|Portuguese Montado is the classic agroforestry system with tree densities usually of 30-60/ha and multiple uses including cork and charcoal production, and shooting and wildlife conservation, as well as livestock and arable production.|
The trees have been planted without support from an agri-environment scheme but with help from the Woodland Trust who are also supporting our research. Two plots are planted with trees at a density of 100/ha to represent a relatively high agroforestry density, and these will be compared with other plots at higher tree densities. Some are planted at 400/ha to represent the lowest permissible density for open woodland planting with government funding, and others are planted at 1,600/ha, the maximum density that can normally be funded for woodland creation. Trees will be thinned in due course as part of the normal management of such a plantation, but differences in tree density will be maintained. We anticipate very different results across this range of tree densities in terms of the trade-offs and synergies between our various economic and environmental objectives.
The next few years provide us with an opportunity to learn much about the management of the plots to meet our multiple objectives, and we will also be gathering data to help inform this process. Our initial priority is to gather baseline data on grass yield and lamb production, tree canopy area, bird numbers, and soil biology, organic matter, compaction and infiltration. These data will ultimately enable us to make environmental and economic assessments of tree planting on pasture under a range of scenarios, and recommendations for future policy and practice elsewhere.
|As the trees develop, we will explore the interactions between a range of objectives such as livestock production, carbon sequestration and flood risk management in relation to different tree planting densities.|