Trás-os-Montes and Beira Alta

  • Carlos AguiarEmail author
  • Carlos Vila-Viçosa
Part of the Plant and Vegetation book series (PAVE, volume 12)


The Trás-os-Montes and Beira Alta region grosso modo includes the northeastern quadrant of Portugal as far as the Mondego River Platform, enlarged further north by neighbouring Spanish territories. Acid and phosphorus-poor palaeozoic schists intruded by variscan ganitoids are the prevailing lithological types. Its relief is characterized by the widespread occurrence of uplifted planation surfaces, the majority of which are between 600 and 900 m in altitude, dissected by deep river valleys, sometimes interrupted by larger tectonic basins. The supratemperate or supramediterranean, mainly sub-humid to humid, plateaus are the climactic domain of climatophilous, mesophilous, deciduous mesoforest of Quercus pyrenaica. Old forests are not only species-richer, but share complex, forest-dependent vegetation mosaics. On the Mondego platform prevails a Potential Natural Vegetation of Q. robur subsp. broteroana forests. The mesomediterranean upper dry to lower sub-humid valleys and basins harbour the most remarkable forests of the study area: one association of semi-deciduous forests of Q. faginea subsp. faginea, and six associations of perennial oak woodlands, three of them dominated by Q. suber, and the other three by Q. rotundifolia. Heathlands and gorse heathlands are the most conspicuous substitution stages of Q. pyrenaica and Q. robur subsp. broteroana Querco-Fagetea sylvaticae woodlands; Cistus shrublands are seral of Quercetea ilicis evergreen and semi-deciduous woodlands. Also diverse and with a clear-cut bioclimatic control are riparian and tempori-hygrophilous forests. The geobotanical interpretation of regional grassland vegetation complexes requires particular caution. They include several oligotrophic grassland types, dominated by therophytes, Agrostis sp. pl. or Nardus stricta, among other species. Mesoscale physiography, tree shading, grazing and hay cutting have a strong effect on hay-meadow vegetation complexes. Recent changes in hay-meadow management promote grass abundance and the extension of Arrhenatherion grasslands. The mafic and ultramafic metamorphic rocks are, simultaneously, the most singular lithologically, and the habitat of the most remarkable phytocoenosis of the study area. Herbaceous weed, ruderal and road vegetation types reflect the widespread oligotrophy of the regional soils. This chapter ends with a brief resumé of the series, and geoseries of the Trás-os-Montes and Beira Alta.


  1. Agroconsultores and COBA (1991) Carta dos Solos, Carta do Uso Actual da Terra e Carta da Aptidão da Terra do Nordeste de Portugal. UTAD/PDRITM, Vila RealGoogle Scholar
  2. Aguiar C (2001) Flora e Vegetação da Serra da Nogueira e do Parque Natural de Montesinho. Dissertação de Doutoramento em Engenharia Agronómica, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, LisboaGoogle Scholar
  3. Aguiar C, Honrado J, Soutinho A (2000) Comunidades e complexos de vegetação pratense do Nordeste de Portugal. III Reunião Ibérica de Pastagens e Forragens. Xunta de Galicia, BragançaGoogle Scholar
  4. Birot P (1950) Le Portugal. Etude de géographie regionale. Librairie Armand Colin, ParisGoogle Scholar
  5. Bormann FH, Likens GE (1979) Pattern and process in a forested ecosystem: disturbance, development, and the steady state based on the Hubbard Brook ecosystem study. Springer-Verlag, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Costa JC, Honrado J, Monteiro Henriques T, Neto C, Aguiar C (2008) Sobre as comunidades de Pterospartum tridentatum sensu lato em Portugal continental. Silva Lusitana 16:123–127Google Scholar
  7. Costa JC, Neto C, Aguiar C, Capelo J, Espírito Santo MD, Honrado J, Pinto Gomes C, Monteiro Henriques T, Sequeira M, Lousã M (2012) Vascular plant communities in Portugal (continental, the Azores and Madeira). Glob Geobot 2:1–180Google Scholar
  8. Figueiral I (1995) Charcoal analysis and the history of Pinus pinaster (cluster pine) in Portugal. Rev Palaeobot Palynol 89:441–454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gutiérrez F, Gutiérrez-Elorza M, Martín-Serrano Á (2014) The geology and geomorphology of Spain: a concise introduction. In: Gutiérrez F, Gutiérrez-Elorza M (eds) Landscapes and landforms of Spain. Springer Science, DordrechtCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hejcman M, Klaudisova M, Stursa J, Pavlu V, Schellberg J, Hejcmanova P, Hakl J, Rauch O, Vacek S (2007) Revisiting a 37 years abandoned fertilizer experiment on Nardus grassland in the Czech Republic. Agric Ecosyst Environ 118:231–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Herrera J (1998) Flower and fruit biology in Southern Spanish Mediterranean shrublands. Ann Mo Bot Gard 74:69–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Honrado J (2003) Flora e Vegetação do Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês. Dissertação de doutoramento, Universidade do Porto, PortoGoogle Scholar
  13. Kruckeberg A (1986) An essay: the stimulus of unusual geologies for plant speciation. Syst Bot 11:455–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Loidi J, Fernández-González F (2012) Potential natural vegetation: reburying or reboring? J Veg Sci 23:596–604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Meireles C (2010) Flora e vegetação da Serra da Estrêla – aproximação fitossociológica da vertente meridionaI. Doutoramento Dissertação de Doutoramento, Universidad de Jaén, JaénGoogle Scholar
  16. Pais J (2012) The Paleogene and Neogene of western Iberia (Portugal): a Cenozoic record in the European Atlantic domain. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ribeiro M, Plomion C, Petit R, Vendramin G, Szmidt A (2001) Variation in chloroplast single-sequence repeats in portuguese maritime-pine (Pinus pinaster Aiton). Theor Appl Genet 102:97–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Rivas-Martínez S, Fernández-González F, Loidi J, Lousã M, Penas A (2001) Syntaxonomical checklist of vascular plant communities of Spain and Portugal to association level. Itinera Geobot 14:5–341Google Scholar
  19. Rivas-Martínez S, Penas A, Díaz-González TE, del Río S, Cantó P, Herrero L, Pinto Gomes C, Costa JC (2014) Biogeography of Spain and Portual, preleminary typological synopsis. Int J Geobot Res 4:1–64Google Scholar
  20. Sequeira E, Pinto da Silva A (1992) Ecology of serpentinized areas of north-east Portugal. In: Roberts A, Proctor J (eds) The ecology of areas with serpentized rocks. A world view. Kluwer Academic Publishers, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  21. Smetham ML (2003) A review of subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.): its ecology, and use as a pasture legume in Australasia. Adv Agron 79:303–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Vieira G (1995) Processos morfogenéticos recentes e actuais na Serra do Gerês. Dissertação de Mestrado em Geografia Física e Ambiente, Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de LisboaGoogle Scholar
  23. Walter H (1985) Vegetation of the earth and ecological systems of the geo-biosphere. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CIMO-Centro de Investigação de MontanhaEscola Superior Agrária de BragançaBragançaPortugal
  2. 2.CIBIO – Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos/InBIO Laboratório AssociadoUniversidade do PortoVairãoPortugal

Personalised recommendations