The montado is a silvo pastoral system, and the dominant land-use in the region of Alentejo (Portugal). It bears high nature, socio-economic, and landscape values, shaping the strong cultural identity of the region. Despite these values, it has been under decay over the last decades, indicating the inefficiency of current governance strategies. In this paper, we argue how three main discourses can be found that underpin different governance strategies in the montado: The heritage discourse, the modern production discourse, and the land stewardship discourse. These discourses frame farmers' decisions, though not always explicitly. The discourse analysis is grounded on an analysis of the relevant literature and research results from diverse projects, including an analysis of media representation of the montado since the 1990s, participatory observations, and 30 in-depth interviews with key stakeholders. Each of the three discourses identified are characterized in terms of key farming developments and defining elements, their time-scopes, the ways in which they are perceived by society, their measures of success, and underpinning institutions and power mechanisms. We argue that these discourses co-exist today, and this is a cause of increased tensions in montado governance strategies, hindering more effective and sustainable potential alternatives for the system.