Tag Archives: Land stewardship

21 fig tree enclosures are restored by the Land Stewardship Scheme

It is noticeable, without paying much attention, that one of the icons of the Menorcan agricultural landscape has been losing its strength and vigor over the last few years. We are referring to the fig tree, this tree of dry land that with very little care was producing golden gifts in the middle of August.

The Land Stewardship Scheme has started a series of initiatives to encourage its restoration. The object is to contribute to the maintenance of the unique landscape that these trees create and, at the same time, diversify produce from those interested farms.

During the last year, through the agricultural days of volunteering, 21 fig tree enclosures have been restored.  Volunteer help on the farms has enabled the clearing out of wild olive bushes and brambles that invaded the enclosures, maintaining the dry stone wall structures, pruning fig trees that still had living branches and eliminating those that were completely dead and planting new ones.

Fig trees, amongst other dry wood trees, are planted in the middle of the countryside and dry stonewalls are built round them to protect them from the cattle. However, it is a characteristic to see the animals looking for some fallen figs around the enclosures.

As well as the restoration of some of the enclosures, 120 fig plants have been bought to distribute between the farms. The purchase has been diverse:  from the “paratjales” with their distinctive broken red fruit, to the sweetness of the white lady’s neck, through to the bold, first batch of the summer, of the “fig flower” and finishing with the bardissot variety.

The last few years have seen a decline in the figs of Menorca. certainly  the effect of climate change and lack of water, combined with no maintenance, are some of the factors that come into play in lowering the crop defences against disease.

Harvest figs again at the end of August to accompany an oliaigua or enjoy the smell of ripe figs. Look for the fresh green leaves in summer or enjoy the simple tastes from a bunch of figs picked in the early morning and eating them fresh from the night. We can retain some of those pleasures if we continue with the restoration of the emblematic fig trees in Menorca.

The agreement between GOB and the farms signed up to the Land Stewardship Scheme gives the farms the option to diversify their products and maintain distinctive landscape features such as the fig tree enclosures. That is only one of the many options that is gained from the mutual benefit between the farms and volunteers each year. Many thanks to all those who took part in the volunteering activities.

The activity has the economic support of the Menorca Island Council, the Menorca Preservation Fund and the MAVA Foundation.

We receive recognition for our contribution to the socioeconomic development of Menorca

The Secretary of the Spanish Committee of the MAB Programme (Man and the Biosphere Programme launched by UNESCO in 1971), Jose Cantos, recently gave us a diploma awarded for GOB’s contribution to the Sustainable Socioeconomic Development of Menorca. It was recorded in the Reserve of the Biosphere Recognitions for Environmental Commitment granted by the Autonomous Agency of National Parks of the Ministry of Ecological Transition.

GOB has received this award “for its participation in multiple sustainable social and economic development projects, in which the Land Stewardship Scheme stands out”. The resolution highlights the large number of people associated with GOB (1,450 members), their participation in many conservation campaigns and in projects that focus on orienting the economy toward sustainability, as well as for the promotion of the Land Stewardship Scheme that includes 34 agricultural farms signed up to the agreement.

The selection of awards for environmental commitment in the Biosphere Reserves analysed 112 candidates and finally granted 17 distinctions. In the case of Menorca, under the heading of Promotion of Environmental Research and Education, the Institute of Menorcan Scientific Studies – OBSAM – was recognised as the driving force behind the declaration of the Reserve of the Biosphere in Menorca and for its scientific monitoring of sustainability indicators.

This recognition at a state level has been received 24 years after Menorca became a Reserve of the Biosphere, and adds to the international prize that GOB received in those first years. That award was given in 1997, by TUI International that wanted to honour the active contribution by GOB for making the Reserve of the Biosphere a reality and not just an honorific title.