samedi 12 août 2017

Montado com agua


This summer, we spent a full day digging 4 small ponds with the bulldozer. We first identified the spots through detailed mapping done by Alexandre's drone, providing us with contour lines of half a meter. We looked for water concentration points on the map in a keyline spirit and marked them in the field with the help of an Egyptian A-frame, some improvised flags made of blue bale strings and recycled bike wheel radiuses, and Arundo canes.


We took advantage of the big stones that we digged out to also build hollow cairns that could shelter animals such as little owls or ocellated lizards.



The purpose of digging these ponds high on the slopes in the holm oak savannah is twofold. First, the idea is to use them to recharge the soil and the aquifers. More than five hundred millions of liters of rainwater fall every year on the farm. We need to learn to improve our ability to catch it. This is an essential element of our soil building strategy. Second, the idea is to provide more reproduction sites for our eight species of amphibians. In the middle of the summer, one has no idea of the rich water life that the Montado experiences during the other seasons, as soon as rain starts falling. Animals other than amphibians should also benefit from this. For example, black-bellied sandgrouses, for which our special protection area is the second site in importance in the whole of Portugal, like drinking at such ponds.


What a pleasure to do all this work with Monsaraz at the horizon...


And impatients to find out in the coming years whether the ponds will be capable of holding water till late in spring which will be crucial for the reproduction of amphibians. Curious too to find out whether the hollow cairns work well...

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