The Olivares Vivos growing model was born in 2015 and, since then, it has reconciled the olive grove with its traditional biodiversity and increased the profitability of growers. It is built on the solid scientific basis provided by its partner organizations and on the most important research carried out worldwide on the flora and fauna of the olive grove.


1. Recovering the natural wealth of the olive grove increases the profitability of growers. To work in favour of nature means the flora and fauna do it also for the benefit of the olive grove and the olive grower.

2. The ecosystem services lost due to agricultural intensification are recovered: more fertile soil, greater water retention, reduced erosion rates or better natural control of pests. Thus, it is necessary to use less fertilizers and pesticides, spending less money on supplies.
3. The Olivares Vivos model has no impact on production. Only one of the actions that are carried out is done in the productive space of the olive grove: the management of the herbaceous cover. And, if it is well managed, there is no reason for it to affect production.
4. The model increases the heritage value of the plantation by reducing the erosion rate and improving the soil of the olive grove. But also because it predisposes it to receive certain subsidies reserved for those plantations that go beyond food production and keep in mind other social needs in its management. Many of them come from the Community Agrarian Policy.
5. And, above all, the added value provided by the recovery of biodiversity, which is based both on the certification regulations and on the differentiation of EVOO through the Olivares Vivos hallmark. The marketing research carried out during the project have shown that consumers support the principles of Olivares Vivos and that they are committed and interested in purchasing products that recover biodiversity, mitigate climate change and support the rural world.


Herbaceous cover

Making a good management of the grass that appears under the olive tree and among the streets should be the first step to recover biodiversity. The herbaceous cover has been considered a great enemy by many growers until not long ago, as it was very difficult to avoid its competition with the means they had. However, this situation has changed and for years there have been methods so that the grass does not take away resources from the olive tree, while taking advantage of the benefits it provides, such as reducing erosion, allowing more water to enter the soil and accumulating inside or improving pollination between plants.
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  1. The most important thing: let the herbaceous cover develop. In this way, you can make the most of all its advantages.
  2. It has the same importance that you remove it before it begins to compete for water or other resources with the olive tree. When should you do it? It depends on where your olive grove is, the year and the amount of rain, but it is usually at the end of April or beginning of May.
  3. For its elimination, it is always better to use physical methods to manage the herbaceous cover (especially a weeding machine). But, in addition, if the grass is left on the ground, it will offer a better protection and reduce water evaporation.
  1. Using different methods to handle the cover can be a good option. Although the main one should be the weeding machine, using a shallow plowing in some area and rotating as the years go by can remove the seed bank and improve biodiversity.
  2. Above all, in the years in which the rainfall is higher, the plants can be allowed to seed in certain areas, such as the intersection among the streets of the olive grove or spaces further away from the olive tree. In this way, the seed bank will be replenished.

Unproductive spaces

The restoration of unproductive spaces, such as streams, rivers, watercourses, gullies, roadsides or boundaries, adds a greater complexity to the landscape. Choosing the plants that best adapt to each space, the location of the olive grove and its characteristics must be taken into account:
  • Its edaphic (soil) and climatological features. To help you, you can analyse the species that grow around the olive grove.
  • Area to be restored. It cannot be the same those that can grow next to a stream that carries water or dries up for more or less time throughout the year, as those that are in a more arid space, for example, on the roadside or in boundaries, where there is a stone accumulation or the soil is very poor.
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1. Make a large hole (at least twice the root ball of the plant). So you will remove the soil properly and facilitate the growth of the roots.

2. Once you have planted it, and very carefully, stomp around its trunk. In this way, you will reduce the air that can remain around the root and you will increase the chances that the plant will succeed.

3. Protect it from grazing animals, such as rabbits or dormouse. Put a protector that avoid from biting or eating it. Regarding this protector, when you see that the plant has already reached a size that you consider optimal, remove it to prevent the tree or shrub from deforming and reuse or recycle it.

4. Water the plant abundantly after placing it or plant it when you know it is going to rain. Also, keep watering it for the first two summers at least a couple of times during the hottest and driest months, during the coolest hours of the day. In this way, you will greatly improve it survival rate. Once this period is over, when the roots of the plant have developed, this support watering will no longer be necessary.

5. And, finally, keep in mind when to plant. Probably the best time period is from November or December to February or March, during the Mediterranean rainy season. And, of course, if the spring is dry and always during the summer, give it supporting watering.


With the works we have mentioned above, the base where the entire olive agrosystem is established on will have been increased. Especially if this is accompanied by a reduction or elimination of insecticides or other biocides. When these actions will have been launched, it will be seen how, first, grasshoppers, bees or butterflies will return, and then, birds or mammals will appear.
And it will be much easier for these animals to stay there if they have adequate spaces for their needs, something that will be achieved with the installation or construction of a series of support structures.

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1. Nest boxes, both for small and larger birds, such as predatory. Birds can control certain pests, both insects and other animals.

2. Shelter boxes for bats. These flying mammals are very effective in controlling certain insect pests.

3. Posts for predatory birds. The height of the olive trees is usually very similar and there is no trees that stand out, so there are no places on which the predatory birds can perch and scan the landscape, looking for their preys. Therefore, posts are very interesting for their populations. Furthermore, they will be useful for other animals, such as bats, since they are reference points for them.

4. Nests for insects, such as bees or wild wasps, which are very important for the pollination of different plants.

5. Small ponds that will be used by amphibians and reptiles to lay their eggs, as well as for the rest of the animals to drink water, especially in summer.

6. Dry stone walls where reptiles, amphibians or insects can hide and small birds can perch.

7. Drinking fountains for the different animals that pass through or live in the olive groves.



La Sociedad Española de Ornitología es la entidad conservacionista decana de España. Desde 1954, sigue teniendo como misión conservar la biodiversidad, con la participación e implicación de la sociedad, siempre con las aves como bandera.

SEO/BirdLife es la representante en España de BirdLife International, una federación que agrupa a las asociaciones dedicadas a la conservación de las aves y sus hábitats en todo el mundo, con representación en más de 100 países y más de 13 millones de socios.

Es el socio coordinador del LIFE Olivares Vivos+.