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Ecological challenges and opportunities of trophic rewilding in Côa Valley
Research Pathway: Wildlife Ecology and Management
COA/BRB/0063/2019 «Projetos de Investigação Científica e Desenvolvimento Tecnológico», Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia. Period: 2020-2023.
Welcome to the rWILD-COA project. This project will produce a wealth of knowledge to assist the implementation of self-sustainable ecosystems and to increase the predictability of rewilding outcomes.
By integrating a variety of specialized teams and disciplines (e.g., ecology, veterinary, forestry), rWILD-COA is aimed to i) evaluate the effects of grazing on fire risk mitigation, ii) predict how ungulates impact soil ecological processes and functioning, iii) explore the direct and indirect pathways by which ungulates buffer or strengthen changes in species richness and diversity, and iv) analyse plant-soil feedback effects and the role of inter and intraspecific competition on foraging efficiency, diet quality and animal health of reintroduced individuals.
A great opportunity…
“The Côa Valley represents an outstanding outdoor laboratory to test and quantify the potential role of wild ungulates as ‘engineers’ of Mediterranean ecosystems”
We will conduct both observational and manipulative studies in contrasted ecosystems and ungulate species. We will be using an integrative assessment of the functional response of ecosystems (soil, plant, microbial and animal communities), taking into account the welfare and health of the ungulate species involved in the overabundance process and its implications for human health.
Who we are
Researchers from three Universities (UA, UAB, UPM), and two non-governmental organization (Association Rewilding Portugal, Association Transumância e Natureza).
Since 1998 the Côa Valley, northeastern Portugal, has been listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.