Biodiversity, Ecology and Innovation are characteristic features of Cortijo el Puerto. This 2021 we have started with a sample of it in the recently signed collaboration agreement with the European Showcase Project.
The EU-funded SHOWCASE project aims to shed light on these issues by reviewing and testing the ecological effectiveness of a range of economic and societal incentives to implement biodiversity management in farming operations and examine farmer and public acceptance. The project is focusing on result-based incentives, involvement in citizen science biodiversity monitoring and biodiversity-based business models. Moreover, it will design communication strategies that are tailor-made for farmers and other key stakeholders operating in different socio-economic and environmental conditions.
By signing this project, the actions of INGEOLIVA SL (Cortijo el Puerto) and the SHOWCASE project are framed and coordinated in consultations, information exchanges and achievements, in the fields of research and technology.
“A philosophy of life … a unique ecosystem”
As organic farmers we have acquired a great environmental awareness, deeply committed to ecology and respect for the environment, we work to promote fertility in the land through the regeneration of the soil and to favour biodiversity and natural ecosystems that integrate fauna and flora and is balanced by their interactions.
We consider this to be a model able to answer the great challenges that the agricultural sector is already facing: scarcer rainfall, more degraded soils due to abuse and neglect and a demand for higher quality food as well as long-term sustainability.understanding soils and ecosystem interactions, producing food in a healthier way and with higher quality.
Within the framework of the aforementioned agreement, coordinated by the Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC) and led in Spain by Dr. Ignasi Bartomeus Roig, as a researcher of the SHOWCASE project, Cortijo el Puerto joins as a Company and Farm Ecosystem to work and learn from the rich synergies that biodiversity, science and agriculture bring. As prominent actors are the NGO Abejas Silvestres and the precision agriculture company Plantpy.
Because the most valuable part of a farm is not its crops but the land, specifically the superficial part that is the most fertile, if we maintain a living soil we will have almond, olive, citrus … The agriculture model that best conserves the earth is organic and biodynamic. We make an ecological biodiversity, we integrate all the elements that exist in nature within the farm, flora, fauna and habitat.
As explained on the project website, it is agriculture with common sense. An agriculture that thinks long term and is committed to the environment. There is no single recipe for this. Success lies in co-designing measures adapted to the economic, social and ecological reality of each place and rigorously evaluating this process. In Spain, this community has begun to be built in the Guadalquivir valley (North of Seville), around fruit crops (but not necessarily restricted to them). The actions to be carried out can vary from developing simple tools to measure the pollinator potential of farms, to optimizing the use of water, everything will depend on the needs and possible solutions that we find.
Our Ecosystem: Perfect symbiosis
The flora at Cortijo el Puerto (trees, shrubs and vegetation cover) are the backbone of the farm, the basis of our ecosystem. All plants are prepared to capture solar energy, thereby feeding other species, increasing pollination and producing healthy food (olive oil and almonds) for human consumption. In the end of the cycle, our herd of Cornicabra sheep clears the vegetation cover and we return the organic matter to the soil, helping decomposition and mantaining this life cycle of the food chain.
In order to obtain the best results for our flora, we have analyzed the whole surface of the land to be cultivated, studied the essence of the soil, planted wood crops using GPS, and sought the most favorable plant associations for the vegetation cover.
Vegetation cover fulfills four objectives:
First, it covers 100% of the surface of the farm, nourishing the soil
Second, staggered flowering: we have chosen flowers that bloom throughout the year, in order to help the farm’s fauna
Third, it promotes biodiversity
Fourth, it attracts outside wildlife and avoid contamination of neighbouring farms.
In this landscape, there are abundant species such as the hawksbill, the common lark, as well as other aquatic species closer to the Vega such as mallards and herons, with examples such as kingfisher or the bee-eater bird. On the farm itself, some animal species live there all year round, such as owls, billiard birds, hares, partridges or quail; these all cohabit, increasing the natural balance and biodiversity at Cortijo El Puerto.
The “native” avifauna (birds, mammals, reptiles, insects) increases and is related to the area. In addition we have invited native Utrera hens, donkeys in danger of extinction, and Merino sheep to live with us on the farm, not forgetting the ducks, geese and other aquatic species that share our ponds.
In Cortijo el Puerto we have prepared spaces for different species, both our indigenous and non-native species. We want visiting birds to reduce their temporary stay and nest regularly in our natural refuges. We are experts in building sustainable habitats.
Our thanks to Dr. Ignasi Bartomeus Roig for counting on us and our invitation to know the Showcase project. We consider it important to create communities where everyone can collaborate to design, implement and evaluate measures that allow us to improve the conservation of nature as well as the productivity and sustainability of our fields