The Extremadura dehesa is a large, well-preserved ecosystem, populated by holm oaks, cork oaks and olive trees, on a carpet of wild grasses, rockrose and rosemary. It is an ecosystem typical of the countries of southern Europe, with special weight in the Iberian Peninsula.
Its origin is in the Mediterranean forests, but it has been shaped by man’s hand by eliminating part of that wooded mass and turning it into a territory that combines agricultural economic activity with forestry and livestock, giving rise to an area with a great biodiversity.
The most widely accepted definition considers the dehesa as a multifunctional livestock or hunting system in which at least 50% of the surface area is occupied by pasture, with acorn-producing trees and a percentage of covered space between 5% and 60%.
From a more restrictive approach, the dehesa would be the area formed only by species of the quercus genus (holm oaks, cork oaks or gall oaks linked to the production of acorns) and would reach 3.5 million hectares in 130 municipalities in Extremadura, Andalusia, Castile and Leon, Castile-La Mancha and Madrid. If other species such as chestnut trees, wild olive trees, strawberry trees, mastic trees or rockroses are also included in the definition of dehesa, the surface area could exceed five million hectares. At present, each autonomous community has its own figures.