The never ending treescape of Extramadura is full of open grown pollard trees – usually holm oak or cork oak, stretching from horizon to horizon. It’s a treescape on an epic landscape scale. In early spring the flowering of the trees is astonishing – so much pollen, so much potential for autumn fruit.
The trees are managed in this way to maximise production of wood or bark for fuel and cork and acorns for mast to feed the famous pigs for their Iberian ham. This sylvo-pastoral or wood pasture system is a tried and tested practice that has been happening for millennia and has proved itself to be wonderfully sustainable. It’s “two tier agriculture” says Ted – the trees are productive but because their crowns are kept separate and relatively low, it allows plenty of open space for other grazers such as cattle.