Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

Barroso Agro-sylvo-pastoral System, Portugal


  • Site location: The Barroso region is located in Northern Portugal and the site covers 2 municipalities: Boticas and Montalegre.
  • Area of GIAHS: 1.127,40 km2
  • Population working for this system: Resident population (2013): 15,589 inhabitants
  • Topological Characteristics: Mountainous area
  • Climatic Classification
  • Primary Income Sources: Agriculture, livestock breeding and processing of foodstuffs, forestry and grazing and tourist activities.

Barroso is a natural landscape composition of Northern Portugal, integrating part of the Peneda Gerês National Park, where the existing agrarian system is strongly influenced by the soil and climate conditions, with a predominance of smallholdings and cattle, sheep and goat pastoral farming in the region’s agricultural economy, as well as pig farming, which contributes significantly to household economies and plays an important social role.

With human occupation for thousands of years, this area of Northern Portugal presents today a pattern of land occupation marked by human activity for agriculture, forestry and grazing, while a number of very significant and relatively intact environmental areas are still found. This is a system which has remained, virtually to the present day, a rural subsistence economy, typical of mountainous regions, with poor utilisation of inputs, very few surpluses and where the level of consumption of the population is relatively low compared to other regions in the country.