Practical Ecology

Nature Switched On





in the Pyrenees  the first 10 years

floristic catalogue
faunistic catalogue
gallery 1: 2006-2012
gallery 2: 2012-2016

First entry weblog:
   2006 Aug 1

Latest entry:
2016 Aug 5










The first years we used this caravan.
Looking north-east
9 Dec. 2006 8:50

                    a   S T A M M E R  project          



- You are watching the old weblog of my Project Nature Switched On. As of July 2018, it continued as a WordPress blog with more in-depth and birdīs eye articles. The pages you are watching now will be maintained as an archive for the first decade of the project. The new weblog can be read here: .
The visual foto presentation I used for the last year can still be watched here.

- March 2017. According to an article in the Heraldo de Aragon, the house is considered as one of the most original ones in Aragon.

- On 13th of February 2017 I gave a talk, in English,  in the Official Language School of Sabiņanigo, Huesca (Spain). A transcript of the talkshow can be read here. It gives a brief overview of most of  my activities on the project over the last 10 years.

- More news items here.

Introduction   from September 2012

This is the story of a terrain (12.000 m2) bought in the Spanish Pre-Pyrenees in the summer of 2006.
It is located at around 650m on the slope of a hill, consisting of 3 or 4 terraces of limestone grasslands lined by hedges of almond trees, brambles and dogwood (to name just a few). The hillside is facing north, compensating a little bit for the poor rainfall in this zone (550mm) and offering beautiful views on the highest peaks of the Pyrenean mountain range. The terrain is surrounded by a cereal field (north, almond orchards (west and east) and a beautiful Mediterranean forest (south) with Quercus and Juniperus species (see Map).











This pond was installed in the centre of the zone in 2007.
Looking west.
28 Oct 2011 9:49



The garden house is made of straw bales.
12 Sep 2012 15:20


Our plan is to live more or less permanently on the terrain, as ecological  and simple as we can 'afford' ourselves. At the moment of writing this update to this introduction (September 2012) we have built a garden house which is supposed to be the test model for a possible bigger dwelling in the future, as well as a compost toilet and a solar shower and have also set up a vegetable garden.

But we are of course equally committed to the rest of the terrain and its surroundings and when discussing our plans and philosophy we have to make one thing clear: the terrain is already a botanical garden. It has been left  untouched for at least a decade creating the astonishing species abundancy of dry and poor chalk grasslands (of the FESTUCO-BROMETEA class; see the floristic catalogue)




Prunella laciniata is typical for dry chalk grasslands.
10 June 2012 11:03



A major inspiration and influence on my ideas about gardening and landscape architecture is Louis G. Le Roy. He puts the emphasis on the process not on the result. In this process of the development of a garden or landscape the influence of the human being should be very modest, equally important is his role as a passive observer and appreciator. In nature (as in life) everything flows and instead of wanting a fixed situation to continue (with a lot of effort like in a traditional ornamental garden) we must let nature go its own way, finding its own solutions in the succession from one stage to another. According to Le Roy the human factor can nevertheless play an important role, especially in the speed of the succession, creating different habitats, planting, sowing and creating in this way the species richness typical for mature succession stages.

The title for this website (Nature Switched On) was partly taken from one of his first and most important books: Natuur uitschakelen - Natuur inschakelen (Switch Nature On or Off). For more information about Le Roy and his ideas, have a look here:


On the terrain ofLeRoy's Ecocathedral in Mildam, the Netherlands.
More photos in my dedicated gallery.
17 Aug 2007 16:11



So we have proposed ourselves the following guidelines:

  • No elaborate plans with dead-lines and the fixation on results

  • Appreciation of and interaction with the present state, favouring improvisation and imagination

  • Protecting the soil (no ploughing or weeding, and covering when necessary)

  • Enriching the vegetation and animal life with planting and sowing of native species and the introduction of elements like ponds, nesting boxes, stone walls etc.

  • Guiding and adjusting part of the vegetation by pruning and mowing, controlling aggressive species like brambles, favouring other species and improving aesthetic qualities.

  • Introducing the human factor. The human being is a biological species like any other and can and will alter their environment. The human influence can be harmful but with some care may also result beneficial for the ecosystem. So our future house will "eat" part of the terrain but special features (green roof, compost toilet) will have enriching effects.

  Looking south-east.
25 Dec 2006 11:25.


In September 2012 I started another design for this website. Formerly these pages were comparable to a weblog, now the accent wil be even more on the photographic content and the presentation will be in the format of a photo gallery, similar to the ones I have developed for my other photo collections. I felt that the mayor issues of starting and maintaining  this Nature Switched On project  are sufficiently outlined in the weblog of the first six years and that continuing the story would run a considerable risk of repetition. Now I will be able to focus more comfortably  on the visual aspect of the matter. Some verbal information will still be present in the form of a short paragraph below the full image on the gallery pages.

The change in presentation coincides happily with a change of camera. The images of the old weblog were made with my Canon PowershotPro 1 camera (a 2004 model with an exceptionally good lens), from now on photos will be made with my new Canon 60D reflex.

The old weblog will of course still  be available here and also via the navigation buttons ('choose month') on the gallery page.

The new presentation with its focus on the visual and the chronology will help to experience the project as a real process, a voyage without end. We hope you will enjoy it and that it will stimulate you to switch on nature in your own 'zone' and perhaps also to interact with this project. Feel free to offer your suggestions, ideas and questions.

In the menu at the top and bottom left corner you can navigate through this site. The 'introduction' is what you are reading now, the 'floristic and faunistic catalogues' refer to a list of  species (in 3 languages) found on the terrain, with photographs taken on different dates and  some information about abundance and distribution. The 'contact' button will give you the opportunity to get in touch with us via e-mail. The 'index'  button offers a quick access tool to different dates and topics treated in the weblog. The 'map' refers to a collection of  systematic images of the terrain with the main features. The 'gallery 1' refers to the old style gallery with all the images of the weblog up to May 2012 in chronological order, while 'gallery 2' leads you to the new style gallery with photos and commentaries from September 2012 onwards. The 'first and last entry' buttons give access to all the entries from the beginning in 2006 up to the present.

A version in Spanish can be read here.

Andreas Brons, September 2012



The area of the ponds.
Looking east.
2 Sep 2012

  The important 'choose month' navigation button on the gallery pages.

floristic catalogue
faunistic catalogue
gallery 1: 2006-2012
gallery 2: 2012-2016

First entry:
   2006 Aug 1

Latest entry:
2016 Aug 5    








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Latest revision on:  25/05/2019