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Accepted Paper:

Territorial care and dry-stone microclimates in the Guadarrama Mountains  
Ion Fernández de las Heras (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC))

Paper short abstract:

The dry-stone walling infrastructures of the Guadarrama Mountains are related to diffuse processes of care and territorial custody capable of shaping unexpected microclimatic situations and complex more-than-human entanglements.

Paper long abstract:

I will discuss certain human-atmospheric entanglements expressed by a socio-ecological cycle characteristic of the territorial dry-stone infrastructures in the Guadarrama Mountains (Segovia, Spain).

The dry-stone walling enclosures are based on placing and balancing stones (previously accumulated as residues from agricultural fields) without the use of mortar. These are both collective and private infrastructures, and they are highly flexible and permeable. Flexible, because anyone (human and more-than-human) can easily intervene by adding or removing stones. Permeable, because the open joints (between the stones) allow the passage of all kinds of flows (such as water and wind) and beings (roots, invertebrates, reptiles, rodents, etc.). Moreover, moisture tends to accumulate constantly in the shady and ventilated cavities, which contributes to the reduction of the ambient temperature and to colonisation by lichens, mosses, and seeds. In this dialectic, the anthropic gaps become more-than-human habitats, and the vegetation (thorny hedgerows in many cases) is part of the human function of enclosure. Once colonized, the enclosures form ecological corridors of enormous biodiversity, as well as extensive and resilient agro-silvopastoral 'bocage' systems. These dry-stone systems have demonstrated the ability to create their own microclimatic conditions, offering a method to counteract the local atmospheric impacts of global warming.

All this, however, depends on a subtle exercise of collective territorial care and custody by the local population. Maintaining enclosures (both one's own and others') requires a daily ethical commitment: rebuilding the walls time and again, but also allowing the vegetation to grow and adapt.

Panel P015
Towards Atmospheric Care: Undoing Environmental Violence, Experimenting With Ecologies Of Support [Colleex Network]
  Session 1