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Tomaz C.,Direccao Regional de Agricultura e Pescas do Centro | Alegria C.,Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco | Monteiro J.M.,Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco | Teixeira M.C.,Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco
Forest Ecology and Management

In Mediterranean countries land abandonment, the loss of traditional land-use systems and the action of fire are causing forests degradation, increasing erosion risk and desertification. The Rural Development Programme-Afforestation of Agricultural Land (RURIS-AAL) is an afforestation programme for marginal and abandoned agricultural land which intends to contribute to the rehabilitation of degraded lands and to mitigate the effects of desertification.The study was conducted in a Mediterranean region under desertification risk. The goal of the study was twofold: (i) to explore the main drivers of land cover change and the impact of RURIS-AAL on both agriculture area loss and on native oaks area recovery and (ii) to assess the appropriateness of the species used and the levels of afforestation success of RURIS-AAL from 2002 until 2011. The analysis was conducted through spatial analysis in a Geographical Information System and by statistical analysis using both nonparametric correlations and Categorical Principal Components Analysis (CATPCA).The results proved that the study area's land cover change (2000-2006) was mainly due to forest fires and as result, a decrease in forest areas (ground cover higher than 30%) as opposed to an increase of open forests (ground cover between 10% and 30%), cuts and new plantations areas was observed. The impact of RURIS-AAL on agricultural area loss was found to be very weak (-1009. ha; -0.6%). The species used in RURIS-AAL were well selected in relation to theirs ecological zoning and the levels of afforestation success were high (76%). A total of 3363. ha were forested mainly with pure cork oak and mixtures of cork oak and holm oak (86%) which was very positive to recover oak forest area. Moreover, the CATPCA proved that the combination of the necessary biophysical conditions for each species together with the most appropriated procedures for stand establishment was verified in RURIS-AAL. High afforestation success rates were obtained for both pure cork oak stands (79%) and mixed stands of cork oak (89%), namely mixed umbrella pine and cork oak stands (95%).Both species, cork oak and umbrella pine, are very well adapted to Mediterranean environments and offer non-wood products (cork and cone) of high market value which will both improve farm's multi-functionality and provide extra incomes in the long-term. These findings are important guidelines to be kept in consideration for successful afforestation in future programmes in Mediterranean regions. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

Guine R.P.F.,Polytechnic Institute of Viseu | Andrade S.,Polytechnic Institute of Viseu | Sousa R.,Polytechnic Institute of Viseu | Alves A.,Polytechnic Institute of Viseu | And 8 more authors.
International Journal of Fruit Science

The present study involved examining the physical and chemical attributes of seven regional Portuguese apple cultivars. The apples analyzed were produced in two different production modes: conventional and biological, to verify in the extent to which these variables influenced the results. The data obtained enabled us to conclude that the chemical properties: moisture content, total and reducing sugars, protein, and ash, were influenced by the production mode in different ways, depending on the cultivar. As to the textural properties estimated, the results showed that the cultivar 'Lila' was the one that presented the greatest similarity when comparing the conventional with the biological modes of production. Furthermore, it was possible to observe that the production mode did not significantly influence the fiber content in the cultivars of apples analyzed. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Source

Sofia J.,Direccao Regional de Agricultura e Pescas do Centro | Sofia J.,University of Coimbra | Nascimento T.,University of Lisbon | Goncalves M.T.,University of Coimbra | Rego C.,University of Lisbon
Phytopathologia Mediterranea

Esca and Petri disease, two of the most important fungal trunk diseases of grapevine, are responsible for significant losses by causing premature decline and dieback in vineyards worldwide. The Portuguese Dão wine region is no exception. Local winegrowers' knowledge on Grapevine Trunk Diseases (GTD) in general and of esca and Petri disease in particular is incomplete. The real scope of those problems has been based largely on individual perceptions rather than on a methodical evaluation of the situation. In order to get a full picture of the diseases impact, a leaflet with color pictures was produced and issued to winegrowers, accompanied by a simple questionnaire. The results of this survey represent a first indication of the extent of grapevine trunk diseases in the Dão wine region, specifically its economic impact and relevance to the local wine industry. In conjunction with the survey, several samples of wood collected from esca and Petri disease symptomatic vines, identified during the survey throughout the entire region, were processed and a collection of isolates of Phaeomoniella chlamydospora obtained. To determine the intra-specific variability among these isolates, morphological, cultural and molecular characteristics were evaluated. A protocol to study the pathogenicity with P. chlamydospora was conducted, consisting on the inoculation of cv. Touriga Nacional's spurs with a previously studied P. chlamydospora isolate. © Firenze University Press. Source

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