Andalucía/Murcia - Spain


Regenerative future in the Altiplano Estepario

Maikel Lara on his farm Drone Gabriela Hengeveld 8

In the semi-arid steppe Altiplano Estepario in Southern Spain, Commonland mobilizes local farmers, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders and embarked on an ambitious large-scale dryland restoration initiative to halt desertification and erosion and bring back prosperity using Commonland’s 4 Returns framework.

Creating a more regenerative future in the Altiplano Estepario, Spain


By 2034, the AlVelAl Territory is a regenerative landscape where nature and agriculture are in balance. An ecological corridor connects the region’s mountain ranges. Farms with both natural and productive lands form a mosaic of biodiversity hotspots, which act as stepping zones between natural areas. Rural abandonment is reversed as young people return and find new opportunities. The area continues to regenerate, led by a group of diverse, inspired local stakeholders.

Commonland Altiplano Spain
Cristóbal and David, father and son, run a family-owned extra virgin olive oil brand in the territory.
“If we want to keep farming into the future, it needs to be done regeneratively. Every year we grow more and better: what we’re doing is the future of agriculture.” Maikel Lara Local Farmer within the AlVelAl territory


  • Water scarcity
  • Extreme climate conditions
  • Desertification, leading to soil erosion, and the degradation of fertile land and forests
  • De-population – young people leaving due to economic uncertainty and cultural factors
Miguel Ángel Gómez harvesting almonds Drone Gabriela Hengeveld 1
Almendrehsa almonds Gabriela Hengeveld 34
Farming regenerative almonds for Almendrehesa provides farmers with a premium price.


  • Restore 25,000 ha of natural corridors to connect natural parks
  • Grow from 3 to 9 regenerative business cases by 2050
  • Support the transition of 600 existing businesses
  • Carbon project (to benefit local community) in pre-feasibility phase
  • Projects to enable further restoration, such as a seed bank, a regenerative learning alliance, a machine bank, and others.


Pioneers in transformative restoration through the 4 Returns approach.

Commonland Altiplano Estepario, Spain

The Altiplano Estepario spans five districts at the intersection of Almería, Murcia and Granada, three provinces belonging to Spain’s southernmost region, Andalucía. It is a semi-arid steppe (a large area of flat unforested grassland) and transition zone between desert and Mediterranean forest. In this landscape, water has always been scarce. Despite these conditions, the area has been home to human settlements for centuries. The economy today is mainly based on agriculture. However, desertification and extreme climate conditions, combined with unsustainable land management practices that have reduced local biodiversity and climate resilience, make the AlVelAl Territory a challenging landscape for local communities.


We are an Association that unites farmers, livestock breeders, businessmen from various sectors, traders, researchers from universities and other institutions, as well as citizens with the same concern and vision for the future: to improve socio-economic, environmental and cultural conditions; to face current threats such as depopulation, desertification and lack of opportunities. In short, to build a more prosperous future for our land. Our goal is to restore the landscape by creating business cases that add value to local products and generate sustainable employment. At AlVelAl we are committed to positive change and the cohesion of territories with common historical and cultural roots such as the Altiplano de Granada, Los Vélez, the Alto Almanzora Noroeste de Murcia and Guadix.