Reference Regions

Reference Regions » Cordilheira central (Portugal)
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Cordilheira central (Portugal)

Description of the Reference Region

The Cordilheira Central is a longitudinally oriented (northeast-southwest) mountain range in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula. In Portugal, its highest point is the Serra da Estrela (1993 m).

The delimited Reference Region includes forests, transitional forests/shrubs, sclerophyllous vegetation, natural grasslands and heterogeneous agricultural areas. Grasslands, alone or in mosaic, are the most represented land systems in this region and constitute an essential resource for the value chain.

Selected Value Chain

The selected value chain (VC) is Serra da Estrela Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) cheese, a traditional sheep’s milk cheese made locally. It is developed from traditional knowledge on cheese manufacture techniques, using only milk from two autochthonous sheep breeds (Bordaleira da Serra da Estrela and Churra Mondegueira), thistle flower (Cynara cardunculus) and salt.

This cheese is characteristic of the region where it is produced and is highly connected to land use. Currently, in the geographical production area of Serra da Estrela PDO cheese, there are 27 small to medium PDO cheese production plants, about 125 dairy farms producing Bordaleira da Serra da Estrela or Churra Mondegueira milk, and a cheese producers cooperative (EstrelaCoop).

Multi-Actor Platform (MAP) members

The platform is involving actors from diverse areas of activity, directly or indirectly linked to the Serra da Estrela PDO cheese VC: shepherds of the Bordaleira da Serra da Estrela sheep breed, associations of commons, cheesemakers, nature tourism agents and representatives of the PDO cheese producers’ cooperative and public bodies.

Publications & events

MOVING Leaflet

Video: MOVING: Valorização da Montanha através da Interconectividade e do Crescimento Verde

Article: Kick-off meeting of Serra da Estrela regional Multi-Actor Platform

Article: Engaging with local decision makers in Cordilheira Central

Policy Brief: Serra da Estrela PDO Cheese

Practice Abstract (1st set): The mountain landscape and PDO products – the case of Serra da Estrela cheese

Video: Vulnerability and resilience of Serra da Estrela PDO cheese (PT & EN)

Practice Abstract (2nd set): Maintaining the link between cheese and the mountain landscape (EN & PT)

Final Policy Brief: Serra da Estrela PDO cheese


Teresa Pinto-Correia
University of Évora