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Long-Term Ecosystem Research in Europe

Video explains threats to Montado's cork plantations

A video featuring the Montado long-term research site, one of the eLTER project's Transnational Access sites, has been produced by the OPERAs project.
Video explains threats to Montado's cork plantations

Montado cork oaks

The video explains how the cork plantations of Portugal are some of the most biologically diverse agricultural systems on the planet. Despite this, the unique Montado area is under threat from over exploitation, climate change and disease. The EU-funded OPERAs project has teamed up with Portuguese Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) staff to investigate how we can ensure the sustainability of the Montado into the future.

The Montado is a savannah-like forested landscape dominated by cork and holm oaks, shaped by traditional land use practices to create a unique agro-silvo-pastoral ecosystem, that combines forest harvesting, livestock husbandry, pastures and crops, with other uses (e.g. hunting).

Research in the Montado LTSER platform aims to understand how the Montado functions and how its ability to provide ecosystem services responds to land-use changes under a desertification scenario. Research addresses ecological indicators based on biodiversity changes, functional groups as early-warning indicators of climate change and desertification, nitrogen critical levels and loads, and ecological restoration.

Montado LTSER is one of 18 sites open for research access through the eLTER H2020 project's Transnational Access scheme. The scheme's first call for research proposals is due to close on 31 March 2016.