FIELD TRIP 1
“Montado – a silvopastoral system with high biodiversity value”
Duration: 7.5 hours
Location: Serra de Monfurado, a Natura 2000 site near Évora
The Montado is a multifunctional silvopastoral system that is known for its high levels of biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources. However, in recent times, a general decline in the system has been observed in many areas due to various causes such as diseases, climate change, overgrazing, changes in land use and soil fertility. This decay is having negative impacts on biodiversity, ecosystem services, and the livelihoods of local communities. The Montado is a Mediterranean agro-sylvo-pastoral system, characterized by the presence of cork oak (Quercus suber) and holm oak (Quercus rotundifolia) trees, that are the main elements of the landscape. The scrub communities are diverse and typical of Mediterranean regions, and the landscape is also home to various freshwater habitats such as streams and temporary ponds, which enrich the biodiversity of the area. The cork oak is especially valuable for its bark that is harvested for cork production, which is an important economic activity. The acorns of the holm oak can feed the black pigs that graze in the undergrowth.
During this walk, we will explore a Montado landscape in the Mediterranean region, characterized by its well-preserved riparian areas. We will cover a distance of 10-12 kilometers and discuss the natural and social values of the landscape, as well as the management practices that are necessary to maintain them. This visit will provide an opportunity to learn about the biodiversity, ecosystem services, and cultural significance of the Montado, as well as the challenges and opportunities for its sustainable management.
FIELD TRIP 2
“Sylvopastoral systems and sustainable integrative solutions at the landscape level”
Isabel Ferraz & Elvira Sales Baptista
Duration: 7.5 hours
Location: Farms near Évora
Our visit will take us to different sustainable integrative approaches of sylvopastoral systems based on Montado. The Montado is a unique silvo-pastoral system based on native pastures under a canopy of evergreen oaks, where animals are raised free-ranging all year round. These systems have low labour and capital inputs and can provide a variety of ecosystem services. The oak trees are central to the multifunctional sylvopastoral Montado as, besides the cork and acorns’ production, they also provide shade and shelter to livestock. Regarding feed resources, the Montado main constraints are related to low soil fertility and rainfall variation that have a huge impact on pasture biomass and animal productivity. Sustainable integrative solutions at the landscape level to cope with uncertainty within this system will be discussed. The farms are located within 50 Km from Évora, in the heart of the Montado.
Visit to two estates to see, in situ, the different activities, with special emphasis on forestry and grazing, which contribute to the integrated and sustainable management of the Montado.
FIELD TRIP 3
“Cork and Forest Stands”
Ana Cristina Gonçalves
Visit to the Amorim cork factory and cork oak and umbrella pine forest stands.
Corticeira Amorim is the world’s biggest cork processing group and makes an unparalleled contribution to the business, market, economy, innovation and the sustainability of the entire cork industry. Founded in 1870, the company soon realised the infinite potential of this 100% natural raw material, transforming it into a widely-appreciated object in the context of an open, curious, alert, informed and prosperous society.
Cork oak and umbrella pine forest stands are multiple use systems characterised by its low density, heterogeneous spatial distribution, in which the main productions are bark (cork oak) and fruit, frequently associated to other productions such as grazing and non-woody products.
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