Presentation on theme: "The Montado (Cork and Holm oak woodland) Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência Lisboa, Portugal The Montado (Cork and Holm oak woodland) Museu."— Presentation transcript:
The Montado (Cork and Holm oak woodland) Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência Lisboa, Portugal The Montado (Cork and Holm oak woodland) Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência Lisboa, Portugal
A visit to the Montado (Cork and Holm oak woodland) in the Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência The Montado is a woodland ecosystem in which cereal crops, pasture land or Meso- Mediterranean arborescent matorral, in juxtaposition or rotation, are shaded by a fairly closed to very open canopy of native evergreen oaks, namely Cork and Holm oaks. In Portugal, Cork oak and Holm oak woodlands cover approximately 1.2 million ha from the Alentejo, in the central part of the country, to the Algarve in the south, including some non negligible areas in the center-east and northeast region (see maps below). As such, they represent 36% Portugal’s "forested area", in a sparsely populated region with ca. 5% of the population but with one of the country's (and the world’s) largest agricultural exports as cork. Additional biological products from these woodlands are the acorn (from Holm oak), herbaceous forage and specific cattle breeds such as the black Iberian pig and the gravanesa cow. Other commercial benefits arrive from charcoal production, cereal crop cultivation, honey production and wild mushroom picking. Aromatic/medicinal plants that grow in the understory layers also are used for industrial tannins and resin ladano production. Acorn and cork from Cork oak
Quercus rotundifolia and Quercus suber distribution in Portugal. Adapted from the National Forest Authority data. March 2001. Cork oak ( Quercus suber ) Holm oak ( Quercus rotundifolia )
Oaks from this ecosystem can grow up to a height of 82 feet and live for up to three hundred years, continuously serving the local populations, who periodically strip the bark of the Cork oak. This unique bark (cork) protects the tree both from cold winters and from fires in the dry summers, characteristic of the Mediterranean regions. Moreover, Cork oak trees act via biological processes to modify soil properties in the ecosystem. They enrich the soil in nutrients, attract different types of animals that supplement this modification, alter bulk density and porosity, and, thereby, increase the available soil stored water. Traditional methods of understory clearing have been replaced by effective mechanized ploughing to reduce understory fuel and thus the risk of fire exposure and damage. A typical Montado landscape is illustrated below: In Portugal the harvest of cork began in the 19th century on an industrial scale. In that period selective thinning and low density cultivation techniques were introduced to make use of the ground for farming. At the end of the 19th century, the Portuguese cork oak forests were considered the best managed in the world.
In these woodlands people use the forest and its biological products in a sustainable way to ensure the maintenance of the production. It is also the increase in the planting of Cork oak and Holm oak that is believed to lead to a reduction in soil erosion in southern Portugal. New and old Oak forests provide a livelihood for local populations. It is well know that the present and near future of locals are dependent on the harvesting of cork and on the maintenance of high biodiversity and functional complexity of these forests.
Fauna of the Montado The Cork oak and Holm Oak woodlands ensure a high biodiversity of wild fauna, including approximately 53% of Portuguese species of reptiles and amphibians, more than 160 bird species, and approximately 60% of the Portuguese species of mammals. Examples of animals commonly found in these woodlands include lizards, snakes, frogs, buzzards, kites, eagles, owls, magpies, hoopoes, bee-eaters, passerines, cranes in the winter, rabbits and hares, foxes, weasels, genets, wild boars, deer and some protected species like the Cabrera's Vole or some bat and bird species. Some of these species exist in the Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência collection:
Scientific name : Vulpes vulpes Family : Canidae Common name : Red fox Distribution : North America; North Africa and Euroasia Conservation status : Least concern (LC) Scientific name : Herpestes ichneumon Family : Herpestidae Common name : Egyptian mongoose Distribution : Egypt, Iberian peninsula, Israel and sub-Saharan Africa Conservation status : Least concern (LC) Scientific name : Genetta genetta Family : Viverridae Common name : Common genet Distribution : Africa, West of the Arabian peninsula; Northern Palestinian; Iberian peninsula and France Conservation status : Least concern (LC)
Scientific name: Meles meles Family: Mustelidae Common name: European badger Distribution: Europe Conservation status: Least concern (LC) Scientific name: Sus scrofa Family : Suidae Common name: Wild boar Distribution: Northern and Central Europe, the Mediterranean Region and Asia Conservation status: Least concern (LC) Additional information on these species can be found in: http://carnivora.fc.ul.pt/especies/asespecies.htm
Scientific name: Mustela nivalis Family : Mustelidae Common name : Least weasel Distribution : Eurasia, North America and North Africa Conservation status: Least concern (LC) Scientific name: Microtus cabrerae Thomas, 1906 Family: Cricetidae Common name: Cabrera's vole Distribution: Occurs in the Iberian Peninsula with a very fragmented distribution Conservation status: Vulnerable in the Portuguese Vertebrate Red Book and Near Threatened in the Red List of Threatened Species IUCN.
Scientific name: : Buteo buteo Family : Accipitridae Common name : Common buzzard Distribution : Europe and Asia Conservation status: Least concern (LC) Scientific name: Hieraaetus pennatus Family : Accipitridae Common name : Booted eagle Distribution: Southern Europe, North Africa and Asia. Conservation status: Least concern (LC) Scientific name: Merops apiaster Family : Meropidae Common name : European bee-eater Distribution: Southern Europe Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)
Scientific name: Alectoris rufa Family : Phasianidae Common name : Red-legged partridge Distribution: Southwestern Europe, France and Iberian Peninsula. Conservation status: Least concern (LC) Scientific name: Cyanopica cyanus Family : Corvidae Common name: Azure-winged Magpie Distribution: Southwestern part of the Iberian Peninsula Conservation status: Least concern (LC)
Scientific name: Athene noctua Family : Strigidae Common name: Little Owl Distribution: South Europe, Asia and North Africa Conservation status: Least Concern (LC) Scientific name: Fringilla coelebs Family : Fringillidae Common name: Chaffinch Distribution: Europe, Asia and North Africa Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)
Scientific name: Lacerta lepida Family : Lacertidae Common name : Ocellated Lizard Distribution : Iberian peninsula, West and Southeast of France and Northwest of Italy Conservation status: Least concern (LC) Scientific name: Malpolon monspessulanus Family : Colubridae Common name : Montpellier snake Distribution: Mediterranean basin Conservation status: Least concern (LC)
Flora of the Montado In Montado landscapes, plant diversity of the understory layers (when not used for cereal cultivation) can reach a level of more than 25 vascular plant species per square meter. Many of these species have aromatic, culinary or medicinal uses, including various types of lavender, oregano, rosemary, mint, etc.. The harvesting of these plants and subsequent processing is also an important economic resource for local people, besides cork extraction, cereal or acorn profit, forage for animals, honey or edible mushrooms.
Examples of herbaceous plants commonly found in the Montado Herbarium sheets from the Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência Echium plantagineum L. Carlina racemosa L. Chamaemelum mixtum (L.) All.
Chrysanthemum segetum L. Diplotaxis catholica (L.) DC. Raphanus raphanistrum L. subsp. raphanistrum
Medicago nigra (L.)Krock. var. vulgaris (Benth.) Franco Trifolium aureum Pollich Papaver rhoeas L.
Triticum aestivum L. Avena sativa L. Torilis arvensis (Huds.) Link
Lolium rigidum Gaudich Hordeum murinum L. susbsp. leporinum (Link)Arcang. Information on these species can be found in http://www.jb.utad.pt/pt/herbario/cons_reg.asp
The Cork oak Scientific name : Quercus suber L. Family : Fagaceae Common name: Cork oak tree Distribution : Endemic of Southwest Europe (Portugal, southern Spain, southern France, Italy) and North Africa (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia). Height : 10-20m The Cork oak occurred in the Tertiary Era (between the Oligocene and Miocene) since the beginning of Mediterranean sea formation, 60 million years ago. In Portugal, Pliocene fossils of this species were found in the Alentejo (South of Portugal). It is an evergreen tree. The Cork oak does not grow evenly during the year. In the winter, the tree canopy stay dormant. In the spring it returns to full activity extending to the end of summer. In Portugal, flowering happens between April and June and may continue for August and September.
This oak produces a suberous tissue (the cork) to involve the trunk and branches. This tissue has regenerative capacity and protects the tree against biotic and abiotic factors (fire) in its natural habitat. The cork extraction is a very important economic activity in Portugal and the cork oak is legally protected.
Some species of Montado exist in the Botanic Garden of the Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência and in the Herbarium collection : Scientific name: Quercus rotundifolia Lam. Family : Fagaceae Common name : Holm oak or Holly oak Distribution : Native of Mediterranean region Habitat: Mediterranean forests Height : 27 m This oak tree flowers from April to May. The male flowers are arranged in catkins while the female flowers are arranged in panicles. The fruits are acorns (big and sweet), used for animal forage (ex. black Iberian pig). The Holm Oak is an evergreen tree, with ragged spiny- toothed leaves when young and serrated leaves in adults.
Scientific name: Arbutus unedo L. Family: Ericaceae Common name: Strawberry Tree Distribution: Mediterranean region, SW France and Ireland Habitat: Mediterranean forests Height: 5m
Scientific name : Rosmarinus officinalis L. Family : Lamiaceae Common name : Rosemary Distribution : Mediterranean region Habitat: Mediterranean forests Height: 2 m
Scientific name: Erica arborea L. Family : Ericaceae Common name: Tree heath Distribution : Mediterranean region; Macaronesian, N e E Africa. Habitat: Mediterranean forests Height : 1 - 4m
César Garcia Scientific name : Cistus ladanifer L. Family : Cistaceae Common name : Brown-eyed Rockrose Distribution : Native of the western Mediterranean region Habitat: Mediterranean forests Height : 1-2.50 m
Scientific name : Centaurea sphaerocephala L. ssp. polyacantha (Willd.) Dostál Family : Asteriaceae Distribution : Iberian Peninsula (endemic) Habitat: C oastal thickets Scientific name : Genista sp. Family : Fabaceae In the Botanic Garden : Genista monspessulana (L.) L. Johnson: Mediterranean region Genista triacanthos Brot.: Iberian Peninsula and NW Morocco Genista tridentata L.: Iberian Peninsula
César Garcia Palmira Carvalho Scientific name : Zygodon forsteri (Dicks.) Mitt. Habitat: Holm oak woodland (high conservation status in Portugal and Europe) Scientific name : Dicranoweisia cirrata (Hedw.) Lindb. Ex Milde Habitat: Cork oak woodland Scientific name : Flavoparmelia caperata (L.) Hale Habitat: Cork and Holm oak woodland
Threats to the Montado in Portugal due to bad human practices Deforestation and habitat destruction (for house building, even though the trees are legally protected) Deforestation to plant exotic production (ex. Eucalyptus sp. for paper paste production) Fire (increasing probability with global warming and fallow abandonment ) Desertification (increasing with global warming) Increase of oak illnesses and plagues due to incorrect management during cork extraction and deep ploughing Hunting and prey control (legally not authorized species) Increase of cereal cultivation and modification of spatio-temporal mosaic rotation (fallow lands) Increase of intensive agriculture and greenhouse farming Increase in the use agro-chemicals Negligible efforts for the recovery and restoration of high-value biodiversity rangelands Absence of programs seeking for the conversion of Eucalyptus cultivations into natural forest Absence of legislation preventing the devastation due to incorrect management practices Absence of legislation and control for mushroom and fungi harvesting and use.
Some campaigns are already taking place to preserve regional ecosystems. Considering the Montado, a campaign was launched in Portugal for collecting bottle cork stoppers to recycle into corkboards, place mats, coasters, flooring, gaskets or insulation material: http://www.greencork.org/index8.php?idlingua=1&idbanner=2&idlink=2&id contador=14777& Be active: disseminate the importance for regional ecosystems preservation and the good practices to achieve such goal. Participate!