Machuqueira do Grou - Portugal
Machuqueira do Grou
Parent Site Name
Machuqueira do Grou is one of the six research and monitoring stations of LTER-Montado, an umbrella site located in the Alentejo province in south Portugal (southwestern Iberia). The "Montado" represents an unique agro-silvo-pastoral ecosystem (named "dehesa" in Spain) found only in the Mediterranean basin. These savannah-like landscapes are dominated by evergreen cork and/or holm oaks and were shaped over millennia of traditional land use practices. These multi-use forests are two-layered systems that combine, in a single space, forest harvesting, extensive livestock husbandry, pastures and/or cereal cultivation (the most evident economical revenues), with other traditional uses (hunting, beekeeping and mushroom picking). Recently, increasing awareness arose on their benefits as biodiversity reservoirs, recreation grounds, and other ecosystem services providers, but these non-productive functions are not equally perceived and valued by users, as they tend to be conflicting with productive ones. Machuqueira do Grou is a state-run property, located Bank tributary of the Tagus River, in the Ribatejo province, 100 km northeast Lisbon and 25 km from Coruche (39.116° N – 8.352°W). Cork oak (Quercus suber) is the dominant tree type, with an average of 90 adult trees per hectare. Managed as an agro-silvo-pastoral system but most of the woodland has been managed so as to maintain or increase tree crown cover over the last 10 years. Some tree decline is observed, especially on podzols. The natural regeneration of the tree stand is not uniform, and they are lacking in some places because of grazing and shrub clearing for fire prevention. No fires have been reported in the last 100 years. Conflicting interests arise from the livestock grazing component that affects the natural regeneration of cork oak trees. Interventions and adjustments to promote natural regeneration and active afforestation (e.g. fencing combined with shrub clearing) have been included in the stakeholder´s management plan over the last 5 years.
General Characteristics, Purpose, History
The main core research encompasses the classical LTER objectives and goes further, aiming to understand how montado functioning and ability to provide ecosystem services respond to land-use changes under a desertification scenario predicted by global climate change models.
Affiliation and Network Specific Information