On Friday, March 10, an informative talk was held with farmers of the two districts, about the possibilities of undertaking the preventive fire activity, popularly known as “sheep and firefighter goats”.
More than thirty breeders attended the event, which demonstrates the interest of this activity that the Mosaico project is promoting in Sierra de Gata and Hurdes. The talk was conducted by the livestock technician of the Gonzálo Palomo university. He was responsible for drawing a general picture of this proposal at national and local level and offer documentation that will be available on our website. It was followed by two concrete municipal proposals for the use of livestock in the Sierra de Gata.
The deputy mayor of Hernán Pérez, Pablo Iglesias, explained how they want to dispose of herds in their territory, specifically in the Sierra del Moro, on an area of 400 hectares. In general, they want to combine the cleaning action of these animals with other actions to take advantage of the biomass of their pine forests. The benefits would be multiple; In addition to preventing the uncontrolled proliferation of combustible material, this municipal initiative can offer two jobs, active surveillance, training, school activities, provide quality meat and strengthen the fertility of the soils of its public forest. On the web you can see the video made in February, about this initiative that is in the study phase. A similar action, in the town of Villasbuenas de Gata, was presented by its mayor and president of ADISGATA, Luis Mariano Martín. In this case about 300 hectares of the northern part of the town. The project would have a marked municipal and associative character, open to neighbors who want to help maintain a herd of retinct goat, in danger of extinction. His proposal is to be completed with a cheese factory, given the strategic commitment of the Local Action Group to favor and promote the creation of small processing industries.
To answer the questions of the assistants, about how an action of this type could be organized and to know closely its real and measurable contributions in fire prevention, besides the techniques of control and operation of this tool, Rogelio Jiménez visited us, Technical Board, with twelve years of supervision and study of the “firefighter sheep” in that community. His talk was of enormous interest and helped us to understand his potential. The first thing that stood out is that an initiative of this kind needs the harmony and collaboration of farmers, foresters and scientists and without this triple alliance, the proposal would not reach positive results. At present – in 2003 it was launched – there are 223 farmers with fire prevention contracts, which act on a total territory of 6,350 hectares. This professional services contract is not a camouflaged subsidy, but a payment that is donated with supervision and a rigorous examination of the results obtained. The farmer who meets objectives charges 100% of the money committed and the one that does not comply, charges according to results or even does not receive any payment. At this point the technician stressed the seriousness of this activity, which is much more profitable to the administration than the classic use of machinery. The tariffs managed in Andalusia range from € 42 / hectare to € 90 and the tasks are being carried out for the maintenance of 677 firebreaks.
The material contributed by Rogelio Jiménez is available to all on this website (ARCHIVES section) and the complexity of the evaluation methods that are followed can be appreciated in order to be able to carry out real supervision.
There are several countries that are working with this methodology, in Spain it is being applied with remarkable success in several places. Not long, we will see in our two regions, the implementation of this important initiative, which also provides extra income to farmers and a reinforcement and social recognition of their work.