Extremadura

 

An exemplary region is the Extremadura in Spain. Our partner in the project "Preservation of cultural landscapes", Fundación Global Nature España, owns an information centre and a number of fincas, in which ancient domestic animal races are bred and environmentally sound pasturing of the Dehesas is practised in an exemplary way. For instance there are 500 sheep kept on the finca "El Baldío de Talaván" that spend the summer on the mountain pastures of the Cantabrian Mountains. The Retinta goats from the finca Arroche in the Sierra de Gata spend the winter on the pastures of the finca Talaván and feed on the abundant acorns there. To be able to carry out environmentally friendly sheep breeding successfully, it is important to also include aspects of the product chain such as further processing and the sale of the product.

The information centre "La Dehesa" in Torrejon el Rubio is becoming increasingly important for tourists and locals. Every year the number of visitors to the centre increases and the participants in the courses and workshops offered become more numerous. The response from local schools to opportunities offered for environmental education is getting better and better.

The maintenance of the reforested areas in the Dehesas is currently in its sixth year. The areas are being farmed according to the traditional cyclic method of planting cereals first, then using the land for pasturing and then leaving it fallow. Rabbits and Red-legged Patridge, which were prey to Lynx and Imperial Eagle, benefit from the cereals. To be able to stabilise the rabbit population, protective coverings made of the branches of the pruned holm oak trees have been built.

In the last years, three ponds have been erected on the land of the finca Talaván, which have a very positive impact on the entire surrounding fauna. Cranes visit the area in winter. The largest lake has also attracted a breeding pair of otters.

 

Sadly the future looks grim for the Iberian Lynx. Only one-third of the 1,200 lynx which roamed the penisula in the late 1980s remain. To improve the foraging conditions for the lynx, shrubs and bushes were cleared manually from overgrown grassland. By grazing Retina goats, a further 1,000 hectares of shrubs and forest land were cleared.

 Ponds of Talaván