see the map of the island's watershed

  • Biotic Factors

Main Management Interventions in the PNP