natural heritage - Biblioteca Digital do IPB


natural heritage - Biblioteca Digital do IPB
Dr. Niki Evc lpido ll
Nationa) .lIId Ka pod islrian
Uni"ersity 01' Athens
F:u.: ulty 01' G~ology
anel Geoenviro nmenl
Deparl mCnl (lI' Geogra phy
ano Clilllatology
Panepisti mio po lis_ Gr- !5 7S4
Alhe ns . G rcece
evelpidou @geol .uoa .gr
Dr. TOI11,ís de Fi gueiredo
C IMO. Escol a S u]X'rior Agr.íria
In ~t i tu to Po li t6.:n ic o de Braganç a
E. S. Agr:íria
C IMO-Moutai n Rcsç;nch Ce nlrc
Apartado I 172. 53Ul -fi55
Bragança. Po rtug a l
Dr. Valwp Tec im
Dokuz Ey líi l Un ivc rsity
Facuity uI' Eço nom ics
and Ad min istralive Sc ic llcc
J5 ! 60. Buc ..II1.l11ir. Turkq
vahap.lccim @d
Dr. Andreas Vassilopolllos
Geoenv iron menla l lnstitule
Flias 13. Maroussi
15 1 25. Athens . G rcece
vassi lopoulos @geocnvi.o rg
Dr. Franet:sco Mauro
Un ivcrsilà Tele malk a
Gug lidmo Marconi
Via Plinio44. 00193
mauro s u ~ta in abi l il y0) y ahoo.colll
IOl11asfig <t!o
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lhe NalÍonal Agcney
Montesinho and the Mountains
of Northern Portugal
Tomás de Figueiredo
Portugal has a singular geographic position in lhe European context (Ribeiro
et ai., 1987). Set on lhe 11105t \Vestem coast af lhe lberian Peninsula. Portugal faces
the Atlantic in an area where it is already characterized by lhe cold and rough waters
so well known to northwestern Europeans. This coast looks due \Vest, as can be secn
from the continental map outline; and iI certain]y contributed to Portugal's leading
role in lhe fifteen LO sixteenth centuries anel later. As a maritime power Portugal
provided Europe \Vith the wonders [rom across lhe seas, aml as a cultural melting
pOl Portugal, at lhat time, reshaped lhe European view af lhe \Vorlel. The vision af
a maritime destiny drove the policies and common thinking of Portugal for a long
time. Portugal shares the Atlantic with other western European cOllntries; aml nowadays also shares their strategic agenda, in which marine environmental threats aml
slIstainable resollrce use rank highly (Ferreira, 2005b).
Portugal, a singular geographic position: facing lhe Atlantic , rooted in lhe Mcditcrranean world
T. de Figueiredo (C8J)
Instituto Politécnico de Bragança. Escola Superior Agrária. Mountain Research Centcr - CIMO,
Campus Sta Apolónia, 530 I-RSS. Bragança, Portugal
e-mail: tomasflg
N, Evclpidou et aI. (eds .), Natural Heri/(IRe./i"Ol1l East to Wesl ,
DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-01577-9_ 14, (Ô Springcr-Vcrlag Berlin Hcidclbcrg 2010
T. de Figueiredo
ln spite of irs peripheral positioll , Portugal is part of the Mediterranean world
(Ribeiro, 1986). Mediterranean climatic [ealures are found in almost ali the
Portuguese continental territory. The exception is the northwcstern tract, from the
coast lo an impressive mountain range inland, whose crests are the wettest spots
in ali Europe and where Mediterranean character is drow ned o ut by the western
oceanic inOuence (Azeve do et aI. , 1998). Climate broadly determ ines vegetation
elistribution anel thu s Portugal hosts th e flora also found aroLlnel lhe Mediterr~H1ean
basin , although with spec ificilies anel endemic [eatures thar give it a characteristic
richne ss and variety (Guerreiro, 199 1). Craps, crop sys tc ms anel cultivation techniques al so cam e from the East (Caldas, 1998). The cultural matI'ix of Portugal
has been influenced from faro Greek, Phoenician and Carthaginian settlers, Roman ,
Germanic and Arab conquerors: ali sought the praducts of thi s land; ali left thei r
intangible imprint anel material lcgacy: ali aelded a laycr, thicker 01' shallower, to
the firm cultural graund Portuguese step on. And ali but lhe Gennan came fra m the
Mediterranean basin (Mattoso, coard. 1992) .
The ol ive trec. symbol ofthe Ml'diterrancan: 011 a grove aI Valbolll dos Figos. !leal'
Mirandela. NE Portugal (phOIO by A. Guerra)
ln Portugal, Atlantic and Mcditerranean, the sea is an ever-prese nt geographic
feature (Mede iros, 2005 ). The coastal sands and clitls, however, form a narrow
strip, and sea winds are hardly fe lt inlanel, wherc continental effects originating
in the core of the lbcrian Pcnin s ula progress ivel y replace tho se of the ocean, anel
seasonal climatic contrasts beco me wider (Daveau , 1985). Orography is th e rnain
factor explaining cli malic g raelients from the coast inwards, as altitude increases anel
rnountain range s b[ock the eastwarel trajectory of the humid air (Ferreira, 2005a).
Montesinho uml the Mountains 0 1' Non he rn Port ugal
However. Portugal is not globally a hi ghland country, as 70% of the territory is
be low 400 m. average elevation being 240 !TI (Medeiros, 1987). Sut the North (average 370 lll) anel the South (160 m) clearly differ in elevation anel any orographic
cffecl on c limate lllainly concerns the area north of the Tagus River, where 75% of
the land is above 200 m. The maXilllU!TI elevation ( I ,993 m) is in the top of Serra da
Estrela, in the Central Cordillera, whereas the south the highest Serra barely exceeds
1,000 m (S. Mamede in castern Ale ntejo. 1,027 m ).
The Northern Portugal Highlands are thus the most important Portuguese moullwin areas. They ali belong to the same geo-structural unil: the Hesperic Massif.
The other two units are the Mesocenozoic rim s (weste m and so uthern belts with,
domin antly, Secondary limesto ne and samlstone s) and the Tagus basin (actually the
700- 1000m
HYPsoll1etry and the highlands 01' Ponuguese continen tal te rritory (S lvl - Serra
de Montesinho: AM - Alvilo-tvlariío: SE - Serra da Estrela: NWH - Northwest
Beira High lands: PG - Pe neda-Gerês: SA - Serra d· Aire: SMD - Serra de S.
Mamede) (adapted from Ri beiro 19 Ró: Illap by N. Evclpidoll)
T. de Figueiredo
ancient bascmcnt depressed anel covered \Vith thick Tertiary or younger sedi ments.
mostly loose). The Hesperic ar Ancient, Paleozoic bascment oUlcrops in most ofthe
Portuguese continental territory. However. north ofthe Tagus, it is part ofthe lberian
Meseta northern block, a large plateau where average altitude is around 700m, in
contras! with lhe southern block lhat does no! exceed 400 111 in elevation (Medeiros,
1987). Hypsometry is the Qutcome of this structure anel of its very long history,
which dates back to Paleozoic times anel includes Hercinian (Variscan ) orogenic
activity anel later Iithospheric block rcarrangements (Medei ros , 1987). Sedimentary
rocks barely lasted 50 as to contribute s ignificantly to the lithology of the Northern
Portugal Highlanels, which Jre composed of metamorphic (schislS) anel magmatic
rocks (granites). Prevailing morphology anel lithology do not favoU!' pedogenesis,
anel so the soits are, for the most, incipiently developed. The sha llow, stony and aciel
soils of these arcas have low fertility anel are gencrally only sui tab le for forestry 01'
other less resollrcc-demaneling !anel uses (CN ROA 1983).
Colei, winely anel remate, having few resources that wOlllel attract anel invite
hllman seulement, the Northern Portugal Highlands retain the remnants of lhose
Geologicul ske!c!l 01' conti nental Portugal (very simpli ficd): Lcft- Morphoslrucluralunits (I - Hesperic Massif: 2 - Mesoccnowic Rim s: 3 - Tagus-Sado
Cenozuic Basin): Right - Main lithologies (I - Variscan acid igneous rocks. as
granites: 2 - Paleozoic metasedimenlary rnch. as schists: 3 - Mesozoic
sedimentary deposits, mainly hard, as lirncstoncs, marl s. sandstones and clays:
4 - CCllo7oic sedimentary deposits, mainl y loosc. as sands. clays. sandstones,
marl s and limestones) (adaptcd from Ferreira 2005)
Montesinho <tnd the MOLlnlains of Northern Portugal
ancient people to whom the arca, with its valleys containing thick barriers of tall
bushes, was a refuge from a mcnacing world. The Castros anel Citânias archeological sites give us a picture of life beforc the Romalls, who took so long to make these
brave and rude highlanders their subjects (Mattoso, coord. J992). The mountains
are still a home for the fcw prcpared to live under harsh conclitions, a territory for
shepherds al1(l moving herds till reccnt times, with relicts of coml11unal Jand use al1(l
wide forest areas, n01 always sharing peaceful co-existence (Ribeiro 1991, Caldas
1998). This is a changing \and, less aml less populated, more aml more sought
artel' by visitors seeking rccreation, adventurc, nature, tradition and culture. It is
also a lancl increasingly in demancl forenergy production: hydropower, wind energy
and biomass. New challenges and confticting interests are changing this land, while
seeking opportunities to test sustainability and related concepts applied in practicc.
Montesinho: shruhtand near A velerJa. NE Bragança, with Spain in the far horizon
(photo by T. de Figueiredo)
Montesinho is the most northeastern of the Portuguese mountains and lhe fourth
highest (1,487 m). lt gives its na me to a Natural Park, one Df the largest in Portugal.
The Natural Park has a remarkable geology and relevant natural values, and inc\udes
singular examples af a balanced and long-lasting relationship between the human
communities settled here, the land they use, and the landscape they helped creatc.
This was the study area selected by thc Portuguese team in EDUNatHer, a Leonardo
da Vinci Pilot Project. The team is, in fact, part af the team responsible for the
Management Plan of Montesinho Natural Park (IPB/ICN 2006); this is a document
recently produced by the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança (IPB), under contract
to lhe Institute for Nature Conservation (ICN). Furlhermore, Montesinho is, 01' has
T. de Figueiredo
been, a study area for a largc Ilumber oi' IPB researchers during the la5t 20 years
or more. Scientific expertise, experiencc in convcrting it to decision support doclI111cnts, and lhe involvcment in EDUNatHer, all together explain lhe importance
given to Montesinho in this context.
Zêzere Rivcr in Serra da Estrela: a Tagus tributary funning in a U-s haped old
glacier valley (photo by C. Aguiar)
Montalegre area in Peneda-Gerês Nalional Park (photo hy 1. Vicente)
Montes inho and lhe MOUlHains 01' Northern
Po rtu~al
11 7
Bes ides Montesinho. th e chapter describes each of the major lllo untain ranges
norlh of lhe Tagus Ri ver (excl udin g those on the Mesocenozoic wes tem rim wilh
a maXill1l11ll of 679 m e leva tioll. in Serra d' Aire). Ge rês is the most Ilo rth westem anel iI is the most humid of ali, wilh summit elevat ioll at J ,545 111. II is in the
oldest protecled area of Portugal, lh e National Park 01' Pe neda-Gerês. Although
actua ll y dist inct. Alvão anel Marão are two ne ighborin g peaks (1.339 111 anel 1,415
111. respec ti ve ly) wilh similarities lha! juslify being Irealeel together. Ir Montesinho.
Alvão -Marão and Ge rês are . strictly, !lonhem highlands, lhe o lhers COI1sidered he re have lhe salllc label in a \Vide r se nse. Se rra da Estrela, ar si Illpl y Estrela,
is lhe hi ghe st peak in Portugal, anel gives its !lame to th e largesl Portllgu cse Natural
Park. The Nonhwcst Bcira (an olLi province nam c. wilh no currcnt administrati vc
meaning bUI 51ill cOllllllo nl y used) cO lll pri ses a serics oi' sUITIlllits wilh lower alti tude than thase JUS! menli o ncd (Caramul o. lhe highesl. 1,200 111): nevenheless Ihis
is a ty pical hi ghland arca.
Photos By
A. Guc rra. al z ira. guerra@
Azevedo. A. L. . Gonçnlves. D. A. & Machaclo. R. M. A. 1998. EI/(;I{/I'e.~ di' dili/a Cj.~. 1/0 AlIO
Portl/gal: li d({II.1"lI trwlsir(io ell/re a lI)éria Húmida e a !lH!ria Seca (Série estudos N 39).
Bragança: In stituto Pol itécnico de Bragança.
Caldas. E. de C. 1998. A A!jricl/llilra IIlI His/ôria d e Ponl/ gal. Li shon: Empresa de Publicaçõe s
Nac iona l.
CN ROA. 1983. Cal"la de Capacidade de U.W do Solo de Portuga l (7th cd .). Li sbon: C enlro
Nacio na l de Reco nheci mento de O rde name nto Agrário (Soi! Mapping O fti c:e). Min istry of
Agricll lt ure.
Davcau . S. 19:-) 5. Mapas Climríl icus de PorlllJ:a l. NelJo r!im e N ebulosidade. C()}J{}"(/sles Térllli("{ls.
Li s bon : Centro de Estudos Geográficos (Cl!lHre for Geog r:lphical Sludi es). University of
Li sbon.
Ferreira. A . de B. 2005 . Formação do Relevo e Di númien Gcolllorfo lógica. ln A. de B. Fe rreira
(cooro) G eografia de Portugal: I - a Ambiell/e Físico (di r. C. A. Medeiros): 5 3-255. MClll
Martins: Círculo de Leitores.
Ferreira. D. de B. 2005a. O Ambie nte limüti co. ln A. de B. Ferrei ra (coord) Geo!;mjia de Portugal:
1- O Ambien te Físico ldir. C. A. Medei ros): 30 5- 385. M elll M"lrlins: Círcul o de Leitores.
Ferrcirn. D. de B. 2005b. O Espnço Atlânt ico Oriental. ln A. de B. Ferreir;) {conrd) Geograjia dI'
/-'ol"/lIgal: 1 Ambiellll' Físico (dir. C. A. MeJeiros): 257- 303. Mem Martin s: Círculo de
Guerreiro. M. G. 199 1. O M ll lldo Medi/e rrâneo: .1"11(/ dÍl'eI"sidadl! e seI/III/III·o. Lo ulé: Univc rsity 01"
IPB/l C N 2006. Ph,11O d e ardel/amen/o do p(I/"(jlle Nalllml de Mollfesinho: / - ReI(/fário de
C(/m c/eri:.a(·üo. Braganl.jil: Ill stilllto Po lilt!clli eo de Bragança .
Mattoso. J. (coord .) 1992 . HiSTória de /-'or/llgal: I - Ali/c.\" de Po rtllga l (di r. J. lvlalluso). M CIll
Mm"ti ns: C írculo de Le itores.
Medeiros. C. A. 1987. hurodl/çüo ti Gcogmfia de Port/lgal. Li sbon: Edilorial ESlnmpa.
T. de Figueiredo
Medeiros. C. A. 2(0). O território e o seu conhecimento geognífico. ln A. ue B. Ferreira (coord)
GeoxraJia de Por/lIgal: 1 - O Ambiellle Físico (dir. C. A. Medeiros): 18-45. Mem Marti ns:
Círculo de Leitores.
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Ribeiro, O. 1991. Montanhas pastoris dc Portugal: Tentativa dc representação cartográfica.
ln OplÍsculos Geográficos: IV - O MI/lido Rural: 257-272. Lisbon, Calouste Gulhenkian
Ribeiro , O., Lautcnsac h. H. & Daveau , S. 1987. Geografia de Por/ligaI: 1- A Posiçiio ~eo~ráfica
e o Território. Lisbon: Edições João S,í da Costa.