The Naturtejo Geopark of the Southern Plateau is the first geopark classified by UNESCO in Portugal, and since 2006, it has been a member of the European and Global Geopark networks. Its territory of around 5,000 km2 covers the municipalities of Castelo Branco, Idanha-a-Nova, Penamacor, Proença-a-Nova, Nisa, Oleiros and Vila Velha de Ródão, merging with the Tagus International Natural Park and other protected areas within the Natura 2000 network, Serra da Gardunha being one example.
In essence, the geopark consists of a territory oriented to the protection and promotion of geological heritage through sustainable development and, in this sense, it combines geodiversity, biodiversity, history, culture and intangible heritage. In fact, this classified area bears witness to 600 million years on a flat landscape, cut across by residual granite, sedimentary reliefs, tectonic alignments and quartzite ridges, as well as by the hydrographic network of the Tagus.
Its geodiversity is evidenced by the significant presence of sites of geological interest, in particular sixteen regionally important geological sites: Portas de Almourão, Minas de Segura mines, Montes-Ilha de Monsanto, the Fossilised Trunks of Vila Velha de Ródão, the Erges River Canyons, the Portas de Ródão Natural Monument, the Pedunculated Blocks of Arez-Alpalhão, Conhal do Arneiro Gold Mine, the Penha Garcia Trace Fossil Park, Garganta do Zêzere, Corgas Geomorphological Viewpoint, the Ponsul Fault, Meandros do Rio Zêzere, Fraga da Água d’Alta Waterfalls, Serra da Gardunha Granite Morphology and the Monforte da Beira Mining Complex.
A wide variety of flora and fauna in this area, is particular, in terms of fauna, the Iberian imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti), the black stork (Ciconia nigra), the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the red deer (Cervus elaphus), the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), the least weasel (Mustela nivalis), the Mediterranean house gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus), the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis), the Bosca’s newt (Triturus boscai), the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) and in terms of flora, the maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) and stone pine (Pinus pinea), the holm oak (Quercus rotundifolia), the cork oak (Quercus suber), the Pyrenean oak (Quercus pyrenaica), the European olive (Olea europaea spp.), the strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), the common juniper (Juniperus communis), the gum cistus (Cistus ladanifer), French lavender (Lavandula stoechas sp. sampaiana), various heathers (Erica spp.) and common myrtle (Myrtus communis).