Steppe farming

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General information

The modernisation of agriculture in steppes of La Mancha region has led to drastic changes in the landscape, home of large populations of steppe birds in the past. This modernisation resulted in a loss of traditional uses such as extensive grazing and the modification of ancestral practices such as the rotation of cereal crops with legumes or fallow lands.

Even today Castilla-La Mancha is a refuge for threatened birds such as the Great Bustard, the Iberian Gangue or the Little Bustard and the region still has the largest populations of hunting species associated with crops, such as partridges and quails. But in the decline of these bird populations we find the need to improve the co-existence between agrarian uses and the conservation of natural values. Furthermore, these agricultural productions can be differentiated with an added value linked to the steppe birds.

The modification and intensification of traditional agricultural practices is one of the most important causes of the decline of these species. The loss of hedges, fallow lands and the cultivation of legumes, the advance of irrigation, or the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides cause poisoning, lack of food by reducing the number of invertebrates and the destruction of refuges. The introduction of short cycle cereals has reduced the agricultural cycles and it causes the destruction of nests.

We work to halt the decline of steppe birds populations through Land Stewardship agreements in more than 16,000 hectares, promoting agrarian sustainability. We involve farmers and land managers in biodiversity conservation and we support them to promote their products because their added value both at social and environmental level.

Tools and documents
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