The ADOPT A DONKEY Campaign supports an experimental project that seeks to find solutions to the general problems of the forest, generated with the introduction of modern energy systems in today's society and the abandonment of traditional production systems in the Mediterranean forest, produced in Ibiza with the start of the tourist boom. This change in forest management, together with other factors, has caused a general increase in the density of the forest mass, which causes, on the one hand, the difficulty of using it and, on the other hand, a substantial increase in the risk of difficult fires control.
The Balearic Islands have suffered 69 forest fires until August 1, 2016, six more than last year at this time, which have burned 62.4 hectares, 2.3% less than in 2015. Mallorca is the island that It has suffered more accidents, with 42, followed by Ibiza, with 25, while Menorca and Formentera have each registered one. Almost all of the forest stands in Ibiza are seriously or extremely dangerous.
Negligence and accidents continue to be the main cause of forest fires, accounting for 43% of the total. Given the need to tackle the problem and given the high costs of manual clearing for undergrowth cleaning, the use of indigenous livestock is proposed to regenerate pastures, reduce forest mass and generate discontinuities in it with the idea of limiting the effects of possible fires on the Island. In this way, a double objective is achieved, on the one hand contributing to the recovery of indigenous breeds and on the other facing the problem of increasing biomass in the forest.
The abandonment of agricultural activities related to the forest, the exodus of the rural population to the urban world and the outsourcing of the rural economy have caused the breakdown of the agroforestry balance. Currently the agroforestry ecosystem is left and impoverished, characterized by an increase in woody and scrub biomass. This accumulation of biomass in the understory constitutes a great source of fuel in the face of a forest fire. Forest cleaning and management are essential tasks in the fight against forest fires, but reducing the amount of forest biomass in the soil can have a high economic cost. An alternative is the burning of this biomass, but it has even higher costs, both economically and ecologically.
Silvopastoralism, that is, the management of forest areas using extensive livestock farming through domestic herbivores that graze the undergrowth, be they donkeys, goats or sheep, can be a key tool for reducing biomass and for maintaining forest fuel by below levels that guarantee the chances of success of fire fighting services.
Compared to other non-livestock forest management strategies, such as mechanical clearing or controlled burning, the use of livestock in preventive forestry for the maintenance of firebreaks and fire strips offers much more benefits than simple savings in maintenance costs.
Benefits such as obtaining ecological quality products, conservation of autochthonous breeds, fixation of the population to the rural environment, maintenance of biodiversity, and above all, it is an active element in preventing the risk of forest fires.
Extensively used livestock can coexist with vegetation and wildlife as one more element of the ecosystem. It is necessary to achieve a balance between production and conservation, adapting the livestock load to the availability of grazing resources and respecting the capacity for renewal of the environment.
Management through extensive grazing in Pitusa mayor can help to reduce the fuel load in the forest, reducing the risk of forest fires and contributing to the improvement of biodiversity, among many other ecological and social benefits. Forest management through extensive ranching entails much lower economic costs as well as less impact on the environment. At times as delicate as today is an issue that should be taken into account.
Therefore, for all the reasons mentioned above, we consider that there is a clear need to develop projects of this type that promote the improvement of agroforestry mosaics. In addition to renewing social opinion on pastoralism and like this, it could contribute to improving the environment by preventing fires, leaving aside the stigmatization that it has suffered for years.
Donkeys need you !
Adopt a Burrito of Pura Raza Balear!
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Support the Forest Fire Prevention Project.
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You can deduct 75% of the first 150 euros and 35% of what exceeds 150 euros.
(Arts. 68.3, 69.1 IRPF Law; 69.2 Regulations)
Puig den Coques
07840 Santa Eularia de Riu
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