MONTADO - MONTADO - Conservation and valorisation of Montado Forestry systems for combatting desertification

LIFE99 ENV/P/000657

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Nazare TOUREIRO
Tel: +351266857666/611574
Fax: +351266/987674
Email: atd@terrasdentro.pt

Project description:


A montado (the Portuguese equivalent of the Spanish ‘dehesa’) is a savannah-like agro-forestry-pastoral ecosystem that consists of scattered tree cover (60–100 trees per ha) dominated by evergreen oaks (cork oak, Quercus suber, and holm oak, Q. rotundifolia), with pastures and agricultural fields (clover, wheat, barley, oats) as undercover, usually in a rotation scheme that includes fallow periods. It is a high biodiversity system, and the varying tree density suggests that these human-made agro-ecosystems have adjusted to local climate. Shrubs sprout frequently (e.g., Cistus, Erica, Lavandula, and Ulex ssp.), and are either cleared out or artificially kept at low densities (Pereira, P. M. and M. Pires da Fonseca. 2003. Nature vs. nurture: the making of the montado ecosystem. Conservation Ecology 7(3): 7. URL: http://www.consecol.org/vol7/iss3/art7). Hilly montado areas are more sensitive to erosion and integrated actions could help reduce this and promote sustainable development.


The project’s main objective is to support and stimulate the local and integrated development of the rural economy and to tackle desertification by means of sustainable management of the montado ecosystem. With a wide range of interdisciplinary means, involving as many stakeholders as possible, the project will take an integrated approach to the montado forest ecosystems in two hilly areas with representative regional characteristics: Grândola and Portel. The project will focus both on production (at the level of ecosystem management techniques) and consumption (at the level of sales and educating the consumer). The project will also create a sustainable system (economic and environmental), which will contribute to halting the desertification process with a positive effect on land, water, biodiversity and landscape.


The project obtained significant results, including the participation and interest of a large number of forestry producers, technicians, teachers and students. The spread of semi-arid conditions through the South of Europe and the generalised decline of Cork Oak (Quercus spp.) ecosystems throughout Europe give this project relevance beyond the Portuguese border –hence the interest of the Community. The project’s activities were planned in response to the strategy adopted under the former 5th Action Programme (1992 – 2001), which defined EU policy relating to the environment: reinforced knowledge and control of environmental status, reinforced research and development of economical and less environmental harmful technologies, comprehension through information, sensitisation and formation. The inter-disciplinary handling of the project management was considered an innovation. The tasks of co-ordinating and training the inter-disciplinary team ensured the continuity of the activities carried out during the project. Also, the project’s establishment and development methodology was based on the concept of “technology push & market pull”, which had never previously been applied to the management of natural resources. Intervening simultaneously in production and market permitted the full integration of the effort put into the project. These approaches allowed synergies to be created and results to be strengthened. This methodology was disseminated so that other associations with characteristics similar to those of this project can apply it. This promoted the transfer of knowledge and skills to rural and urban areas, research and development institutions, companies, public administration bodies, civil organisations and the scientific community in general. The installation of two Interpretation Centres, helping to guarantee the continuity of the project’s activities in the future, and several environmental education activities (for students in local and regional schools) was very important for project dissemination. In order to bring the project to the public’s attention, it was presented at trade fairs, seminars and conferences, whilst supplements and articles were published in specialist magazines. Through the establishment of a set of partnerships, the project ensured the participation of all social and economic sectors, as well as full support in the regional context. The participation of companies and producers made the project economically relevant. The project activities influenced the level of expansion of quality products and services, because of the environmental and sustainability parameters that were incorporated. The demonstrative character of the partnership will help to encourage other agents to use the same methodology and to develop the process in other areas or sectors in which the project is involved. One of the most important results/decisions was the creation of the “Pró-Montado” Association, with the participation of all the partners in the project. The main aim of this association is to continue the actions carried out under the project. However, there are no integrated applications at regional level although there are actions at a sector level, which, according to the Programa de Acção Nacional de Combate à Desertificação (ONACCD, 1997 – The National Programme to Fight Against Desertification), creates a risk factor for the failure of actions.


Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Forests
Land-use & Planning - Forest management


desertification‚  forestry‚  preventive measure

Target EU Legislation

  • Land & Soil
  • Regulation 2078/92 - Agricultural production methods compatible with the requirements of the prot ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator TERRAS DENTRO - Ass. para o Desenvolvimento Integrado de Micro-regiões Rurais
Type of organisation SME Small and medium sized enterprise
Description The beneficiary of this project is Terras Dentro – Associação para o Desenvolvimento Integrado das Micro-regiões Rurais (ATD). Created in 1991, this private organisation (association) located in Alentejo Region (Alcáçovas) works in rural development and in promoting socio-economic development in small communities. ATD also has experience in the promotion, management and execution of several programmes under LEADER I and II, NOW 1 and 2 and INTEGRAR.
Partners Câmara Municipal de Portel (local authority), PT Câmara Municipal de Santiago do Cacém (local authority), PT Câmara Municipal de Grândola (local authority), PT ADREG – Associação para o Desenvolvimento da Região de Grândola (local development association), PT ESDIME – Agência para o Desenvolvimento Local no Alentejo Sudoeste, CRL (local development association), PT ANSUB – Associação dos Produtores Florestais do Vale do Sado (producers' association), PT IMOBIENTE – Ambiente e Recursos da Terra, Lda (private structure), PT ERENA – Ordenamento e Gestão de Recursos Naturais, Ldª (private structure), PT CEF - Centro de Estudos Florestais / Instituto Superior de Agronomia (university), PT CESEE – Centro de Estudos de Sistemas Ecológicos e Económicos (university), PT CBA - Centro de Biologia Ambiental / Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa (university), PT CEDECO - Centro de Desarrollo Comarcal de Tentudía (ES)


Project reference LIFE99 ENV/P/000657
Duration 01-JAN-2000 to 01-JAN -2003
Total budget 637,929.46 €
EU contribution 318,964.73 €
Project location Alentejo(Portugal)


Read more:

Project web site Project website
Publication Title: Project Features Author: Terras Dentro Year: 2003 No of pages: 18


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version