The montado is part of one of the world's 36 biodiversity hotspots and serves as a habitat for some of the planet's most endangered species. It is an intensively cultivated landscape, representing around 22% of the country's national forest area. Cork oaks have a unique ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and, as a result, it is estimated that cork oak forests can absorb up to 14 million tons of CO2 per year. 
Montado allows to be absorved

14 M

tons of CO2 / year 
The Montado is part one of the

36 hotspots

biodiversity in the world

22 %

of the country's forest area
Environmental potential

In addition to the excellent environmental services it provides (including soil conservation, regulating the water cycle, reducing carbon emissions and conserving biodiversity), the cork oak forest is an environmentally sustainable process, since no trees are cut down. 

Despite the high biodiversity, cork oak forests play a fundamental role in hydrological regulation and soil conservation, providing protection against wind erosion and increasing the rate at which rainwater infiltrates and replenishes the water table. Since cork oaks intercept an average of 26.7% of total rainfall, they also reduce water run-off, thus preventing soil erosion. 

Cork oaks provide large quantities of material that decomposes into humus in the topsoil. They manage to bring a large amount of nutrients from the lower levels of the soil to the upper levels that would otherwise remain inaccessible to herbaceous vegetation. They have a high water retention capacity due to their porosity, as well as a high organic content. 

The canopy of the cork oak forest also creates a microclimate that is less excessive in winter and summer, which allows the vegetation to grow longer. Cork oaks also reduce wind speed, which helps to protect crops. 

In addition, due to their potential economic value, cork oak forests can be crucial in the constitution of forest areas that are a barrier against desertification. On the other hand, they act as carbon sinks and can help mitigate the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. 

In the last 20 years, there have been 11 of the hottest years in the last 125 years and researchers in the field recognize that these changes are due to emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2). It is predicted that warming in this century will be between 1.4ºC and 5.8ºC. The cork oak plays a fundamental role in this area. As well as producing oxygen through photosynthesis, the cork oak's unique cellular structure fixes carbon. 

According to a study published by the Instituto Superior de Agronomia (ISA) in Lisbon, cork oak forests can fix around 6 tons of CO2 per hectare per year, which in the case of Portugal corresponds to more than 4 million tons of CO2 per year. It can therefore be concluded that the Mediterranean's cork oak forests (2.1 million hectares) make it possible to retain almost 14 million tons of CO2 per year.