Valcorchero (Cáceres)

Valcorchero (Cáceres)

1. Context

The farm is managed by public authorities (local and regional) towards the conservation of nature, cork production and livestock breeding. The tree layer is dominated by cork oaks (Q. suber), which shows low regeneration capacity. Dominant scrub species are Cytisus multiflorus, Cytisus scoparius, Asparagus sp., Crataegus monogyna, Pyrus bourgaeana. Other species present are Rosa canina, Rubus ulmifolius and Daphne gnidium. The area where the actions will be implemented is located near a gabion in the farm boundary with a neighbour private farm and in a set of temporary ponds (5-6) that functions as a refugee for amphibians.

2. Actions

2.1.Creation of scrub islands

Ten scrub islands of 36 m2 (x10) will be created in clear areas of the farm. The minimum distance between the islands will be 20 m. Areas of 9 m2 will be also fenced to be used as a control for the analysis of the effect of islands. Scrubs species to be planted are selected by the Working Group “Tree and Shrub species” in coordination with the Working Groups “Fauna” and “Soils”.

Soil sampling will be performed during the project to monitor the effect of the action (protection against livestock and shrub mosaic) on soil quality.

2.2.Restoration of a gabion located in the limit of the farm

The gabion is broken in some places, so it will be restored by using rocks from the farm. Moreover, to increase biodiversity, a line of shrub species and ten individuals of Q. suber will be planted parallel to the gabion with a mesh installed along the gabion (1,5 m from the gabion) to protect the new plantations. The shrubs to be planted are thorny species from the farm, as Rosa canina, Crataegus monogyna and Rhamnus oleoides.

2.3.Regeneration of Quercus suber
Regeneration of Q. suber is low in the farm. Therefore, it is foreseen to plant cork oaks encapsulated acorns near “nurse scrubs” already present in the farm. The regeneration actions will be implemented outside the islands, but within the same area. Some of the nurse species present in the farm for planting are Crataegus monogyna and Pyrus bourgaeana

2.4.Actions for improvement of fauna

• Nest boxes for bats near water sources will be installed.
• Actions to canalize rainfall floods to 5-6 temporary ponds, with the aim of transforming them into permanent ponds will be carried out by the farm manager. These ponds currently harbour a population of amphibians and insects in the rainy periods.