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LTsER Montado platform joins international biodiversity monitoring study

16/06/2021. Text by Inês Teixeira do Rosário and Marta Daniela Santos. Photos shared by Inês Teixeira do Rosário.

The Companhia das Lezírias monitoring station, integrated in the LTsER Montado platform, has joined the LIFEPLAN project. The data collected will thus be added to those from different parts of the world, to better understand the current biodiversity status on our planet.

Taking as a starting point the fact that it is estimated that currently we do not know about 80% of the species that inhabit the Earth – while we are experiencing an accelerated species extinction – the LIFEPLAN project, promoted by the University of Helsinki (Finland), aims to establish the current state of biodiversity on the planet and use this knowledge to generate informed predictions of its future state.

Companhia das Lezírias, a monitoring station that integrates the LTsER Montado platform, has joined the LIFEPLAN project as a representative of the montado landscape, one of the identity landscapes of Portugal. Between March 2021 and the end of 2026, a team of researchers from the cE3c will each week collect images and sounds automatically recorded by cameras and acoustic devices (audiomoths) installed in trees, as well as collect samples of spores and flying insects. The team will also collect soil samples eight times a year. The collected data will then be compared with those of an urban habitat, to identify possible effects on biodiversity caused by air pollution, noise, habitat fragmentation or degradation or other pressure factors linked to urbanization.

“Only with the contribution of several teams will it be possible to obtain sufficient data for robust analyses, and only by maximizing the diversity of sampled habitats will we be able to have a more complete and approximate view of the state of biodiversity at a global level. Montado could not be left out of this important project”, explains Inês Teixeira do Rosário, PostDoc researcher at the Center for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes – cE3c, at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon (Portugal).

About Companhia das Lezírias on the LTsER Montado Platform

Companhia das Lezírias is one of the sites included in the LTsER Montado platform, representing the cork oak forest and a less arid climate comparing to the other sites of this platform, which represent the gradient of climate and land uses within the montado landscape. This savannah-like landscape (dehesa in spanish), dominated usually by cork oak (Quercus suber) or holm oak (Quercus ilex, sensu lato) trees, has been shaped by men along millennia and has resulted in a complex productive system with a high conservation value. In one space it combines forest production, pastoralism, the cultivation of cereals and other traditional land use practices. Currently, the montado faces several threats and drivers of change, such as climate change, that compromise the maintenance of its economic and environmental value. By developing long-term research at the LTsER Montado platform, cE3c aims to contribute to the development of sustainable management strategies that will promote its long-term sustainability.

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