Environmentally Sustainable Agro-Forestry Systems (SUSTAINSYS)

SUSTAINSYS looks for the integration of agricultural and forestry-based land-use systems to provide tree and other crop products, and at the same time protect, conserve, diversify, and sustain vital economic, environmental, human, and natural resources. In view of the environmental problems confronting modern agriculture, and the emphasis being placed on developing sustainable agricultural and natural resource systems, agroforestry can have lasting economic, environmental, and social impacts. As part of an ecologically-based land management system, agroforestry practices can contribute substantially to generate and preserve the ecosystem diversity. At farm, watershed and landscape scales, integration of agroforestry practices can transform our agricultural lands into stable, resilient, diverse, aesthetic, and sustainable agricultural land-use systems. Therefore, SUSTAINSYS directs the research to create the tools for the enhancement of landscape biodiversity, through the maintenance of its connectivity, complexity and simultaneously, increasing, diversifying and sustaining the rural incomes.

This project will be developed in the Douro basin in Northern Portugal, a strategically vital area for national plans concerning future water supply, agroforestry landscape and hydroelectric energy production. Ecological models and spatial outputs will be employed, taking into account expected land use change scenarios, namely different agroforestry practices. The resulting data will be screened for their direct applicability in monitoring plans. This will be followed by the attribution of scores and variables for use in typologically relevant, reliable and practical assessment systems, easily understood by stakeholders. Consequently, the application of these results may be useful to evaluate mitigation measures that might lead to a better environmental quality or even establish threshold values/levels necessary for qualitative evaluation of ecosystem health.

Project Details





Start date

January 2014


18 months

Funding Entity

Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional (FEDER), e por fundos nacionais (PIDDAC) através da FCT/MEC / North Portugal Regional Operational Programme (ON.2 - O Novo Norte)

Total Financing


Responsible institution