Blogpost: PREPSOIL Agroforestry Soil Needs Workshop Forests (Badajoz - Spain)
In the framework of the PREPSOIL Project - Preparing the EU Mission towards healthy soils, the Dehesa has been selected as one of the 21 European land use types for study and as a reference for similar soils in other geographical locations on the continent. This is a unique ecosystem shared between Spain and Portugal.
PREPSOIL has organized the “Workshop on the Health of the Dehesa Soil”, that has taken place at the Finca La Cocosa in Badajoz, with the participation of researchers from different fields and institutions as well as farm owners and other representatives of institutions related to soil health. Manuel Pulido from the University of Extremadura (UEX) presented the State of the Art Report on Dehesa Soil Health, which identifies the main threats and challenges to be faced, and Gerardo Moreno, also from the UEX, explained the importance of carbon sequestration as an essential factor for a healthy soil.
The Dehesa is the most studied silvopastoral ecosystem in the world. It’s most essential function is to provide food (pasture), therefore grazing, in the right proportion, is the factor that has the greatest impact on the percentage of soil carbon. The Dehesa soil degradation and desertification due to climate change are its biggest threats, in addition to the critical situation of the trees due to the policy of repopulation of the Common Agricultural Policy. The most important actions to step into in order to improve and preserve this ecosystem are: to avoid any agriculture activity, to promote intelligent grazing, to regenerate trees and brushes as the are keys in the sustainability of the ecosystem; and to establish fair prices for the Dehesa products that can maintain the farms and to better inform the consumer.
Map of Dehesa region spread between Spain and Portugal
The workshop concluded with a long debate session moderated by Fundecyt-Pctex on proposals for a more sustainable future of the Dehesa through soil health and the most innovative tools to achieve it. The attendees agreed that the design of a Living Lab on Mediterranean Silvopastoral Systems could be a great tool for the future of the Dehesa and other similar silvopastoral systems that are the limit of the desert in Europe.