SEO BIRDLIFE

We celebrated SEO/BirdLife Partner Day with a tasting at the Paraíso Virgen Extra olive oil shop

To celebrate SEO/BirdLife Partner Day, the coordinating partner of the LIFE Olivares Vivos + project, an event was organized where attendees could learn more about the status of farmland birds and SEO/BirdLife’s initiatives for biodiversity conservation in crop fields. Additionally, a hedonistic tasting of Extra Virgin Olive Oils (EVOOs) produced under the Olivares Vivos model was conducted.

At this event, held at the Paraíso Virgen Extra olive oil mill in Jaén, 17 people participated, gaining detailed insights into the significant relationship between agriculture and bird conservation. Paula Martín, a SEO/BirdLife technician, explained how it is increasingly difficult to hear birdsong in agricultural areas, emphasizing that birds are excellent indicators of overall biodiversity health. The significant decline of farmland birds indicates that agricultural intensification and landscape simplification are constant factors in the current agricultural model.

“If agricultural intensification negatively impacts biodiversity, and in turn, biodiversity loss has a severe impact on agriculture, since agriculture and biodiversity are strongly interconnected. On the one hand, crop health is influenced by numerous ecological processes operating from local to global scales. On the other hand, agroecosystems harbor some of the richest habitats in species diversity in the European Union. In fact, it is estimated that around 50% of all European species depend on agricultural habitats,” Paula explained to the attendees.

 

SEO/BirdLife and the agriculture

To address the environmental crisis affecting food production models, Martín detailed to participants how SEO/BirdLife is committed to enhancing understanding of specific threats to biodiversity conservation in agricultural environments. They aim to develop and strengthen sustainable consumption models that consider nature protection. Martín pointed out that SEO/BirdLife is developing projects focused on aligning agricultural practices with nature, enhancing farmers’ profitability, and restoring traditional agroecosystem biodiversity.

Among these initiatives, Martín highlighted Olivares Vivos, which began in 2015 to restore biodiversity in olive groves and translate it into profitability. This project was active from 2015 to 2021 with co-financing from the European Commission’s LIFE Program, and continues today with renewed European support. In its second phase, LIFE Olivares Vivos + has gained international recognition, reaching olive-growing regions in Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Italy. It has also launched the Olivares Vivos Certification, available to all olive growers interested in leveraging nature’s benefits for profitability under this label.

Additionally, Martín discussed the Secanos Vivos project, also coordinated by SEO/BirdLife with support from the Biodiversity Foundation. This project aims to transform the current rainfed cereal and vine agricultural model, which is at risk due to low profitability, into a model that adds value through increased biodiversity and climate resilience. Secanos Vivos is currently being implemented on farms in Andalusia, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Extremadura, and Aragon. Similar to Olivares Vivos, products grown under this model will also feature a specific label, helping consumers distinguish products that have contributed to biodiversity recovery and climate resilience based on scientifically validated methods.

The thaste of the biodiversity

Following this introduction to the work carried out by SEO/BirdLife in the field of agriculture, the activity continued with a hedonistic tasting of Extra Virgin Olive Oils (EVOO) produced under the Olivares Vivos model. To represent the 37 brands that are part of Olivares Vivos on this occasion, 3 were selected from the province of Jaén, all of the Picual variety: Oleaí, Oleocampo, and Castillo de Canena. Additionally, to emphasize the international aspect of the project and to introduce a lesser-known variety in Jaén, AOVE Pousio from the Alentejo region of Portugal was chosen.

Carlos Ruiz and Samuel Galiano, also SEO/BirdLife technicians, were responsible for guiding the entire tasting process and explaining the different characteristics and attributes of the oils. Furthermore, Carmen Nieto, manager of the Paraíso Virgen Extra olive oil shop, provided invaluable assistance and collaboration throughout the event. This olive oil shop offers a wide variety of extra virgin olive oils produced in the province of Jaén, including references from Olivares Vivos.

 

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CONÓCENOS

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+.