Wetlands in Extremadura
Dehesas are one of the most biologically rich environments in Europe. The traditional livestock use allows the maintenance of a diversity of environments where the typical species of holm oak or cork oak trees are mixed with others associated with the Mediterranean scrub or grasslands. Within these dehesas there are temporary Mediterranean ponds, wetlands created for livestock uses where rainwater and water from streams accumulate. We have worked on the conservation and restoration of nine ponds of this type located on our 234-hectare “El Baldío” estate. The aim of this project was not only to improve the conservation status of the ponds, but also to generate practical guidelines for other owners. So we developed actions to regenerate the vegetation on the banks (mixing herbaceous and woody plants) and to recover the aquatic vegetation that helps to maintain the quality of the water and serves as a habitat for different species. Similarly, areas of partial exclusion of livestock were created to maintain water quality throughout the year. All of these measures benefited not only livestock but also aquatic species such as newts (Triturus marmoratus), mediterranean pond turtles (Mauremys leprosa), and water rats, and others that use the ponds, such as the endangered black stork.