Cork Oak Woodlands on the Edge

Cork Oak Woodlands on the Edge

Ecology, Adaptive Management, and Restoration

J. Aronson, J.S. Pereira, and J.G. Pausas (editors)
Island Press, 2009

Cork oak (Quercus suber) is native to the western Mediterranean. It occurs both in unmanaged as well as in strongly managed forests and woodlands of Portugal, Spain, southern France, Italy, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and the larger islands of the western Mediterranean. In all of these countries, until recently, cork oak played an important role in ecosystems and landscapes. In addition to its being a canopy or ‘framework’ tree in natural woodlands, cork oak was also a cultural keystone species in a series of agroforestry systems widely known by the Spanish name dehesa and the Portuguese montado. At present the natural woodlands and the derived systems are undergoing an unprecedented rate of change––moving either towards intensified use or decreased use, depending on the place.

Certainly the long interaction of people with these cultural or socio-ecological systems is an important part of the story, and of the possible solutions to the current problems. What can be done involves both revised management and restoration. But, what does it mean to ‘restore’ cultural systems and landscapes, and how does one go about it in a rapidly changing world? To answer these questions, a broad base of knowledge is required, from a full range of disciplines and perspectives. In this book, we make the attempt to provide the necessary palette of information and approaches to enable decision-making and management planning process to proceed.

This book provides the first overview of the ecology, biogeography and genetics of cork oak, current economic situations, and restoration and active management prospects for cork oak woodland ecosystems, whether natural, semi-natural or cultural.

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