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Climate change challenge

Link to Case Study results here

Due to the land use, low population density and extreme weather conditions during the summer months with high temperatures and very low precipitation levels, forest fires in Chamusca often occur. The large number of fires experienced in Portugal in 2003 consumed a large area of the county, affecting the majority of the landowners, in some cases with heavy fire-related losses.


Response to the challenge

Land use in the Chamusca County is very heterogeneous. Agroforestry is one of the main land uses in the area (63% of the total forest area), but eucalyptus plantations are also important, accounting for 31% of the forest area.


The aim of this case study is to study development of the forests in the region, at different spatial scales (stand, management area and region), taking into account climate change, fire and pests risks, harvesting, and land use changes. The study must include a large list of sustainability indicators, including economic indicators important for the private users.


Who will carry on the research and what models are applied

Development of eucalyptus and maritime pine stands are simulated with the 3PG model. In addition, the simulator SIMSPACE is being conceived to simulate the development of all the forest stands in a management area or region, providing as output several forest characteristics and sustainability indicators. Cork oak stands, which are often grazing areas for cattle or sheep, are simulated with the YieldSafe1 model because it allows for the simulation not only of tree growth but also of the underneath vegetation. These simulations might be complemented with some modules of the SUBER1model.


The case study is carried out by Instituto Superior de Agronomia (ISA), Technical University of Lisbon (Team: Jordi Garcia-Gonzalo, Alexandra Marques, Sónia Faias, Margarida Tomé and José G. Borges.) The contact persons are Margarida Tomé (magatome(at) and Sónia Faias (soniapf(at)


Where the case study is situated, who owns the land

Chamusca is located in the centre of Portugal and covers a total of 74599 ha. Chamusca County is characterised by a heterogeneous and dispersed land ownership. Out of 2263 landowners around 40 hold 72% of the county in large scale properties (>500 ha), while the majority of the landowners own properties of less than 1 ha. The forest owner association “ACHAR” will be a key stakeholder as they have direct access to most of the regional and national stakeholders. The eucalyptus areas are managed for the supply of the pulp industry, a large share of them being owned or rented by the forest departments of these companies.

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