Dehesa farms in Spain

Description of system

Dehesa is an agrosilvopastoral system formed from the clearing of evergreen woodlands where trees, native grasses, crops, and livestock interact positively under management. At present, dehesas occupy 2.3 million hectares in Spain and 0.7 million hectares in Portugal, where they are called “montados”. Dehesas result from a simplification, in structure and species richness, of Mediterranean forests and shrublands, and are attained by reducing tree density, eliminating matorral (shrub) cover, and favouring the grass layer by means of grazing and crop culture. Dehesas are characterized by the rearing of traditional livestock breeds at low stocking densities and careful exploitation of evergreen oaks. Dehesas are among the best preserved low-intensity farming systems in Europe, and in them the integration of traditional land-use and biodiversity conservation is considered an exemplary land use management.

Initial stakeholder meeting

The first meeting of the stakeholder group was help on 30 May 2014 at the Forestry School of the University of Extremadura in Plasencia. The initial stakeholder meeting was very well attended with more than 90 stakeholders attending. Among the attendees, were farmers, breeders, foresters, landowners, representatives of regional and national associations, agricultural services companies, extension services, nature-related NGOs, local action groups and policy makers.
A comprehensive analysis of the perception of the positive and negative aspects of the dehesa system, and potential innovations for research was undertaken. Potential areas identified for research were methods for tree regeneration, fodder crops, grazing, and the possibility of a dehesa trademark.
If you would like to know about the activity of this group, please contact Dr. Gerardo Moreno at the University of Extremadura.

Download the initial stakeholder report

An initial stakeholder report was produced in September 2014.

Download the initial research and development protocol

A research protocol for the dehesas in Spain stakeholder group was produced in February 2015.

Download the system description

A research update on dehesas in Spain was produced in December 2015.