Companhia das Lezírias - Portugal
Companhia das Lezírias
Parent Site Name
Companhia das Lezírias 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. Companhia das Lezírias is a state-run property, located in the bank tributary of the Tagus River, in the Ribatejo province, 30 km northeast Lisbon and 7 km from Vila Franca de Xira.Cork oak (Quercus suber) is the dominant tree type, with an average of 68 adult trees per hectare.Cork oak stands are the major use and the priority in terms of land management. It covers 6.751 ha (78% of forested land). Pine and eucalyptus stands (1.900 ha), agriculture areas, pastures and dams complete the current use of soil. Some tree decline is observed, especially on podzols. The natural regeneration of the tree stand is not uniform, and it is lacking in some places because of grazing and shrub clearing for fire prevention. No fires have been reported in the last 20 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 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