Mosaic Perennial Crops, Navarra

The pilot area is located in the upland part of the Mediterranean High Nature Value Farming area of Navarra. For the he pilot, a test area of 6154,62 hectares was selected, forming part of the municipalities of Viana, Aras and Bargota, in the west central Navarra.

The mosaic of land uses in the area of the municipalities of Aras, Viana and Bargota, creates a landscape of high heterogeneity which is the support of a wide range of flora and fauna species that are related to low intensity farming practices. Perennial crops, olive groves, almonds and vineyards, with and without herbaceous cover, herbaceous crops, pastures, scrublands and trees are the main elements of the landscape. The area has a very small parcel size and a high boundary density (km/ha), ideal to test Results Based Agri-environment measures for heterogeneous extensive farming systems.

mosaic-landscape

Mosaic of different perennial crops, both with and without herbaceous cover beneath them.

The overarching goal of the project in Navarra is to maintain this mosaic farmed landscape. In order to achieve this goal, the project is going to focus on the main perennial crops present in the area: vineyards, olive groves and almond groves. These crops, some of which have herbaceous covers, alternate in the landscape with natural vegetation patches and vegetation edges and with cereal fields. Without these perennial crops between the cereal fields and with alternation with natural vegetation patches, the landscape will became much poorer (see below in the picture). The small plots (fields) that have the vineyards, olive groves and almonds, also possess a high number of elements that are very important for the biodiversity: small trees planted in the border of the field, dry-stone wall and also dry-stone huts. All these natural and built structures are used by wildlife as nesting, feeding areas and as refugia.

Herbaceous cover in perennial crops

When a plot has herbaceous cover  it is suitable for nesting, shelter or feeding of several species of fauna, and also for the flora.  The greater the richness of species present in the plot, the greater the ecological niches for wildlife species.

RBAPS Navarra - Field 10.JPG

Rich herbaceous cover with orchid flower

Edges and patches of natural vegetation

These natural vegetation areas are of high ecological importance and support a diversity of wildlife and many plant communities and Habitats of Community Interest (HIC) and Priority Natural Habitats (HIP) including:

  • HIC 6210 (*) Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (* important orchid sites).
  • HIP 6220* Pseudo-steppe with grasses and annuals (Thero-Brachypodietea)
  • HIC 4090 Endemic oro-Mediterranean heaths with gorse.
Cirauqui

Natural vegetation occurs on the open hillsides, and in patches within cultivated plots

Isolated trees in the plots 

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Maintaining isolated trees in the landscape is important for birds and other fauna

Built elements, including dry stone walls and huts 

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Dry stone hut

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This project is funded by the European Commission with co-funding provided by project partners and with support form The Heritage Council, Teagasc and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The opinions expressed on this website or in project documents do not necessarily reflect those of the funders.
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