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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

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

Ecological Modelling, 2017, vol. 343, issue C, 68-79

Abstract: 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.

Keywords: Quercus suber; Modelling; Montado sustainability; Population dynamics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2016.10.008

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