Forest and tree cultures

Natively, the Mediterranean is home to the evergreen oak forests and bushland. Characteristic trees are the cork oak, the holm oak and the strawberry tree. You find groves of olives, citrus trees, almonds, carob trees and many more. In total there are more than 400 woody plants at home in the Mediterranean. The goal of the forest project of Tamera is to reinstall its former diversity and to weave a mosaic of abundance which also includes tree crops.

We have already planted more than 10.000 trees since Tamera was established in 1995. This has resulted in several areas afforested with a wide variety of species, fruit tree plantations and a small nursery for forest and fruit trees.

During the last years we strengthened our efforts and applied new techniques:

Seeding of forest: Following the example of nature we seed a huge number of seeds from many different species. We bring out several hundred thousand seeds every winter. The resulting trees and bushes grow deep roots and find their optimal place to thrive in a kind of self organization. In cooperation with nature protection organizations and the forestry department of Portugal we have been able to bring seeds and young plants of many rare species to Tamera. A living seed bank is emerging.

Animals in afforestation: Our pigs prepare the soil for us to seed forest, they loosen it and dig in vegetation. Additional they care for the existing tree cultures. The forests are also used as pasture for our horses as they as well help to build topsoil. We are researching on a sustainable forest-pasture management that enables and fosters the natural rejuvenation of the forest.

To transform mono-cultures into mixed forests: Many areas in Portugal are dominated by eucalyptus and pine mono-cultures. These are prone to fire, erosion and pests and hardly provide any living space to other species. Step by step we turn our small eucalyptus forests into a diverse biotope so they can serve as a show case model to use in larger areas.

The water retention landscape enables us to offer riverside forest plants and fruit trees a new place. Chestnut, alder, ash and elder tree form a near to nature biotope. Forest corridors offer a protected path for wild animals to reach the lakes and ponds. Many wild animals find their hiding places in the areas populated with trees also as Tamera is one of the few areas in the region where they are not being hunted. Wild boars, badgers, foxes, genets (a small creature between a cat and a mongoose) and forest owls are some of the numerous wild animals living with us.

Building topsoil: In the natural path of succession, many woody plants will only appear after some time (sometimes it even takes ten, twenty or thirty years) when the natural conditions allow them. We focus our work on improving these conditions (the quality of the soil, shading etc.), e.g. by loosening the soil deeply, by planting green manure and by pasture management. This is our attempt to speed up and intensify the process of succession.

Caring for the trees: Our work also looks at caring for the existing trees, pruning and harvesting them according to their being. They supply us in an environmentally sustainable way with olives, cork, fire wood, construction material and fruits of all kinds. A growing system of abundance can produce enough for all beings.

Compensating emissions: By building forest and topsoil CO2 is stored. This is one way we compensate a part of the emissions that we, our guests and companies cooperating with us produce.

Project leaders: Thomas Preisser and Christoph Ulbig



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