The main objective of the LIFE Scrubsnet project is the revitalisation of the Montados through the sustainable management of their scrub areas. To achieve this, the researchers of the MED who are part of the project team at the University of Évora are creating “islands” of biodiversity in the Montado. They are islands because their fencing prevents grazing by animals and promotes the development of shrub species.
With the arrival of autumn, most plants produce their fruits and it is the ideal time to collect seeds of different species. From September to December 2022, the team of the Botany Laboratory of the University of Évora (Department of Biology / MED – Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development) collected fruits of strawberry tree, myrtle, wild pear tree, among many others, being later removed the seeds, prepared and germinated in a greenhouse.
In the autumn of this year, when the plants are bigger, they will be planted in the already fenced islands, increasing the diversity of species present. The formation of these islands within the Montado is extremely important for biodiversity, as they serve as shelter and food for a range of animals, including pollinating insects, but also reptiles, mice and small birds.
Just last year, researchers also collected acorns from cork oaks, to promote regeneration. In the Macromycology Laboratory of the University of Évora (Department of Biology), the acorns will be selected, inoculated with mycorrhizae (companion fungi that help them absorb nutrients) and this year they will be planted in the project’s intervention areas, increasing the resilience of the Montado.