Human Uses

The “montados” of the HRA are the final result of the transformation of the original forests by a traditional rural system, being a resource of great local and national economic importance. In fact, the export of cork and its derivatives has a very significant weight in the national economy. The “montado” yields a great diversity of products and services with commercial value: cork, honey, wood, charcoal, fruits, wild plants and mushrooms, pasture.

Cork is a renewable resource and its extraction is one of best paid jobs in this region, constituting a large proportion of the annual income of several families. Presently, the human uses of the “montados” of the “serra de Grândola” and of the HRA consist in the extraction of cork and removal of the shrub layer in roughly 9-year cycles. The herbaceous cover that grows after shrub removal, as well as the annual acorn production, are used for sheep (and in a few cases pig) grazing. Recollecting edible mushrooms and hunting are also regular activities.

Ecotourism is a growing activity, also at Grândola. Since 1998, the Santa Margarida da Serra county implemented a series of nature trails at the serra, some of them through the HRA. Since the start of the activities at the HRA there were are several annual initiatives of ecotourism and of Environmental Education at the HRA.

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