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Long-term sustainability of cork oak agro-forests in the Iberian Peninsula: A model-based approach aimed at supporting the best management options for the montado conservation


  • Arosa, M.L.
  • Bastos, R.
  • Cabral, J.A.
  • Freitas, H.
  • Costa, S.R.
  • Santos, M.


The future of the montado, a human shaped agro-forestry ecosystem of South Western Europe, is questioned due to the observed lack of cork oak health and low natural regeneration. We developed a System Dynamics Modelling approach to predict the long-term sustainability of this agro-forest, by recreating cork-oak population dynamics, management practices and the main environmental and biological constrains associated with this ecosystem. Our results indicate that the leading limitations to cork oak regeneration in montado ecosystems result from the intensity and interaction of land management practices, namely livestock and the use of heavy machinery. The main conclusions indicate that limiting the quantity of livestock up to 0.40 LU.ha−1, and considering soil ploughing with a minimum periodicity of 5 years, are crucial to maintaining sustainable cork oak populations. This study represents a first step to support strategic options for cork oak montado management by providing projections of long-term population trends under realistic social-ecological change scenarios.

Suggested Citation

  • Arosa, M.L. & Bastos, R. & Cabral, J.A. & Freitas, H. & Costa, S.R. & Santos, M., 2017. "Long-term sustainability of cork oak agro-forests in the Iberian Peninsula: A model-based approach aimed at supporting the best management options for the montado conservation," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 343(C), pages 68-79.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecomod:v:343:y:2017:i:c:p:68-79
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2016.10.008

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:eee:ecomod:v:295:y:2015:i:c:p:75-87 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Teresa Pinto-Correia & Helena Menezes & Luis Filipe Barroso, 2014. "The Landscape as an Asset in Southern European Fragile Agricultural Systems: Contrasts and Contradictions in Land Managers Attitudes and Practices," Landscape Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(2), pages 205-217, April.
    3. Gonzalez, Darinka & Cabral, João Alexandre & Torres, Laura & Santos, Mário, 2015. "A cohort-based modelling approach for managing olive moth Prays oleae (Bernard, 1788) populations in olive orchards," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 296(C), pages 46-56.
    4. António C. Pinheiro & Nuno Almeida Ribeiro & Peter Surový & Alfredo Gonçalves, 2008. "Economic implications of different cork oak forest management systems," Economics Working Papers 04_2008, University of Évora, Department of Economics (Portugal).
    5. repec:eee:ecomod:v:258:y:2013:i:c:p:91-100 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Ju-Sung Lee & Tatiana Filatova & Arika Ligmann-Zielinska & Behrooz Hassani-Mahmooei & Forrest Stonedahl & Iris Lorscheid & Alexey Voinov & J. Gary Polhill & Zhanli Sun & Dawn C. Parker, 2015. "The Complexities of Agent-Based Modeling Output Analysis," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 18(4), pages 1-4.
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