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LIFE99 ENV/E/000351

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Mateo BONAZZI
Tel: +34 953 234411
Fax: +34 953 238248

Project description:


Rural areas in olive-grove regions have traditionally had low economic efficiency. They require relatively low technology, even in the industrial period, and a low volume of capital investment. However, in recent years the application of productivity policies has led to a significant change in the sector, resulting in a major impact on the potential medium to long-term sustainability of many regions. These negative impacts have shown themselves in both socio-cultural and environmental aspects and have resulted in depopulation, desertification and impoverishment of the biological and cultural resources as well as changes to the landscape.


The objectives of this project were: - To establish a permanent structure of observatories in olive-growing regions. These would focus firstly on the identification of environmental problems linked to the olive grove and then on the dissemination of best practises (training and information). - To create a consultative forum consisting of representatives of local and regional public and private bodies who were most closely related to the sector and to the environment. This forum would provide permanent guidance for the activities of the Centres. - To increase the socio-economic, environmental and cultural sustainability of olive-grove areas.


The project obtained the following results: - Three interpretation centres and a mobile museum were created in order to preserve and promote the quality and diversity of the agro ecosystems of the olive-groves and of the healthiness of the oils. These three centres provide direct contact between the social agents involved. They have kept local people and farmers up-to-date with improvements in the environmental quality of the olive-groves and have made them aware of the benefits of the ecological virgin olive oil in relation to human health (in the management of the oleosoft, and in the consultation documentation, etc.,). - A discussion forum, called Forum Oleícola, was created involving all the agents involved in the sustainability of the cultivation of the olive-groves. This was consolidated after the project. This forum operated in the three territorial bases established in the project, and was implemented on a national level via a regular bulletin available online via the two project website’s:; and - The County Council of Jaén and the city councils of Reus and Mora reached agreement on the co-ordinated management of the interpretation centres. This should guarantee the continuity in the middle and long term of the application of the knowledge developed regarding the sustainability of the olive-grove sector. - Although this project sought environmental rather than economic benefits, it should also have a direct influence on socio-economic improvements in the areas where it is applied: In terms of the crops, the reduction in the intensification tendency and a change to practises that were less damaging to the land was environmentally profitable because it ensured the long-term improvement in the quality and sustainability of the environment. - The project also helped to dissuade companies from considering negative impact minimisation as a cost, and instead to accept that R+D investment in new processes and technologies could lead to residual treatment and recovery. This would enable them to obtain not only economic benefits and an increased competitive lead, but could also help create new job opportunities. - Many farmers have changed to ecological cultivation including the provinces of Cadiz (1000 ha) and Jaén (300 ha in Segura mountains, 500 ha in Mágina mountains, 200 ha in South mountains, etc.). The mountainous regions of the provinces of Seville and Tarragona, and some regions in Castilla-La Mancha and Valencia are also carrying out these changes. The project proposals comply with many of the recommendations in the European Commission documents “On an EC Biodiversity Strategy” (COM 1998 42, pp. 9-12,19-21) and “Agenda 2000 – Agriculture” (pp. 2-3 and 5) on conservation of the environmental and cultural integrity in rural and marginal areas - which summarise some of the future key points on the path to a sustainable Europe. In addition, the project aims to transfer both the methods and the tools employed in Spain to other municipalities, counties and provinces in France, Greece, Italy and Portugal which, together with Spain, form the European Network of Olive-Growing Municipalities. These organisations are distributing the information to public and private groups in the olive-growing areas of their respective countries.


Environmental issues addressed:


Industry-Production - Agriculture - Forestry
Industry-Production - Food and Beverages


environmental impact of agriculture‚  cost-benefit analysis‚  edible fat

Target EU Legislation

  • Water
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Asociación Española de Municipios del Olivo
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description The Asociación Española de Municipios del Olivo - AEMO (Spanish Association of Olive-growing Municipalities)is a non profit-making organisation representing municipalities, county and district councils. Its main objective is to create a platform of knowledge, promotion and re-evaluation of the olive-oil sector.
Partners Baeza City Council (Jaén) Mora City Council (Toledo) Reus City Council (Tarragona)


Project reference LIFE99 ENV/E/000351
Duration 04-OCT-1999 to 04-OCT -2002
Total budget 1,212,248.15 €
EU contribution 556,630.73 €
Project location Castilla-La Mancha(España) Extremadura(España) Cataluña(España) Comunidad Valenciana(España) Andalucía(España)


Read more:

Brochure Title: “¿Qué es Oleolife?” (“What is Oleolife ?”), ES Author: Matteo Bonazzi Year: 2002 Editor: Asociación Española de Municipios del Olivo
Brochure Title: “¿Nuestro olivo es sostenible?” (“Is our olive sustainable?”, ES Author: Matteo Bonazzi Year: 2002 Editor: Asociación Española de Municipios del Olivo
Brochure Title: “L’Elixir Dourat. Cultura de l’oli i sostenibilitat” (“The golden elixir. The olive’s culture and sustainability”): leaflet and DVD (catalan) Author: Matteo Bonazzi Year: 2001 Editor: Asociación Española de Municipios del Olivo No of pages: 60
Brochure Title: Leaflet informing about the itinerant olive museum entitled "Centro de Interpretación del Olivo Sostenible" (ES) Author: Matteo Bonazzi Year: 2002 Editor: Asociación Española de Municipios del Olivo No of pages: 14
Brochure "Summary report of the OLEOLIFE project - A contribution to sustainable development from the prospect of the olive oil industry" (512 KB)
CD-ROM Title: Oleo Life I and II (ES)
Poster Title: Posters, one on the itinerant olive museum (ES) and another entitled “Market of pollution trading shares applied to bio-energy” (EN)
Project web site Internet Site
Publication: Book Title: "Sustainable Development: the Phantom of the Millenium (Desarrollo Sostenible: el Juego del Milenio)" (EN-FR) Author: Matteo Bonazzi Year: 2002 Editor: Asociación Española de Municipios del Olivo No of pages: 85
Publication: Book Title: "The Mediterranean Challenge (El desafío Mediterráneo)" (EN-ES) Author: Matteo Bonazzi Year: 2002 Editor: Asociación Española de Municipios del Olivo No of pages: 104
Publication: Pedagogical tool Title: “El olivo mágico” (“The magic olive”)? - Exercise book for children (ES) Author: Matteo Bonazzi Year: 2002 Editor: Asociación Española de Municipios del Olivo
Video feature Title: “The olive grove of the future” (ES) Author: Matteo Bonazzi Editor: Asociación Española de Municipios del Olivo


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