Ayuntamiento of Riofrío of Aliste
The Ayuntamiento of Riofrío de Aliste was constituted as a municipality in 1917 to belong to the area of Aliste in the province of Zamora. It has a population of almost 1000 inhabitants and is fighting against a further decrease. Lack of work in the region and poor land are the reason for not being attractive for the young people. The altitude of the land is between 700 and 1200 m above sea level. Therefore the weather conditions can be varying from extreme cold / rain / snow to extreme heat and draught.
The surface of the municipality is 112 sq km of which 1000 hectares are arable land owned by farmers. The number of farmers is decreasing rapidly and the average size is below 20 hectares. There is no possibility of irrigation and there is very low production per hectare. A lot of land is even abandoned.
The Municipality of Riofrío owns at least 1000 hectares that are not used at this moment. Some 50 hectares are certified for growing organic crops. The intention is to grow ancient traditional cereals like a special kind of wheat and also lupins for a better nitrogen supply to the land. On the remaining land there are plans of reforestation. The aim of this reforestation is to create employment for the local people and attract tourism, hunting and other outdoor people.
The reforestation project of the land in the valleys and the mountains is a key project of Riofrío. They get the support of the Junta de Castilla y León with subsidies, technical advice and plants. The results are so promising that, to encourage them, they won the Castilla y León best environment trophy.
Ideally, Riofrío would like to plant varieties of trees with a commercial value for the Municipality. They are thinking of varieties producing wood with a higher value and also dry fruit trees such as almonds and nuts. They have serious doubts if with the traditional planting methods the trees would survive the first year. By experience the extreme weather conditions affect the trees with a high mortality as a result.