Evolution of forest cover in Portugal - A review of the 12th-20th centuries

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Portugal's forests in the 12th century were dominated by theFagaceae represented by Quercus and Castanea, and several pine species.From the 12th century onwards, forests underwent changes in their managementstarting with protection and ultimately leading to intense exploitation.The massive naval construction during the maritime expansion(mainly in the 15th-16th centuries) involved felling of approximately 5million trees mainly Quercus suber, Pinus pinea and other Quercusspecies. Cumulative fuel-wood consumption of 959 Mm3 during1300-1854 was attributed to demographic expansion while the deforestationrate during 1636-1854 accounted for a minimum of 72.6% and amaximum of 96% of total forest cover. The volume of timber used inrailway sleepers from 1856 onwards might have reached 0.5 Mm3. Thelast quarter of the 20th century increased the forest cover of Portugalthrough the World Bank program of Eucalyptus globulus reforestation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-256
JournalJournal Of Forestry Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • forest cover change
  • forest economics
  • forest exploitation
  • Portugal


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