The dehesa is a characteristic ecosystem of the Iberian Peninsula, characterised by an extension of land dedicated to the grazing of livestock and the cultivation of trees such as the holm oak and cork oak. It is an important economic and cultural driving force for many communities, as it is a source of natural resources, work and leisure.
However, in recent years, the lack of rainfall is seriously affecting the dehesa, causing a significant deterioration in its health and its capacity to produce resources. Below, we are going to analyse how the lack of rain affects the dehesa, and what long-term consequences this may have.
One of the main effects of the lack of rain on the dehesa is the reduction in tree growth and the loss of leaves. This can lead to a decrease in the production of acorns, which are an important source of food for the pigs that are reared on the dehesa. There may also be a reduction in cork production, as the lack of water weakens the trees and makes them more vulnerable to diseases and pests.
It can also affect the quality of grass and water available to the animals, which can have consequences for meat and milk production. This, in turn, can affect the economy of communities that depend on the dehesa for their livelihoods.
Another important effect of the lack of rainfall on dehesa is the increased risk of forest fires. Trees and dry grass are more susceptible to fire in drought conditions, which can endanger the biodiversity and health of the dehesa. Fires can also destroy infrastructure such as fences, roads and buildings, and have a negative impact on rural tourism, which is another source of income for communities.
In general, the lack of rainfall in the dehesa can have negative consequences on the environment, economy and culture of the regions that depend on this ecosystem. To combat the effects of drought, it is necessary to take appropriate conservation and management measures, such as rotational grazing, planting drought-resistant species and promoting sustainable agricultural practices.
It is also important to raise public awareness of the importance of caring for and protecting the dehesa as a unique natural and cultural heritage, and to promote initiatives that encourage the active participation of communities in its conservation and management.
In short, it is necessary to take appropriate conservation and management measures, and to promote the active participation of communities to ensure its long-term sustainability