Haliotis – Ecology and Health

is a project of education and practice towards a future sustainable life at the countryside in Southern Portugal.

Haliotis is located in the Campo Alentejano, a vast  mountainous region north of Serra da Monchique (Conc. Ourique et Odemira), where during the last 20-50 years more and more inhabitants left there home and settled in cities along the coastlines of Algarve, Costa Vicentina, Lisboa and far north. A small part of the former popoulation still lives in villages , as Santana da Serra, Santa Clara a Velha, Fitos, Luzianes etc. or on their former small quintas, practicing traditional gardening and horticulture along with breeding pigs, cows, goats or sheep and diverse birds.

To resettle this landscape and to introduce an effective mode of land-use through revitalizing the deranged and eluted soils does not seem to be easy, as long feels to be restricted to use modern, mainstream cultivation methods commonly in use throughout the European union.

On contrary, methods related to Permaculture bear a lot of positive elements, which are possibly far better adapted to the needs of that  landscape, threatened by overgrazing and soil-damage with heavy machines in the consequence of  a periodical „limpeza“ – which means cleaning from shrubs and other natural elements of recovering vegetation in order to suppress fire and the spreading mattu (shrubs with Cistus ladanifer and populifolia etc.).

For me, this part of Alentejo is like a sleeping oasis for people, who like to life at the countryside, embedded in a flourishing nature, known to be a landscape of extremes as well with harsh winds, a surplus of winter-rain and dry periods of more than 4 to 6 months …

It is a somewhat unique part of Europe, where one might experience the power of plantation in order to keep and even to restore a climate with sufficient water and humidity for future human settlement in a landscape of recovering natural biodiversity

Come and join Haliotis as a neighbour – there is plenty of terrain and some ressources of what might be necessary to detect new pathways of living under essential conditions!

Prof. Dr. Bernd Gerken April 2010– at work during summer 2009 –