Sunday, July 25, 2010

Oasis project - IAC Campus

A place where one day you can feel the subtle Mediterranean breeze only to feel the strong Atlantic winds the next. A place where the golden tones from the hay hills can dazzle your eyes until you are immersed in a deep reflective state and you find yourself contemplating the future of this planet; there is much history here. This vast History works in our favor.......

The IAC research campus is located on National Highway 18, Km 236. It is nestled between Queen Isabel of Aragon’s Castle in Estremoz, whom with great moral authority prevented the Battle of Alvalade and years later a war which was settled with an important Peace Treaty between Seville and Evoramonte. It was here where a Peace Treaty titled “Evoramonte’s Agreement” put an end to the civil war between absolutists and liberals.

Besides this historic background, other elements also make this place special. The people who inhabited these regions were people who dedicated their lives to pacifism. These groups left very positive energetic traces which many say can be felt to this day.

It is at this eastern point in Portugal, where the tone of the people is one of hospitality which carries a slight accent from neighboring Spain; a fusion of fraternal cultures can be heard every time they greet a visitor:
"Welcome to Alentejo!"

A land with many legends to be shared, like the one where the spirit of a nun, who once lived in this area, emerges everyday at dusk to protect the town of Evoramonte and to watch over her lover’s sleep. Or the legend of Queen Isabel the Saint, who would hand out roses and they would become pieces of bread as they were placed in the hands of the starving poor.

The area of the Iberian Peninsula, is encrusted in the confluence of two bioclimatic regions with a heterogeneous weather and isolation caused by the proximity to the Pyrenees. The result is an exclusive and vast diversity of unique habitats and animals found nowhere else in the world.

Between 2071 and 2100, the Peninsula’s temperature is projected to increase from two to six degrees Centigrade during the summer and two to three degrees in the winter. These results have been recorded in the Regional Evaluation Account of Climatic Alterations "Clima en España: pasado, presente y futuro", researched by the Red Temática CLIVAR- Spain.

The Iberian Peninsula continues to be one of the most affected areas by the ongoing global warming. As a result, the local temperature will increase three times more than the rest of the world and up to fifty percent more than the rest of the northern hemisphere.

Due to this delicate and complex edafological situation, the IAC campus occupies an area measuring 9.8 hectares, 20% of which have been designated as an Ecological Reserve. Many excellent results from biological investments have been obtained due to the responsible and restorative relationship established with the biodiversity of the region, for instance:
  • Reforestation of native, fruit-bearing, exotic and fully adapted species.
  • Using ecological products to systematically correct the land’s pH levels.
  • Exclusive cultivation with vegetable substrates taking advantage of the herbal residues found in the area.
  • Organized planning for a drop by drop watering system to economize water.
  • Vegetative coverings using leguminous plants to increase the soil’s Nitrogen levels.
  • Recycling of organic waste by composting, recycling materials made of plastic, metal, paper and glass. The land previously deplorable is now becoming an OASIS.

The ground is basically made up of sedimentary rocks with variable proportions in terms of impurities (some are quite hard making it difficult for any root to penetrate them) and lack water. Besides these already difficult conditions, there are rigorous winters, with much rain and strong winds, alternating with very dry summers reaching average temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius.

Our objective is to become an ecological reference throughout the region. We want locals, as well as travelers and visitors, to stop and admire this immense green spot with exuberant flora and fauna sitting in the middle of this beautiful, yet arid, golden region of Alentejo.

Ever since the Environmental Project Oasis began in 2005, the biodiversity of the Campus has visibly increased. This fact confirms that our actions are coherent and consistent with some of the principles pertinent to a Profound Ecology, and it encourages us to continue working in that same direction.

The Environmental Project Oasis counts entirely on the manual labor of volunteers and must generate and administer its own financial resources. In order to continue with the next phases of this project of biodiversity restoration, we require financial contributions from people and/or organizations concerned with the future of life in a more harmonious planet.

The funds collected will make the next priorities of the Environmental Project a truly viable enterprise:
  • Purchase of a deposit to gather rain water (6,000 Euros including installation)
  • Finish the natural acoustic barrier with more than 700 individual species of Cupressocyparis leilandii (21, 0000. Euros including a watering system)
  • Replace the watering system controllers and existing droppers for professional ones (1,435.00 Euros)
  • Increase the number of trees for more than 100 individual ones within the next 2 years (21,000.00 including a watering system)
  • Build gardens around the current buildings (approx. 8,000.00 Euros)
  • Hire manual labor for general maintenance (4,500.00 Euros per year)
  • Cultivation of organic products, plague control, correction of the soil’s pH levels and the removal of harmful weeds (3,000.00 Euros per year)
  • Construction of an ecological pond to provide water to wild animals (1,000.00 Euros)

IAC Campus & the Oasis Project - Images by Rosalba Teodora (c) 2010 IAC

Click here to read about the Oasis project on our website.

Reduce your carbon footprint!

If you would like to contribute to this endeavor, please contact us via email:

Rosalba Teodora – Oasis Project Coordinator.
Campus IAC
Phone: + 351 26 895 9148
Fax: + 351 26 895 0053

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