On the occasion of the World Expo in 1992 in Sevilla, Hans Gerd Neglein, General Commissioner for the German Participation together with Adena WWF Spain and the Andalusian Bureau for Nature and Environmental Conservation established a foundation (Donana Foundation) whose purpose it was to preserve the resting and nesting areas for migrating European birds.
Doñana, the area which is the tributary of the Guadalquivir River where it meets the Atlantic Ocean, also known as the “largest European bird airport” represents the beginning of a story which centres on the preservation of the Andalusian ecosystem. Concern for the varied and important natural ecosystems of the area lead to a conviction that in addition to conservation of the natural areas, the other important issue was the co-existence of man and nature in this sensitive region.
That issue which, in 1992 Rio de Janeiro as “sustainable development” was discussed, was to have practical applications in Andalusia. This new venture of combining sustainable development practices with the ecological development of a landscape, the Dehesa, had started!
The original founders and other interested parties contributed funds to the foundation which were used to purchase the ranch, barn, outbuildings, and agricultural lands and to establish the necessary infrastructure. As a result, the operation would be able to support itself.
The philosophy behind the methods of operation of the Dehesa ecosystem is “sustainability” which means that traditional methods were to be used to generate profits from farming, raising of livestock and forestry. At the same time, those methods are designed and used to maintain and heighten the production quotas to make the best use of the potential of the resources available.
Besides the agro-eco activities, the Foundation does intense educational and training work, research, realizes rural development as well as international projects and markets its own products.
The foundation was entered into the public domain via the BOJA, no 40 on March 26, 1994. It is registered under the number HU 521 [before A 26/S.E.15] in the state register of Andalusia.
The foundation supervisory authority has oversight of the activities as well as the finances of the foundation.