Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

The Agricultural System Ancient Olive Trees Territorio Sénia


The existence of 5.000 ancient olive trees is what turns this territory into a unique area in the world, with a lot of opportunities to be explored: recovery of abandoned ancient olive trees and to put them into production, a bigger cooperation between economic sectors, olive oils, oleotoursim, among others.

Regarding the varieties of olives in the area, the predominant ones are “Farga”, “Morruda”, “Sevillenca” and “Empeltre”. All of them are traditional, rain fed and deeply rooted in the area. The first three varieties are very hard to find in other regions outside the three provincial councils. Therefore, due to the positive characteristics of their olive oils, it is important to protect these varieties together with the ancient olive trees to develop projects in the future.

The olive oil is the product obtained from the olive fruits: the olives. Apart from its great nutritional properties, studies have demonstrated its healthy values and it is also one of the pillars of the Mediterranean diet.

The Agricultural System Ancient Olive Trees of the Territorio Sénia contributes to the Objectives of Sustainable Development (ODS) of 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development of United Nations. Among the 17 ODS, the 11 ones that are directly related are:

SDG1: The Agricultural System Ancient Olive Trees creates employment, makes little exploitations more efficient and profitable, promotes economic diversification to non-agricultural activities (trade, tourism).

 SDG2: It is based on the production of a healthy food (olive oil) and, at the same time, it generates income gains in the area. It is a system based on the population’s life improvement within the territory, especially farmers, while protecting environment as well.

SDG3: The extra virgin olive oil has many beneficious properties for health. It cointains great quantities of monounsaturated fats and the oleic acid sgnificantly reduces the risk of coronary heart diseases. Moreover, it contains antioxidants and vitamin E that reduce cholesterol, fight free radicals and prevent ageing.

The Agricultural System also contributes to SDG5, SDG8, SDG9, SDG10, SDG12, SDG13, SDG15, SDG16 (for more details, please consult the proposal document downloadable from the section “Annex”).

It is also relevant to FAO’s Strategic Framework:

SP1: The agricultural system of ancient olive trees is based mainly on the active participation of the population, the diversification of incomes, the conservation of the landscape and traditional varieties and a better management of the inputs.

SP2: It is a transversal agricultural system that involves many economic sectors of the territory, which makes it an integrating, efficient and sustainable system. It also ensures the preservation of a cultural landscape molded over the centuries and the survival of a large concentration of ancient olive trees, together with the knowledge of traditional agricultural practices and productive structures of cultural value, such as terraces, buildings, etc.

SP3: The agricultural system Ancient Olive trees generates employment, contributes to making small farms more efficient and profitable, encourages economic diversification towards non-agricultural activities (commerce, tourism). All this represents higher income in rural areas and a good tool to fight depopulation.