After a couple of quiet weeks during the holiday season, the Camp Altiplano team are back with fresh energy, lots of news and plans for 2019.
Restoration at Camp Altiplano
At the camp itself we’ve been continuing the implementation of our restoration plan with three main planting projects underway; the almond trees are going in for agroforestry system, fruit and nut trees in the forest garden and fruit trees in the greywater system.
Our agroforestry system aims to provide a model that can be replicated by farmers in the region. It was designed with input from AlVelAl, a cooperative of farmers working together to explore the potential for regenerative agriculture to regenerate both the land and the local economy. The design is for an alley cropping system based around almonds, aromatics, nitrogen fixing trees and shrubs and mixed ground cover.
Reaching the tree planting stage of the project is a great milestone to celebrate. It’s really exciting to see the camp transforming as the trees go in. We hope that the work done to prepare the land since the camp was founded in July 2017 (de-compacting the soil, building swales and the sediment trap and planting then grazing a mixed cover crop) will give them a strong start.
Our ambitions extend well beyond the restoration of our five hectares to support the regional restoration efforts taking place in Murcia and Andalusia. Part of Ecosystem Restoration Camps’ mission is to connect degraded land with people motivated to learn and practise ecosystem restoration. We know there are plenty of you out there as we receive many more applications for campers than we can currently accomodate! Partnering with AlVelAl means we can restore more land and create more opportunities for you to join in.
This winter, with funding from sustainable clothing company, Patagonia, we’ve organised restoration project weeks at four different AlVelAl farms. In early December a team of eight Earth Restorers from all over Europe spent two weeks working at farms near Chirivel, supporting the farmers to plant swales and build dams to prevent erosion of the soil by heavy rains. And at the end of January another team will work with two different farms planting natural corridors and helping the farmers to implement their restoration plans.
Expect more news on how this goes in our next newsletter…
Natural Corridor and Riparian Zone planting at La Junquera
Camp Altiplano is part of La Junquera, one of AlVelAl’s six demonstration farms. We’ve been working with the landowner, Alfonso, on two of the many restoration projects going on at the farm.
The first part of this project was completed before the holidays in December. We planted 2000 cuttings of trees including willow and poplar in the Riparian zone with the ponds adjacent to the camp. These fast growing trees will provide a substantial windbreak within two to three years, produce biomass and fix the soil with their extensive root systems. Taray, a fast growing shrub, has been planted in a horseshoe around the central pond to protect it from the evaporative effects of the sun and the wind.
The second part was to plant a natural corridor between two fields nearby the camp. A mix of twelve different species was planted, including native legumes like Genista and other nitrogen fixers like Dorycnium pentaphyllum was planted. We also added plants with berries to attract birds such as Rhamnus lycioides (buckthorn) and Juniperus oxycedrus (cade juniper). Other plants like Rosemary and Cistus albidus will attract pollinators.
Kitchen Cabin Completed
In news on the camp build, we have completed the structure and outer shell of the kitchen cabin. Designed by local eco-architecture firm, Ecoproyecta, this additional space gives us more room to prepare meals and will make it much easier to live and work at the camp. It’s an important step towards having the facilities to host workshops, courses and, of course, more campers!
Thank you to Ecosystem Restoration Camps’ Founding Friends for making this possible. We’ll look forward to hosting you in our lovely kitchen one day!
Until next time, best wishes to you from all the team at Camp Altiplano!