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DOÑANA SOSTENIBLE - Design and Application of a Sustainable Soil Management Model for Orchard Crops in the Doñana National Park Area

LIFE00 ENV/E/000547

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Contact details:

Project Manager: José Fernando ROBLES DEL SALTO
Tel: +34 954 651711
Fax: +34 954 644773

Project description:


The Guadiamar River is the main source of water for the Doñana National Park. Human activities on the slopes of the river basin (e.g. agricultural) have an undeniable effect on the conservation of this natural enclave of international importance. The predominant crop in the catchment area is olive trees. Suspension and agrochemical material from the olive groves and other woodland farming activities, reaches the river through surface and underground waters. Contributing to this are use of ineffectively adapted agronomic techniques, combined with the physical nature of the terrain and its soil characteristics.


The general objective of this demonstration project was to identify methods whereby agriculture in the Doñaña area can be carried out with greater consideration for the local environment. The specific objectives were: 1) Strengthening the active participation of farmers in adopting agronomic techniques that are environmentally compatible and sustainable (2) Improving the sustainability of woodland farms through efficient management of land and water resources; (3) Reducing the contamination of surface and underground water by pollutants coming from agricultural soils; (4) To increase civil participation in the conservation of important sites, Natura 2000.


The project achieved its expected results: - 318.9 Ha of plots (on 33 pilot farms) adopted agronomic techniques involving sustainable management of soil and water resources. - An olive growers’ forum in operation. ( - Reduction in levels of suspended matter, fertilisers and biocides in runoff water; improved conservation of the Guadiamar River and the Doñana National Park. - A dynamic model for active participation of farmers in territorial management. The most appropriate agronomic techniques for the environment were used for the 318.9 Ha of sustainably managed land: - “Cubierta sembrada” (Sowed cover) - “Cubierta espontánea” (Spontaneous cover) - “Siega química” (Chemical harvesting) - “Siega mecánica” (Mechanical harvesting) and “siega animal” (Animal harvesting) - “SD: Suelo desnudo” (Necked soil) - “Laboreo convencional” (Conventional cultivation) and “semilaboreo” (Semi-cultivation) A variety of species was used for the vegetation cover, on different slopes and soil types, to achieve reliable results. The main objective in most of the plots was to improve soil protection as soon as possible to diminish the potential erosion in rainy periods. The data obtained during three agricultural cycles was recorded in a georeferenced database, enabling inclusion of data in a GIS developed by the project. The results met, and for some plots exceeded, expectations. For the majority of plots, reduction of erosion was clear and evident, especially in places with high slopes. Teledetection tools and the GIS were effective for tracing the increase of vegetation cover in the area. In most cases application of sustainable soil management techniques did not have a negative effect on production. In several of the demonstration plots, production improved. However, for a full picture of the impact on production, it will necessary to continue monitoring during the next 3-5 agricultural cycles. The project received a notably high degree of interest from the farmers in the area, a sector that is normally regarded as being resistant to change. A ‘ripple effect’ was created and the vegetation cover techniques were adopted throughout the project area, even by farming concerns not participating in the project. The olive growers’ forum website can be found at It was established as a meeting point for exchange and discussion of olive planting. More than 5,000 farmers, agrarian technicians and professionals were directly addressed by the dissemination activities carried out within the framework of the project. Most of these activities had an interactive aspect to enable the direct participation of farmers.


Environmental issues addressed:


Industry-Production - Agriculture - Forestry
Land-use & Planning - Sensitive and protected areas management
Land-use & Planning - Soil and landscape protection


environmental impact of agriculture‚  protected area‚  river management‚  social participation

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Asociación de Jóvenes Agricultores de Sevilla
Type of organisation Development agency
Description The beneficiary is ASAJA Sevilla, a professional farmers’ organisation with 10,000 crop farmer members in Sevilla Province.
Partners Diputación Provincial de Sevilla Opracol, Sevilla Syngenta-Agro S.A


Project reference LIFE00 ENV/E/000547
Duration 01-JUL-2001 to 30-JUN -2004
Total budget 789,693.00 €
EU contribution 394,797.00 €
Project location Andalucía(España)


Read more:

Brochure Title: "Proyecto Doñana Sostenible. Diseño y aplicación de un modelo de gestión sostenible en cultivos arbóreos en el entorno del Parque Nacional de Doñana" (Paper pamphlet in Spanish) Year: 2003 Editor: ASAJA
Brochure Title: "Calentar 2004 - 12 meses, 12 buenas prácticas” (Spanish) Year: 2003 Editor: ASAJA
Brochure Title: Sustainable Doñana Project (Paper pamphlet in English) Year: 2003 Editor: ASAJA
Project web site Project's website
Publication: Book Title: "Balance de aplicación de técnicas de conservación de suelo en el marco del proyecto LIFE Doñana Sostenible- Diseño y aplicación de un modelo de gestión sostenible del suelo en cultivos arbóreos del entorno de Doñana” (Balance of application of soil conservation techniques in the framework of the Doñana Sostenible LIFE project Design and applications of a sustainable soil management for orchard crops in the Doñana National Park Area, in Spanish Year: 2004 Editor: ASAJA
Publication: Layman report Layman report (exists in English and Spanish)
Video link "Sustainable Doñana Project, a contribution by farmers to the conservation of Doñana" (23')
Video link "Proyecto Doñana Sostenible, una contribución agrícola a la conservación de Doñana" (23')


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version