Mata de Sines - Portugal
Mata de Sines
Parent Site Name
Mata de Sines 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. Mata de Sines is a state property located in the littoral area in the Alentejo province, 140 km southeast Lisbon and 6 km from Sines (37° 59’N – 8° 50’W). Cork oak is the dominant tree in 301 ha of the total area, the remaining being occupied mostly by pine forest. Managed as a agro-silvo-pastoral system, most of the woodland has been managed so as to maintain or increase cork production during the last 15 years. Some tree decline is observed, especially on podzols. The natural regeneration of the tree stand is not uniform, and is lacking in some places because of old grazing and shrub clearing for fire prevention. Conflicting interests arise from the livestock grazing component, that affects the natural regeneration of cork oaks. Interventions and adjustments to promote natural regeneration and active afforestation are included in the management plan over the last 15 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