Life sabina teix pi negre

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Life sabina teix pi negre

  1. 1. LIFE PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND INCREASING APPRECIATION OF THREE HIGH MOUNTAIN HABITATS (LIFE03NAT/E/000064) CONSERVATION ON YEW, SPANISHJUNIPER AND BLACK PINE FOREST IN THE VALENCIAN REGION (2004 - 2006)
  2. 2. SUMMARY Actions carried out during the LIFE project The project has been executed by the: Management and Increasing Appreciation of Three High Mountain Priority Habitats from 2004 Conselleria de Territorio y Vivienda to 2006 have contributed to the conservation de la Generalitat Valenciana of yew, spanish juniper and black pine Servicio de Conservación de la forests in five SCIs of the Natura 2000 network Biodiversidad of the Valencian region: Alt Maestrat, C/ Francesc Cubells, 7 Penyagolosa, Puebla de San Miguel, Aitana- 46011 VALÈNCIA Serrella-Puig Campana and Mariola-Font Roja. phone nº.34 - 961973500 The project has been co-financed by the www.lifemuntanya.com European Commission and the Generalitat Valenciana (regional government of Valencia, Project duration: from january 1st to december Spain) and has undertaken the following actions: 31 2006 Budget: 1.317.000 € Financed on a 40% basis by the European · Reinforcement of populations of the Commission and 60% by the Generalitat main species that characterise the habitats Valenciana trough the plantation of thousands of seedlings, the restoration of the best examples of veteran trees and the eradication of invasive species. · Encouragement of the involvement of local society in the conservation of habitats, and promotion of new sustainable ways to exploit natural resources through seminars, lectures, exhibition and dissemination materials. · Dissemination of the natural values of high mountain habitats, through the establishment of ecoeducative paths, the onset of didactic programmes for schoolchildren and adults and the design of a webpage: www.lifemuntanya.com 1
  3. 3. THE PROBLEM Yew, Juniper and Black pine forests are three priority habitats which only cover a small surface in the highest inland mountains of the Valencian region (Spain). In a good number of the sites where yew trees as well as mountain and Spanish junipers occur, they grow as isolated adult specimens and produce few fertile propagules with a low germination success. Additionally, massive dieback of mountain junipers owing to pests or poorly known diseases has also been observed. These facts jeopardy the long term survival of these rare habitats within our territory. An additional conservation issue is posed by veteran specimens of the trees that characterise the different habitats, which require maintenance works so as to stem their decay and guarantee their survival. Last but not least there are localised invasions by exotic species in the three habitats that have to be eliminated in order to prevent their future spread. As to what regards the social component of habitat conservation, mountain villages in the vicinity of project areas are badly affected by depopulation. Consequently, a dramatic reduction in human activities which played an important role in habitat conservation has taken place during the last decades, resulting increased fire hazard and soil erosion. Finally, the poor knowledge of the natural values of high mountain Valencian habitats by an urban society increasingly detached from the rural environment poses an additional risk for their conservation. This risk is compounded by an increase in the pressure of visitors from urban areas to rural environments in quest of outdoor activities. Thus, there is an urgent need to disseminate the natural values of high mountain environments among potential visitors so as to make them aware of their natural heritage, its value and its conservation needs. 2
  4. 4. HOW TO TACKLE THE PROBLEMS? There is a need for a deeper scientific understanding of: - the actual status of yew tree and Spanish juniper forests - the optimisation of yew tree seed germination - the underlying causes for the dieback of mountain junipers - the state of conservation and the number of veteran tree specimens To improve the conservation status of the three high mountain habitats, thousands of saplings and seedlings of the species that characterise their plant communities have been planted. These young plants have been mostly reared in the nurseries within project areas so as to attain to goals: on the one hand to acclimatise plants to their future habitats and on the other to allow local population to identify this activities as a potential sustainable resource. Conservation and dissemination of the best examples of veteran trees of the three habitats, in addition to the intrinsic value of each specimen, serves as an important means to increase public awareness on the value of each of these habitats. The low regeneration rate observed in the three high mountain habitats might be an outcome of a low rate of visits made by animal dispersers. Therefore plantation of fruit bearing plant species and installation of self supplying small watering troughs has been undertaken in order to attract potential dispersers. Additionally, ecological beehives – from which honey is not extracted - have been placed at strategic places to favour pollination and ultimately propagule production. As a means to ensure conservation of high mountain habitats propagules of characteristic plant species have been stored in germplasm banks. The three high mountain habitats offer potential economic resources to the rural population that have to be exploited in a sustainable way so as to achieve a twofold goal: their conservation and the reversal of the depopulation trend that has taken place during the last decade. Several seminars have been organized so as to focus local entrepreneurs on opportunities for sustainable activities. Aware of the fact that in order to preserve the natural environment it is essential to know it an important effort has been made during the project to disseminate natural values of yew, Spanish juniper and black pine forests. To achieve this goal several materials have been published, among which posters, cards within a holder, calendars, a web page, didactic units, a cartographic tool for yews, several exhibitions, television documentaries as well as installation of informative boards in ecoeducative paths and veteran trees. 3
  5. 5. THE RESULTS: ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIOECONOMIC BENEFITS · Demographic analysis of yew tree populations. The 5 SCI where works have been performed during the project have been thoroughly sampled. Yew trees have been counted, characterised and localised by means of gps. 6451 specimens within the five SCIs have been located, which represents a seven-fold increase in the number of trees with regard to previous data for the whole territory of the Valencian region. The largest increase has corresponded to the SCI Penyagolosa. In view of these results, a thorough search of potential habitats for yew in the rest of the Castellon province is urgently required, in order to establish in a scientifically sound manner the status of this vulnerable species in our region. · The Valencian institute for agronomic research (IVIA) has established the micropropagation protocol for yew tree embryos. This technique has allowed to cut down the dormancy of yew seeds from 2-3 years to 1-3 months. Therefore this technique can be used to accelerate the production of yew saplings. · The University of Valencia has undertaken the genetic characterization of yew tree populations within the Valencian region. The main outcome of this study is that there are two distinct genetic areas within the Valencian region, the Iberic area (Castellon and north of Valencia province) and the Baetic area (Alicante and south of Valencia province). 4
  6. 6. THE RESULTS: ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIOECONOMIC BENEFITS · The Botanical Garden of the University of Valencia has collected 195 lots of seeds of the most characteristic plants of high mountain habitats, and they have been stored in the germplasm bank of the Generalitat Valenciana and the Botanical Garden. . · Up to 21.000 seedlings of 23 species have been planted to improve the conservation state of habitats and favour their natural regeneration. The species that have been planted are preferably those that produce fruits that are eaten by dispersers. · Eradication of invasive species such as Robinia pseudoacacia that threatened to colonise one of the best yew formations of the Alicante province has been successfully accomplished. Robinia trees were felled and their stumps immediately smeared with glyphosate to prevent resprouting. In the Pegunta ravine, specimens of the non-native poplar Populus nigra x Canadensis have been also felled, and its trunks have been used to make troughs. 5
  7. 7. THE RESULTS: ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIOECONOMIC BENEFITS · Bee hives have · Phytosanitary been installed in the Teixera study of Junipers. d’Agres (Mariola) and Tr o p o s p h e r i c o z o n e Cañada Jorge ravine concentrations have been (Puebla de San Miguel) in measured and insects as order to increase the well as fungi present on pollination of high badly affected or dead mountain plant species. specimens of Junipers studied. The main conclusion of this study is that Juniper dieback cannot be attributed to a single agent. Therefore the solution to this serious conservation issue is not straightforward and more research needs to be done. · Troughs have also been installed so as to attract animal species that play an important role in dispersing plant species. 6
  8. 8. THE RESULTS: ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIOECONOMIC BENEFITS · For the study of the evolution of vegetation and other experimental works 750 metres of fences to exclude cattles and large wild herbivores have been installed. Fenced surface amounts to 19.280 m2 in Puebla de San Miguel and Benifato (Aitana). · Urgent restoration and maintenance works have been carried out on 15 veteran trees. · Veteran trees have been inventoried and informative panels have been set up for didactic use. Additionally, 8 paths have been fitted with informative boards describing the flora and the different habitats encountered along the trail as well as traditions and lore. The aim of these infrastructures is twofold: on the one hand to promote knowledge of the natural environment and on the other to attract visitors to these areas which ultimately will benefit local hostelry. 7
  9. 9. THE RESULTS: ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIOECONOMIC BENEFITS · Abundant dissemination material – such as posters, calendars, cards, brochures - has been distributed so as to inform local inhabitants and visitors of the environmental value and the cultural heritage of high mountain areas. Additionally, 2.500 plants of each of 6 aromatic plant species - 15.000 in total - native to the mountain areas dealt with in the project have been reared locally and complementarily distributed to visitors and local inhabitants. · Seminars and conferences on the NATURA 2000 network, the project itself and the natural values of the 5 SCIs as well as sustainable development of agricultural and tourism activities have been organised. · Three books offering didactic resources to school teachers for activities revolving around the habitats dealt with in the project have been written and published. School boys have also participated in a good number of afforestations. 8
  10. 10. THE RESULTS: ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIOECONOMIC BENEFITS · An exhibition of plant drawings made by a local artist has been circulated during the project lifetime. Guided field trips have been also organised in some villages for the general public but also for university students. · The international workshop on the yew tree and yew forests of the western Mediterranean was organised in cooperation with a local bank – Caja de ahorros del Mediterráneo – and the Spanish Ministry of Environment. The list of participants included representatives of all Spanish regions where yews grow as well as Portugal, France and Italy. The conclusions have been published as a book. · Two television documentaries have been produced for the local television (Canal 9 y Punt 2) for the shows “Europa al dia” and “Medi Ambient”, so as to disseminate the aims of the project and encourage local entrepreneurs. Several interviews on the radio dealing with project have also been made (Radio Els Ports, Cadena SER-Castellón, Samaruc programme Radio 9). · The old nursery of Penyagolosa has been rehabilitated and used during the project for the acclimatisation of saplings before their introduction in high mountain habitats. After the project the nursery will be part of the natural park facilities. Additionally, a new greenhouse has be installed in the natural park of Font Roja in Alicante. 9

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