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Sustainability Matters – February 2021

This month, IbizaPreservation explains why the island’s iconic almond groves are in need of some serious love and attention

Image courtesy of Jon Izeta for IbizaPreservation

Ibiza's beautiful and varied landscape is one of its main attractions for visitors. Away from the long stretches of sand and unspoilt coves is an undulating hinterland of verdant forests, tiny white villages and striking red soil. The land is crisscrossed by picturesque walking trails which, in any normal year, bring people from all over the world to our shores during the cooler winter months.

We at IbizaPreservation are focused on protecting this precious natural beauty and biodiversity. One of our key goals is to reinvigorate the land and soil, which has suffered in recent decades which has suffered in recent decades since the island's economy moved away from its traditional agrarian roots and into tourism.


Winter blossom

Image courtesy of Ayelén Alonso for IbizaPreservation

Take our famous almond groves, which have begun to blossom over the past few weeks, one of the most picturesque moments of the year. They can be seen all over the island but particularly at Pla de Corona in the village of Santa Inés, up in the north-west of Ibiza. The valley is particularly spellbinding when witnessed at night, under the light of the full moon.

However, the resplendent pinkish-white flowers are not as plentiful as they once were. Having a life cycle of only 70 years, the almond trees need to be replaced. But, since the advent of tourism, that's not been happening as often as it should. Between 2010 and 2015, around 30% of our groves were lost. Since then, many more trees have died off and no longer produce flowers or fruits.

It's important to remember that the almond trees of Ibiza have more than just a decorative function. As well as being pretty to look at, they perform a vital environmental role. Often planted on terraced hillsides or surrounded by stone walls, they help to prevent soil erosion and water run-off. Their leaves, fruits and branches provide food and shelter for local wildlife. And of course, like all trees, they act as a carbon sink, helping to absorb harmful CO2 emissions from the atmosphere.


Restoring the groves

To help remedy the situation, we have dedicated €50,000 towards efforts to plant around 750 new trees, both in the Pla de Corona and at Cas Secorrat, an organic farm near Buscastell. Separately, another 900 trees have been planted in San Mateo. These pilot projects, led by committed farmers and supported on a technical level by the local organic producers' association (Apaeef) and the local government (Consell d'Eivissa), are testing out a number of almond varieties, as well as different soil and water conditions. The progress of the trees is being monitored and the information shared throughout the farming community in order to replicate the programmes across the island and help restore the iconic groves to their former glory.


A hard nut to crack

Image courtesy of Jon Izeta for IbizaPreservation

Although almonds have been a part of Ibiza's heritage for centuries, it can be surprisingly hard these days to come by nuts actually grown on the island. Put that down to stiff competition from mass producers in places like California and even other parts of Spain, where yields are greater and costs are lower.

In order to help increase Ibiza's almond output, we invested in a cracking machine for the San Antonio farmers' cooperative, meaning the fruits can now be de-shelled more quickly and easily, commanding a higher return. If you'd like to support Ibiza's almond farmers, you can do so by making a purchase direct from the San Antonio Cooperative or from Ecofeixes.

Almonds are highly nutritious and packed full of antioxidants, protein, fibre and healthy fats, plus vitamins and minerals. Ibiza's almonds are even more so, as they are grown with less water and are therefore more concentrated. So, by buying and eating these locally grown goodies, you are contributing to your own health as well as the recovery of one of the island's most traditional and iconic crops.


You can find out more about IbizaPreservation and donate towards their work by going to their website: ibizapreservation.org. You can also follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Check out Ibiza Spotlight's recommended eco-friendly businesses whilst you are here and help to support a greener, cleaner Ibiza and Formentera.

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