To counterbalance forest expansion, Collserola Park is recovering farming activities and open spaces with grazing animals
At the end of the XIX century, Collserola Natural Park was devoted to agricultural activities. However, with the arrival of the phylloxera epidemic, many vineyards crop fields were abandoned. In addition, during last 50 years, the remaining owners have abandoned farming activities because of the low productivity of the crops. Today, Collserola is mainly covered by forest. This reduces open spaces and habitats diversity, and therefore biodiversity since many species depend on open spaces for shelter or forage. The solution taken is the consolidation of existing farmland & the recovery of abandoned fields (dry farming) and to use herds of sheeps to maintain scattered open spaces within the forest.
Thus, Collserola has defined an Agricultural Plan to promote the use of farmland. Some of the actions are:
To put in contact landowners with active farmers from the park or from outside the park, that are willing to farm in the park;
The park itself farms 20 hectares of public land;To require abandoned farms that open an economic activity (such as a Restaurant) to farm a portion of their land in order to get their permit;
The creation of a quality brand issued by the Park;
The promotion of herds of sheep and goats.

Resources needed

Collserola has devoted a full-time employee to put into place the Agricultural Plan.

Evidence of success

Farming is getting back due to the increase of Km0 products sells and to the increase of people preference for organic products.

Difficulties encountered

The orography of the hills; The lack of water => dry farming (which yields fewer economic benefits); Most agricultural land is classified as areas reserved for equipment => owners expect to sell their lands; The presence of certain species (wild boars, ringdoves) in disequilibrium (overpopulation)

Potential for learning or transfer

The potential of transfer is very high since forest expansion is taking place across many European regions.
Project
Main institution
Consorci del Parc natural de Collserola
Location
Cataluña, Spain (España)
Start Date
December 2013
End Date
Ongoing

Contact

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Good Practices being followed by

Teresa Pastor

EUROPARC Federation

Vanya Ratarova

Nature Park "Vitosha" Directorate