Create Challenge - La Dehesa

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An entry for January's Create Challenge.

La Dehesa

The debesa.

On New Year's, I went out to have a walk around the local dehesa. A misty afternoon, a soft rain and a lovely place... deserved to overcome laziness and put the foot out.

I took some photos. These are encinas, holm oaks, the inhabitants of the dehesas.

A dehesa is an extension of land derived from the Mediterranean forest.

It represents a harmonic use of natural resources by humans.

It can be private or communal.

A dehesa usually provides land for grazing. Anyone with cattle has a right to use the land, when it´s communal. It´s also the ecosystem where varied mushrooms, from tuber to boletus, firewood, or cork are produced.

The most known dehesas are those where the Iberian black pig is raised. The acorns it eats and the 'free lifestyle' the pig enjoys, produce that unique Iberian ham, a gastronomic jewel.

A dehesa is also the place where the wild bull, toro bravo, is raised to be used in bullfightings (corridas), an ancestral tradition now in decline.

The dehesa in this picture is used for cattle and also as a leisure space.

Its fauna consists of magpies, warblers, blackbirds... The oak (encina) and the ash (fresno) are the main flora.

A good way to protect this Mediterranean ecosystem is by buying wine whose cork is not a synthetic but a natural one. Most of the cork is produced in the dehesas of Portugal and Spain.

If you want to round the treat of a good wine, add a bit of Iberian ham. A pleasant, healthy and eco-friendly treat.

PS Here's a good video showing the cork harvesting.

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