RBAPS in Navarra, Spain
The Navarra region
Navarra is a region located in the North of Spain, bordered by the regions of the Basque Country, La Rioja, Aragón, and France, and it is located in the convergence of three biogeographical zones, the Atlantic, Alpine, and Mediterranean ones. The pilot area focuses in the Mediterranean upland zone, located in the middle of Navarra comprising a transverse band from West to East of the region. It is an intermediate region that shares features of the Northern mountains and the South bank, forming a transition landscape that attenuates the large contrasts found between the North and the South of the region. It consists of a set of plains, valleys, foothills and different ranges. The climate has a Mediterranean and Continental influence, with an annual rainfall of 500-700 mm, and temperatures that suffer big contrasts between the winter and summer seasons.
The upland zone of the Mediterranean region of Navarra supports a mosaic of vineyards, olive and almond groves, arable plots, rough grazing areas and high edges density which offer an important variety of ecological niches for wildlife (Iragui et al. 2010). Nevertheless the increase in the amount of herbicides and pesticides being used in vineyards and olive groves, a simultaneous reduction in traditional grazing pressure and a gradual extension of irrigated cultivation with intensive varieties and techniques are leading to a loss in biodiversity throughout the landscape. Traditional almond groves don’t lend themselves to intensification and are now facing abandonment, with the loss of species rich ground flora and associated insects and birds (Iragui et al. 2010).
RBAPS in Navarra
The RBAPS project is trialing a measure for perennial crops in the mosaic landscape in Navarra using assessment indicators which are surrogates for measuring the actual biodiversity. In Navarrra these assessment (or result) indicators relate to the extent, diversity and period of herbaceous cover, evidence of traditional grazing practices and quality of traditional boundaries, rough grazing areas and structures (dry stone walls and huts) valuable for wildlife. For more information see Mosaic Perennial Crops, Navarra.
In 2016, in Navarra 21 farmers participated in the RBAPS project. These farmers entered over 60 hectares of perennial crops across 115 plots, including: 47 almond plots, 53 olive groves and 15 vineyards. The average plot size entered to the project was just 0.53 hectares, typical of the traditional farmed landscape in this region, comprised of many small plots and high boundary density.
Iragui et al. (2010) Sistemas agrarios y forestales de alto valor natural en Navarra. Informe inédito. Gobierno de Navarra.