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Field notes: Lessons from Tamera and Water

Increased Resilience Against Fire

“If only you could see the picture of abundance, the potential of paradise that I see.” These are the words spoken by the renowned permaculturist and regenerative land designer, Sepp Holzer, when he first visited the community of Tamera in southern Portugal in 2007.

A swimming pond at Tamera: a place to connect with the water retention landscape

There was no question to Sepp that this dry, arid farmland could be collaborated with to have enough water, food, and energy to support a community of 300 people.

By working with the vision of this potential paradise, the natural patterns of water, and some earth moving equipment to create water-retaining dams and ditches, Tamera now offers a highly diverse ecosystem that not only allows the people who live and visit here to thrive but also support an ever-increasing amount of biodiversity.

Just 11 years after Sepp’s first visit, a system of 24 ponds have helped create a lush environment boasting many fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and swimming havens that aid against the scorching summers typical of this region.

Bernd Mueller, from Tamera's Global Ecology Institute

Another key role of the cooperative approach to water management that has been integrated at Tamera is the benefit of increased resilience against fire. While a fire could still devastate the structures and immediate landscape, the recharged groundwater and healthy trees would prove much stronger in recovering than areas where water has not had the chance to soak into the land through ponds and swales, recharging the earth body.

This summer, countries like Norway and England who typically aren’t impacted by forest fires are seeing a new threat to their communities. At the same time, Greece and California are burning out of control.

The wisdom which Tamera has adopted of working with water and the land could be a great lesson to places all around the world.

For more information check out Tamera’s web site:


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Otieno Maurice

    Those of us who have been empowered with the eyes to ‘see the picture of abundance, the potential of paradise’ like Sepp Holzer saw in the community of Tamera in Southern Portugal in 2007 should take lead in building capacities and establishing mechanisms of transforming such areas to readily provide water, food and energy.
    We have to be able to train other eyes to see ‘ lush environments boasting many fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and swimming havens’ instead of dust and erosion gullies that the local untrained eyes see and think is the norm.

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