Holm Oak Woodland

In this area of the Alentejo plains, holm oak (Quercus rotundifolia) is scattered across the landscape but with a sparse distribution. This is the typical landscape of the agrarian region of the inland Alentejo – the holm oak woodland (montado de azinho). It is a landscape entirely altered by humans where, over the centuries, the original Mediterranean ecosystem has been simplified in its structure and diversity, and transformed in a multi-use system (agro-forestry-pastoral). The heterogeneous pattern of the landscape is due to the tree cover, the pastures, the extensive cereal crops and the variable areas of the uncultivated land supporting ephemeral herbs and permanent shrub covers used by animals to graze. Associated with these woodlands, are rural settlements represented as isolated montes or small villages. As such, the woodland displays several landscape units, characterized by their high biodiversity depending on tree density and human pressure. The wide open spaces between the holm oaks and the use of these interspaces are the main features of the Alentejo plains and what makes them so charming, in particular through the seasonal changes.