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Chapter 23: The Multifunctional Landscape of Marvão, central Portugal: Can high valued non commodity functions support the maintenance of small scale farm landscapes in the periphery of Europe?

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Chapter Summary

The landscape of Marvão is unique, in that it still combines two components of traditional Mediterranean agricultural landscapes: large estates with silvopastoral areas of montado in the north, on slopes with poor soils, extensively managed, mainly for cattle grazing; and a small scale mosaic landscape in the south, in the large fertile valleys, on small properties owned and cultivated mostly by elderly farmers, with a variety of crops and uses, and surrounded by forests, with scrub on the slopes. The result is a distinctive, contrasting landscape, whose striking character relates to its diversity, the intensity of use in the valleys, and the remarkable small town of Marvão, which is currently a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage status. Nowadays, this landscape is valued mostly for aesthetic, cultural and recreational purposes, but it is nevertheless undergoing change.

Keywords: cultural landscape; fertile valleys; Marvão landscape; UNESCO World Heritage status



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