Familia Torres introduces animal pasture in the sustainable management of its forests

10 August 2023

After the introduction of herds in the vineyards as a practice of regenerative viticulture, Familia Torres now extends grazing with domesticated animals to their forest farms in Catalonia to keep the forests clean and manage them from a holistic approach. This agroforestry practice called 'silvopasture’ (in Latin, silva means forest) seeks to benefit both the land and the animals, providing organic matter for the soil and a cool and shaded environment for livestock, while serving as a fire prevention mechanism.

Familia Torres, which has more than 1,800 hectares of forest in Catalonia, is introducing silvopasture in its lands located in Alt Camp, Conca de Barberà and Alt Penedès thanks to agreements with shepherds and associations. From now on, the herds, which had only grazed occasionally outside the vineyard, will be introduced in a planned way in forest areas of the estates. In the Alt Camp region, Familia Torres has been collaborating since June with a goat herder and, in the coming months, another external goat herd will be introduced in its forests of the Conca de Barberà.

The family winery also collaborates  with Forest Horses, an association dedicated to the restoration of forests through grazing with horses, to introduce a group of horses on a estate it owns in the Alt Penedès region. During these months, the area is being adapted with the installation of fences and troughs that the animals will need when they arrive in transhumance next autumn. 

The horse is a large gregarious herbivore that grazes for most of the day and lives in herds. They can travel long distances while grazing, this means that in their path they remove the earth and with their feces they spread the seeds they ingest, helping to develop biodiversity while promoting a sustainable cleaning of the mountain. In addition, in the forest equids contribute to the prevention of fires, opening paths that act as natural firebreaks, through areas impassable to humans. That is why, from the association, the animals have been nicknamed "firefighter horses".

With the introduction of grazing with animals, Familia Torres reinforces the sustainable management of the forests that are near its vineyards and that it owns to protect natural areas and biodiversity. These include the reforestation projects carried out by the winery in Catalonia to absorb atmospheric CO2, thus contributing to mitigate the effects of global warming. The family winery preserves these forests, with special attention to fire prevention, through Technical Management Plans for Forest Improvement and specific silvicultural actions in the different estates such as forest thinning, selective felling and training pruning, among others.