The Dehesa - a sustainable system from Spain and Portugal

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wongankatta
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:47 pm
Location: Wongan Hills, Western Australia

The Dehesa - a sustainable system from Spain and Portugal

Postby wongankatta » Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:51 pm

The Dehesa is an agricultural system that covers over 3 million hectares of land in Spain and Portugal (where it is called the Montado). It is a productive, sustainable and diverse system developed over hundreds of years comprising of an open woodland of Holm oaks and cork oaks with pasture underneath. The cork oaks are harvested for cork every 10 to 12 years and both oaks produce annual crops of acorns in Autumn at a time when pasture is scarce. Ham produced from acorn fed pigs in this area is world famous and retails in Australia for over $300 Kg :shock: . The oaks are pruned to allow more light through, producing charcoal as a byproduct and leaves as supplementary grazing for the many animals produced in the Dehesa. Crops are sometimes cultivated in areas of the system, but usually on a longer rotation allowing the fertility to built up between crops. The Dehesa occurs predominately in the 400-600mm rainfall zone.

Scientists have done many studies on the system giving it the fancy title of an Agrosilvopastural system as it produces crops, tree products and pasture. One study showed that the level of minerals in the topsoil were much higher under the tree canopy. Calcium for example was at more than twice the level found in open land. The pasture under the tree canopy was predominately perennial grasses where as annual grasses were more common in the open areas.

I think elements of the Dehesa system would be very compatible with NSF in comparable rainfall zones in Australia.
"The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops,but the cultivation and perfection of human beings." Masanobu Fukuoka

wongankatta
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:47 pm
Location: Wongan Hills, Western Australia

Postby wongankatta » Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:00 am

The following link is a good article I recently found on the Dehesa.
http://www.ecoagriculture.org/case_study.php?id=41

I have been trialing some cork oaks on my farm but so far they are going fairly slow contending with dry seasons, kangaroos and the neighbours sheep :(
"The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops,but the cultivation and perfection of human beings." Masanobu Fukuoka

Link
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:00 am

Biological farming in portugal

Postby Link » Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:17 pm

I vistied this farm in portugal, its an excellent example of farming with natural systems, thought you might be interested to see the web site.
www.herdadedofreixodomeio.com


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