Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal
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Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: ENV.2007. | Award Amount: 2.34M | Year: 2008

TESS will assist policy makers to integrate knowledge from the EU, national, regional and local level into the decision making process while also encouraging local people to maintain and restore biodiversity ecosystem services. To achieve this, a transactional environmental decision support system will be designed, linking central policy planning to local livelihoods. To develop this system, TESS will first research the needs and capacities of central policy makers and local actors, identify paths and trajectories of cooperation, and model required transactions between the central and the local in relation to each ones needs. A set of representative case studies from the whole EU (including the New Member States and pre-accession countries) will test the validity of the models and consolidate the projects results into the design for a transactional environmental decision support system, named TESS. TESS will also include base-line information and predictive models for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Sustainability (Impact) Assessment (SIA) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). TESS will be supplemented by a set of brief and memorable policy guidelines to ensure its usefulness and enable its application in a European context. The process of developing TESS will be facilitated by a large interdisciplinary consortium, in which participants include European associations with a strong network of support and influence not only in the Brussels milieu, but also at the grassroots.

Morgado R.,University of Lisbon | Beja P.,ERENA | Beja P.,University of Porto | Reino L.,ERENA | And 5 more authors.
Acta Oecologica | Year: 2010

Conserving grassland birds in farmed landscapes requires the maintenance of favourable agricultural land uses over a range of spatial and temporal scales. Here we examined the field and landscape-scale habitat requirements of the calandra lark (Melanocorypha calandra), an obligate grassland bird often associated with open Mediterranean farmland. Breeding and wintering lark densities were assessed in 42 fallow fields in southern Portugal, and related to three sets of variables reflecting field, landscape and neighbourhood effects. Variation partitioning was used to isolate the unique and shared contributions of sets of variables to explained variation in lark distribution and abundance models. At the field scale, the presence of trees and shrubs showed the strongest negative effects on calandra lark. At the landscape scale there were strong positive response of larks to the amount and patch size of open farmland habitats, and negative responses, albeit weaker, to drainage and road densities. Calandra lark distribution and abundance was also positively related to that of conspecifics in surrounding fields, particularly in spring. Results suggest that calandra larks are highly sensitive to habitat fragmentation, requiring fallow fields with no shrubs or trees, embedded in large expanses of open farmland. This supports the view that grassland bird conservation in Mediterranean agricultural landscapes may require a combination of land-use regulations and agri-environment schemes preventing ongoing shrub encroachment and afforestation of marginal farmland. © 2009 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

Caro J.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC | Delibes-Mateos M.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC | Estrada A.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC | Estrada A.,University of Évora | And 6 more authors.
Bird Conservation International | Year: 2015

Hunting and its associated management have significant costs and benefits for biodiversity conservation, which makes this socio-economic activity highly controversial at both international and regional levels. We investigated relationships between management for small game species (mainly Red-legged Partridges Alectoris rufa and rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus) and both abundance and richness of farmland and scrubland songbirds, raptors and ground-nesting birds, and on the abundance of three species of conservation concern (Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax, Eurasian Thick-knee Burhinus oedicnemus and Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus) in southern Portugal farmland. We compared 12 game estates and 12 matching areas with similar sizes and land uses but no game management. Richness and abundance were estimated from fixed point counts, and were related to game regime (managed or unmanaged), habitat characteristics and census period. Our results showed that game management was associated, albeit weakly, with higher abundance of raptors and ground-nesting birds, but no relationship (either positive or negative) was found for other guilds and species. Habitat was generally the most important factor explaining bird species richness and abundance. Our results suggest possibilities for promoting management systems that could maximize both hunting sustainability and conservation value of managed areas, particularly when management helps to improve or maintain beneficial habitats or practices for farmland birds. © 2014 BirdLife International.

Santana J.,ERENA | Santana J.,University of Porto | Porto M.,ERENA | Porto M.,University of Lisbon | And 4 more authors.
Forest Ecology and Management | Year: 2011

In the Euro-Mediterranean region, mechanical fuel reduction is increasingly used in response to the mounting occurrence of catastrophic wildfires, yet their long-term ecological effects are poorly understood. Although Mediterranean vegetation is resilient to a range of disturbances, it is possible that widespread fuel management at short intervals may threaten forest structural complexity and the persistence of some plant species and functional types, with overall negative consequences for biodiversity. We used a chronosequence approach to infer woody vegetation changes in the first 70 years after understory clearing in upland cork oak (Quercus suber) forests, and to assess how these are affected by treatment frequency. Across the chronosequence there was a shift between plant communities with contrasting composition, structure and functional organization. Understory cover increased quickly after disturbance and a community dominated by pioneer seeder and dry-fruited shrubs (Cistus ladanifer, C. populifolius, Genista triacanthos, and Lavandula stoechas) developed during about 15 years, but this was slowly replaced by a community dominated by resprouters and fleshy-fruited species (Arbutus unedo, Erica arborea) >40 years after disturbance. During the first 15 years there were rapid increases in woody species richness, vertical structural diversity, cover by Q. suber juveniles and saplings, and shrub cover at <1.5. m strata, which levelled off or slightly declined thereafter. In contrast, tree species richness, tree density and density of arboreal A. unedo and E. arborea, vertical structural evenness, and cover at >1.5. m strata increased slowly for >50 years. Treatment frequency showed strongly negative relationships with species richness, structural diversity and evenness, and horizontal and vertical understory cover, particularly that of slowly recovering species. These findings suggest that fuel reduction programs involving widespread and recurrent understory clearing may lead to the elimination at the landscape scale of stands with complex multi-layered understory occupied by large resprouters and fleshy-fruited species, which take a long time to recover after disturbance. Fuel management programs thus need to balance the dual goals of fire hazard reduction and biodiversity conservation, recognizing the value of stands untreated for >50 years to retain ecological heterogeneity in Mediterranean forest landscapes. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

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