Farmer’s representations affecting the management of Montado as HNV: tensions created by public policies

Authors and Affiliations: 

Teresa Pinto-Correia and Carla Azeda
ICAAM – Universidade de Évora
Pólo da Mitra, Largo dos Colegiais, 7000 Évora, Portugal

Corresponding author: 
Teresa Pinto-Correia

The Montado is the silvo-pastoral land use system dominant in Southern Portugal. These systems combine an open tree cover of cork and holm oaks with grazing in the under-cover (Pinto-Correia et al 2011). Despite the acknowledged value of these systems due to their adaptation to the scarcity biophysical conditions of Southern Iberia, the uniqueness of cork production, the high nature value and the support of multiple public goods and services, in Portugal the area of the Montado is declining every year (Costa et al 2011; Godinho et al 2014). Supported on social sciences theoretical insights, this paper focus on the farmer’s decision process, and the representations that support their decisions (Pinto-Correia and Azeda 2017). The goal of the paper is to bring forward an analysis of the decision making process characteristics of Montado land owners today. The paper aims to bring light into the different representations that the land owners have on this system, and the existing convergence but also conflicts in their value set and actions – and which ultimately constitutes the frame for a difficult conservation of a HNV Montado. In order to address these issues, the paper is based on an empirical analysis undertaken in central Alentejo, in the municipality of Montemor-o-Novo, where the Montado still occupies today 60% of the total utilized agriculture area of the municipality. The analysis was based on a lareg scale survey to Montado farmers, followed by a series of in-depth interviews. Results show that there is an underlying conflict between farmer’s representation of the Montado and the practices they are applying in their everyday management. Dominant representations of the Montado by farmers rely strongly on the tree cover and the forestry component of the system, directly linking to their HNV. But controversy, their management is strongly focused on the livestock and grazing resources, and the nature value, forestry dimension and long term conservation seem to be strongly set apart. As described in literature for other systems, farmers are abandoning a resilient thinking of their farm system considering the internal factors, to adapt an external, driver oriented representation of their farm system. CAP coupled payments are seen as the main cause of this change. Further, perspectives for the future management are also influenced by the present drivers and dominant discourse. If the policy construction remains in its present state, the resilience of the Montado as a complex socio-ecological system is threatened in the very short term.


Costa, A., M. Madeira, J. Lima Santos, and A. Oliveira. 2011. “Change and Dynamics in Mediterranean Evergreen Oak Woodlands Landscapes of Southwestern Iberian Peninsula.” Landscape and Urban Planning 102 (3). Elsevier B.V.: 164–76. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2011.04.002.

Godinho, S., A. Gil, N. Guiomar, N. Neves, and T. Pinto-Correia. 2014. “A Remote Sensing-Based Approach to Estimating Montado Canopy Density Using the FCD Model: A Contribution to Identifying HNV Farmlands in Southern Portugal.” Agroforestry Systems. doi:10.1007/s10457-014-9769-3.

Pinto-Correia T., Ribeiro N. and Sá-Sousa P., 2011. : Introducing the montado, the cork and holm oak agroforestry system of Southern Portugal. Agroforestry Systems, Vol.82, 2:99-104 , DOI: 10.1007/s10457-011-9388-1

Pinto-Correia T. and Azeda C., 2017. Public policies creating tensions in Montado management models: insights from farmers’ representations. Land Use Policy, 64: 76-82. DOI 10.1016/j.landusepol.2017.02.029

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