IFSA 2020 Conference

Field trips

Conference participants are welcome to join a full day field trip on Tuesday 14 July and explore local farming systems surrounding Évora. Visits are accompanied by local producers and technicians, but also by experts. We encourage participants to be well prepared with comfortable shoes and to dress warmly, as it can be rainy and cool this time of the year.

Each field trip will leave Évora in the morning by bus (38.574045, -7.903986) and return in the afternoon. Participants are asked to select their preferred field trip option while filling out their registration form.

Please bear in mind that field trip bookings will be done on a “first come, first served” basis.

Field trip A: WINE PRODUCTION

Wine production in Alentejo: contrasting farm systems

Duration: 9 hours

Organizers/contact person: Maria João Cabrita, MED/UEvora, mjbc@uevora.pt

Location: Reguengos de Monsaraz

Photo credit: Oeste/CIM

Description:

This visit will be dedicated to wine in the wine production region of Reguengos de Monsaraz, in Central Alentejo (40 km East of Évora). Wine production has a long tradition in the

region of Alentejo. Biophysical conditions are excellent for the sector, and in recent decades huge efforts have been made to select varieties and increase the quality of the wine. Today the region produces some of the best wines of Portugal. First we will visit a very large production unit, a family company with multiple productions and a sustainability agenda. Besides the vineyards, there are olive groves and extensive silvo-pastoral areas. The company produces wines and more recently olive oil, promotes wine tasting, associated with walking paths, landscape care and nature observation, etc. This is Esporão. We will walk in vineyards, hear about the story and strategy of the company, visit the winery and taste some wines. We will eat provided lunch in Esporão. One can buy wine, olive oil and other local products. In the afternoon, we will visit a much smaller, but also widely known, wine production farm, located in the same terroir. This is Ervideira winery, well known for innovative approaches in winemaking They will receive us to show their production and taste some wines.

At the end of the day we visit (free visit for walking around in the streets) the village of Monsaraz, an old fortified small town, beautifully located on the top of a stone crop overlooking the plain and the artificial lake of Alqueva, the largest lake in Europe.

Program:

9:00 – Departure from Évora

9:45 -12h00  – Visit to Esporão farm and winery, with wine tasting (Reguengos de Monsaraz)

12:15-13h00 – Lunch bag in Esporão

13h15-13h45 Short stop for coffe in the town of Reguengos de Monsaraz

14:00-15h30  – Visit to the Ervideira farm and winery with wine tasting (Reguengos de Monsaraz)

16:00-17h00  – Visit to the small town of Monsaraz

18h00  – Arrival to Évora

Field trip B: LIVESTOCK FARMING SYSTEM

Grazing Systems in Montado coping for centuries with changes

Organizers/contact persons:

Elvira Sales-Baptista: elsaba@uevora.pt

Maria Isabel Ferraz de Oliveira: mifo@uevora.pt

MAnuel Cancela Abreu: abreu@uevora.pt

Description:

Our visit will take us to contrasting meat livestock (sheep and cattle) production farms in the multifunctional Montado, a unique silvo-pastoral system, where animals are raised free-ranging all year round.  These systems have low labour and capital inputs, and are frequently based on native pastures under a canopy of evergreen oaks. Regarding feed resources, the Montado main constraints are related to low soil fertility and rainfall variation that have a huge impact on pasture biomass and animal productivity.  Innovative and traditional approaches to cope with uncertainty within this system will be discussed. The farms are located within 50 Km from Évora, in the heart of the Montado. We will walk small distances within the farm, so be prepared for hiking.

The visit will end at the village of Arraiolos, known by their hand-embroidered tapestry rugs since at least the 16th century. After a short talk and tasting of traditional local products in the Arraiolos Public Library, you will have the opportunity to visit the interpretive centre of the Arraiolos rugs, roam the narrow streets of the village and see the most noticeable structure in the village, the unusual circular castle on the small hill overlooking the countryside.

Program:

9:00                 Departure from Évora

10:00 -12:00    Visit to Herdade da Lobeira – Lavre (Beef Cattle, with a holistic grazing system)

12:00 -13:00    Lunch box at Herdade da Lobeira

13:30 -15:00    Visit to Herdade da Mouzinha – Arraiolos (Sheep, lamb production)

15:15-15:45     Talking with a 2019 golden prize winner (World Cheese Awards – Bergamo) – Queijaria Monte da Vinha. Biblioteca Municipal de Arraiolos

15:45-16:30     Tasting of traditional local products (sheep cheese and empadas de Arraiolos (pies from Arraiolos)

16:30-17:30     Visit to the village of Arraiolos – Visitor Interpretive Center of Arraiolos rugs and free roaming through the village of Arraiolos.

18:00               Arrival to Évora

Field trip C: MONTADO

 

Montado – a High Nature Value Farming System

Duration: 7 hours

Organizers/contact persons:

Ana Margarida Fonseca; anafonseca@uevora.pt; (+351) 964 417 987

António Mira; amira@uevora.pt; (+351) 966 271 051

Carla Pinto Cruz; ccruz@uevora.pt; (+351) 961 802 946

Location: North slope of the Serra de Monfurado, between Évora and Montemor-o-Novo 

Description:

The field visit will take place at the “Serra de Monfurado” Natura 2000 site, one of the areas with the highest cover of Portuguese Montado in southern Portugal. The area is dominated by smooth ondulated hills that despite their low altitude (maximum 424m) intercept west winds from the coast creating a wetter and colder microclimate. Thus, in some places, species typical from the Mediterranean and Atlantic biogeographic regions can be found side by side contributing to the occurrence of an unusually rich biodiversity.

These are the conditions shaping the vegetation and habitat’s diversity. The trees cork oak (Quercus suber) and holm oak (Quercus rotundifolia) are the elements that stand out in the landscape. We can also observe some regional singularities such as the black oak (Quercus pyrenaica). The scrub communities are diverse and rich in typical Mediterranean species. This landscape is also enriched by several freshwater habitats like the stream sand the temporary ponds.

The “Serra de Monfurado” Natura 2000 site covers a surface area corresponding to 239 km2 and protects, since 1998, 21 species and 18 habitat types listed in the Habitats Directive, namely Mediterranean temporary ponds, Montados with evergreen Quercus spp. and caves. The site also holds important communities of mammal carnivores, including European otters, genets and Egyptian mongooses, and about fifteen bat species, many of which are endangered.

The Montado, despite the secular human intervention, is a multifunctional agroforestry system holding high levels of biodiversity and, until recently, was a key example of sustainable use of natural resources.

However, in the last decade, a general decline of this unique system, attributed to multiple causes like diseases, climate changes, overgrazing and misuse of soil, is occurring in many places. We will make a 12 kilometers walk through a Montado dominated Mediterranean landscape, crossed by well-preserved riparian areas. Natural and social values associated with this unique landscape and the management practices on which they depend, will be discussed throughout the visit.

Program:

8:30 – Departure from Évora

9:15 – Start at Ribeira do Carvalhal between the Montado silvopastoral system

12:30 – Lunch at midway

13:00 – Walk continues throughout the Montado system

15:30 – Arrival in Évora

Field trip D: OLIVE GROVES

Rapidly shifting landscape and farming systems in the Mediterranean: the expansion, intensification and sustainability of the olive groves in Central Alentejo

Duration: 9 hours

Organizers/contact persons:

José Muñoz-Rojas (MED-Universidade de Évora, jmrojas@uevora.pt, 00-351-912077822)

Martinho Murteira (EDIA, martinho.murteira@gmail.com),

António Bento Dias (MED-Universidade de Évora, adias@uevora.pt)

Location: Central Alentejo (Évora-Reguengos-Monsaraz-Monte do Trigo-Évora)

Description:

This field visit will address key trends being faced across Mediterranean Rural Landscapes and Farming systems; namely, the rapid intensification and expansion of cropping systems, which are becoming increasing mono-functional.

To address this, various models of olive groves and related farming systems of Central Alentejo will be examined in the field, where the key challenges pertaining to the sustainability of rural landscapes will be discussed in relation to the following aspects; water availability and use efficiency, conservation (and potentially, decline and abandonment) of traditional crop varieties, impacts on biodiversity and landscape functionality, social and cultural implications, and changes in landscape character and in commodity production and trade.

The visit will focus on the differences within and out-with the area of influence of the Alqueva reservoir. This is the largest artificial water mass in Europe, and since its inauguration over a decade ago, has triggered a radical shift in the olive oil sector of this region. The field-trip will encompass a visit to a super-intensive olive farm and mill, to the landscapes more acutely affected by the rapid intensification and expansion of olive groves, focusing on the evaluation of impacts on key landscape elements and functions (i.e. ecological connectivity), and to the grand landscape changes triggered by the Alqueva reservoir itself. It will be accompanied by experienced experts from the academic, public and private sectors with experience in both the production of agricultural commodities, but also in the management of natural resources and in the sustainability of related landscape and farming systems.

Program:

8:00 – Departure from Évora

8:30 – On-site observation of landscape, territorial and ecological impacts of farms and landscapes undergoing to recent plantation of super-intensive olive groves South of Évora.

9:30 – Visit to a super-intensive olive farm and mill near the town of Monte-do-Trigo.

12:30 – Lunch near Monsaraz, in the proximity of the Alqueva reservoir (will be provided by the conference and will be open-air – weather permitting).

14:00 – Overview of the Alqueva reservoir and surrounding farming systems, focusing on the impacts of the reservoir and related irrigation system over the rural landscapes and their character and multi-functionality.

15.00 – Visit to the Aldeia and Museu da Luz (Mourão).

17:30 – Arrival back to Évora