Timoneda d’Alfés. © Jordi Bas

Alfés thyme field. © Jordi Bas

The Alfés estate, owned by the Generalitat de Catalunya, has got an extension of 112,9 ha. It is located in the protected natural area of Secans de Mas de Melons-Alfés, in Lleida.

The estate is located inside the protected natural area of Secans de Mas de Melons-Alfés (Mas de Melons-Alfés drylands), a place included in the Pla d’Espais de Interès Natural (PEIN / Plan for Places of Natural Interest) since 1992, and in Natura 2000 network since 2003 as a Site of Community Importance (SIC) and a Special Protection Area for Birds (SPA). It is mainly occupied by a vegetal community, the thyme field, unique in Catalonia and with great ecological value. It preserves the characteristics of a continental arid steppe, defined by a plateau geomorphology (about 200 m over the sea level). More than 300 different vegetal taxa have been counted, including endemic plants and plant rarities, as for instance Sideritis scordioides var. carvanillesii, Narcissus dubius, several orchid species, etc.

Cogullada vulgar. © Gerard Plana / Trenca

Crested Lark. © Gerard Plana / Trenca

It is an important habitat for many birds species, among the highlights of which are Alaudidae family species and steppic birds, such as the Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, the Stone-curlew, the Calandra Lark, the Short-toed Lark, the Skylark, the Thekla Lark, the Little Bustard and more rarely the Black-bellied Sandgrouse. It is also an habitat used by many birds of prey, such as the Montagu’s Harrier, the Kestrel, the Red Kite, etc. On the other hand, it also stands out because of its insects populations, to the point that there are species only found here and nowhere else in Catalonia, as the orthopteran Prionotropis flexuosa, an Iberian endemism, the orthopteran Calliptamus wattenwylianus or the heteropteran Tholagnus flavolineatus.

Signatura de l'acord. © Trenca

Signing the land stewardship agreement. © Trenca

Yesterday, June 13th, Trenca and the Departament de Territori i Sostenibilitat (TES / Land and Sustainability Department) from the Generalitat signed the land stewardship agreement. The conseller of the TES himself, Mr. Santi Vila, signed the agreement on behalf the Department, and he appreciated very much the participation of the civil society in a joint work on the land. The objective of this agreement is to carry out actions for the conservation and improvement of the existing habitat, as well as to promote biodiversity in this natural area. In this estate there is the Alfés airfield. The actions will be done in a manner consistent with the aeronautical use, and in a consensual way with all actors involved in the area.

Land stewardship is a strategy of the civil society for the conservation of natural, cultural and landscape values. Through a stewardship agreement a voluntary pact is done between a land stewardship entity and a land owner, in order to maintain or recover the natural or cultural heritage of the farms under the agreement.

Trenca is a land stewardship entity, member of the Xarxa de Custòdia del Territori. We have signed land stewardship agreements in order to manage the SFP (Supplementary Feeding Points) network, the project Sustainable Agri-environmental Development in Les Garrigues, the project Conservation of the Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor) and to carry out actions in a farm in Alguaire (El Segrià regional district) where there is an important lesser kestrel colony.