Man-shaped environments are becoming dominant in many parts of the world, and their characteristics and impacts on wildlife vary according to the type and intensity of management activities that have molded them. Conversion of native ecosystems to agriculture, agro-forestry or forestry systems is considered a major threat to biodiversity, since it induces changes in the composition and structure of communities, and likely the modification of ecological processes. Despite its negative effects, converted systems can still sustain wildlife, including some menaced species, which manage to adapt to new conditions. However, it is yet unclear which mechanisms/processes allow populations to persist in these altered systems and how they interact. Understanding such ecological processes operating in exotic Production Forests, which cover more than 260 million ha worldwide and integrating this knowledge into management, although critical, remains often unexplored. In this context, particularly meaningful examples are the exotic Eucalyptus Production Forests (EPF) that cover nowadays >20 million ha worldwide. This extent of exotic EPF is increasing in many regions where the species is non-native, as for example in Portugal, where it represents 8.8% of the country’s territory, 26% of all Portuguese forests, and ca. 49% of all European EPF). Thus, it is crucial to provide a framework for assessing the effects of such EPF in wildlife persistence and to adapt management practices
EPF as part of a Conservation tool-kit
Assess the potential of EPF to become part of a conservation tool-kit – Evaluate the impacts of EPF in wildlife populations’ patterns, processes and persistence (i.e. diversity, population structure, individual condition/fitness and processes and patterns of resource use) and develop strategies to minimize their effects.
Role of mammals in functional EPF
Explore the role of mammals in the maintenance of sustainable, certified and functional EPF, by determining how ecological processes can be integrated into management to maximize population persistence in economically viable EPF.
This project (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-028204) is funded by FEDER, through COMPETE2020 – Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização (POCI), and by national funds (OE), through FCT/MCTES.