Dehesa – Forest of the Iberian Lynx
by Joaquín Gutiérrez Acha
A rather unique forest is found in the Iberian Peninsula, on which occupies nearly a third of the wooded area and whose biodiversity of landscape is truly extraordinary. The name given to this cleared Mediterranean forest is Dehesa and its distinct ecosystem cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Hundreds of years ago, medieval society lived surrounded by forests. But small towns and villages were frequently attacked. To avoid these ambushes, people decided to do away with parts of the forest so they culled many of its trees and eradicated its brush. The name Dehesa appears to have come from the clearing of th eforest as defense. The Dehesa model slowly made its way to many other areas of the Iberian Peninsula and the oak, cork and gall oak trees helped shape a distinctly Iberian forest, known for balancing its livestock, farming and forestry with its wildlife to perfection.