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Subprojects Phase I

Task 1 - Development of a help tool to make decisions about the integral and sustainable dehesa ecosystem management .

Research  Center La Orden-Valdesequera, University of Extremadura (Departamento de Geografía y Ordenación del Territorio-Grupo de Investigación Geoambiental GIGA).
Project coordinator or risponsible researcher: Mónica Murillo Vilanova (Research Center La Orden-Valdesequera).


The dehesa is a model example of high natural value agrarian system which, apart from its high environmental value (includes a great variety of habitats and a high biodiversity, which are included in the Appendix 1of the Habitats Direction), it has a great social, cultural and economic importance. Nevertheless, the natural values and the sustainability of this ecosystem are threatened nowadays. The alterations suffered through the history and the management tendencies are a danger for the conservation of the system.

The importance of the dehesa justifies the  adoption of measures, currently supported by grants with the mission of sponsoring individual actions, which encourages their achievement  in a poor way. There is an urge of focusing this problem from multiple and integral views. For this reason it is necessary to coordinate all the sectors involved (local governments, local authorities, producers, researchers, etc.), a complex process with conflicts of interests and with multidimensional characteristics. 

To accomplish this objective , the use of supporting systems for decision (SAD) supported by Information Technology, the decision making efficiency can improve providing the responsible actors with a general vision of the aspects to bear in mind ( soil, water, vegetation, conservation, profitability, climatic changes, public intervention, etc), as well as the possible alternatives and impacts, a big option range which provides easier negotiations and solutions to the conflicts. 

Other works have intended to offer isolated solutions for particular problems or to establish an unique management model. This project intends to offer a gadget to facilitate the decision making to those who are involved in the process according to the circumstances and objectives, in a whole way and considering the sustainability of the ecosystem. An open tool, capable to be implemented and to be used despite of the possible changes, useful in different scales and different spheres. A tool prepared to make the best choice despite of the difficulty, satisfying the multiple and often contradictory objectives.


  1. Detection of problems in the dehesa ecosystem in different spheres (management,  profitability, cultural and social management, etc.) and scales (local and regional exploitation).
  2. Definition of the needs and objectives related to different aspects of the ecosystem.
    • Profitability of the land: production, management, stockbreeding, crops…
    • Territorial objectives in a local, regional, national and international scale.
    • Environmental objectives, soil conservation, water availability, climatic change adaptation, habitats and species conservation…
  3. Elaboration of models for the accomplishment of the defined objectives.
  4. Development of a helping tool (Decision Support System) for the decision making about the integral and sustainable dehesa management, in order to get its social and economic possibility and its conservation as an ecosystem. This tool will be open to future implementations, according to the possible changes suitable to happen in different spheres.
Task 2.- Preparatory studies about the population dynamics of leaf miner plagues associated to the montado and fire Prevention in Portuguese Mediterranean forests.

Beja University Agrarian College (ESAB). 
Coordinator of the project or responsible researcher: Margarida Pereira (ESAB). 


 The phitosanitary situation in our montados is continuously getting worse due to the productivity and viability of this particular Mediterranean ecosystem. 

One of the causes frequently linked to this problem, is the presence of leaf miner plagues which threaten the trees foliage and, as a consequence, different vital physiological processes, as photosynthesis, breathing and transpiration. 

The definition of the suitable management strategies for this important phitosanitary problem means a knowledge about plagues biology, specially in their population dynamics and their temporary and spatial variability.

The monitorization of environmental variations, in a spatial and temporary context, and its relation with an eco-biology of this species, is an important phase for defining strategies to prevent and to find solutions.

The knowledge of the biology and of the life cycle of these plagues, as well as its ecology and population dynamics is essential for a sustainable management of the montado ecosystem.

Other two big problems of Portuguese forest, specially in the last years, have been the forestall ignitions and fires, more relevant in a period of drought, like spring/summer.
It is essential to take specific preventive, strategic measures (as good forestall practices , preventive selviculture, a correct forestall planning and order, or a performance of the law, etc.), in order to reduce the risk of forestall fires, or, in case of fire, to reduce the risk of propagation. For this, it is necessary to have better preventive equipments and to fight the fires, and the owners have to get the suitable formation to plan strategic measures to prevent the forestall fires. 

One of these measures, very important, is to promote discontinuities in the combustible mass of the forestall space, cleaning the land from a certain quantity of bush species.

In the Mediterranean countries, which can't escape from cyclical forestall fires, or withdrawing combustible bush from the forest assumes a relevant role, it facilitates the fight.


  1. To identify the leaf species which are present in the montado ecosystem.2. To value the relative importance, and the importance variability, in the spatial and temporary components. 
  2. To identify the critical moments for each species. 
  3. To characterize the critical places identified.
  4. To characterize the Mediterranean forestall Portuguese spaces.
  5. To value and characterize the combustible shrubs. 
  6. To identify the main causes which are responsible for the ignition and for the forestall fires propagation. 
  7. To keep an idea of the forestall fires consequences, in the environmental, economic, social and cultural spheres.
  8. To propose preventive measures about forestall fires. 
  9. To propose management strategies about the montado plagues according to their biology and their population dynamics.