We Define Practices to Safeguard Biodiversity in Olive Farms.

All human activity comes with competition with other forms of life to secure resources and natural habitat.

Well, it does not need to be like that. See how our family creates practices to turn our olive farm into an olive forest that allows all life to bloom.

Olive Farms as an Ecosystem

750,000,000 olive trees are cultivated in an area of 10,650,000 hectares. We can either turn this land mass into a natural habitat for thousands of species, or keep it imbalanced and vulnerable to desertification. The choice is ours. Time is ticking.

Is Olive Oil Sustainable?

Not by default. While olive oil production is not outright unsustainable, like palm oil production can be, the dominant olive farming model still rips olive farms from the potential of acting as biodiversity strongholds.

What Do We Do About It?

Below you can find information about how our family adjusts cultivation and harvesting practices to ensure biological synergies with all beneficial and non-target species. We hope that more olive farmers will follow our example in the years to come.

Olive Farming & Birds

Bird Death and Nest Destruction

It is common for various types of birds to take shelter in olive trees. They build nests, like the one you see in the picture, where they rest and nurture their hatchlings. It is known that irresponsible pruning and harvesting can damage the natural habitats of birds, and even kills 2.5 million of them every year.

Mindful Pruning & Harvesting

Thankfully, it is unusual for Greek olive farmers to harvest during the night. This is a big part of why bird deaths are not a common byproduct of Greek olive oil production. However, this does not guarantee that birds’ natural habitats won’t be lost. To guarantee this, our family carefully inspects trees for bird nests before pruning and harvesting. We never prune or harvest branches  or even trees, if the nest is populated  that have bird nests on them.

Olive Farming & Reptiles

Accidental & Intentional Reptile Killings

Our overall area is home to 5-10 snake species and only the viper is poisonous and thus potentially dangerous. Due to limited knowledge, it is very common for olive farmers to intentionally kill snakes. The view of a snake can cause a fight-or-flight response that makes it easier for farmers to kill the snake than take any chances. In addition, significant tortoise populations are accidentally killed during the annual weed chopping and branch burning.

Proactive Reptile Monitoring

To avoid potentially dangerous encounters and accidental harm to reptiles, our family keeps a diary that covers the area, date and species of each encounter. We know were our serpent friends are and make sure to be careful when around them. For example, upon viper encounter we abandon the specific area of the olive farm for the day and move on to another. As predators, snakes move around a lot. In occassions where we really need to attend to a specific area, we make sure to warn snakes through intentional stomps and overall commotion. They want an encounter as much as we do. Finally, we do not use large equipment that can cause accidental tortoise killings, we inspect the area before attending to it and we do not burn any prunnings in our estate, since we use a shredder. 

Olive Farming & Big Game

Wild Boars Lose Natural Habitat

Wild boars are the largest wild animals in our area. Over the last decades their natural habitat has been heaviliy restricted. As a result, it is common for them to dig up olive tree roots to find food. This can negatively affect tree’s ability to absorb nutrients and in some extreme cases it can harm the mechanical stability of the tree. For this reason, some olive farmers allow hunting and even traps to be set up by hunters in their olive farms. 

Nature Balances Herself

While we have experienced this phenomenon quite a few times, we haven’t really observed any problems with our trees. As a result, we choose to not interfere and let wild boars dig around. In some cases, this can turn out to be a benefit. The cracks and holes wild boars create, are great spots to add compost so that the trees can directly absorb it and not compete with surface vegetation.

Olive Farming & Insects

Insect Populations Decline Worldwide

You can find all sorts of insects in our olive farm. A few are well-known enemies of the olive tree and we try to restrict them as much as possible. Most of them are beneficial and non-targets. Typically, olive farmers do not have access to real-time monitoring equipment and know-how. Therefore, they cannot utilize precision farming to minimize interference. This results to extreme imbalances and decline of insect populations.

Precision Farming & Biodiversity Boosting

Thanks to NOVATERRA project, our family has now the ability to proceed with practices that allow insect populations to be balanced again. We do not harm non-target species, and we even boost insect diversity with floral margins. This benefits us too, since the increased diversity results to smaller pathogoen populations.

Help Us Change Olive Farming

By choosing our family as your personal olive oil producer, you get more than one of the most healthful and tasty olive oils out there. You help create a new agricultural paradigm that is compatible with the future we all wish for.

Welcome to our family.