Acting zone status analysis. Establishment of protocols.
The main acting zones for this project have been planned for Gran Canaria and Portugal. The former area is located in Barranco de la Virgen, Valleseco in Gran Canaria with an area comprising some 35.8ha. The selected landscape is partially located under ZEC ES7010038 (from its Spanish acronym Special Area of Conservation) being part of Natura 2000 Network and also within priority habitat 4050 ‘Macaronesian Heaths’. The area is found with very low vegetation cover, some sporadic growth of alien species (i.e., fern, bramble, chestnut trees) rather than its natural xeric Laurisilva forest. Leaving this area to self-develop, will not only lead to higher runoff rates but also to water cycle disruptions (including underground water systems) posing higher risk for the spread of wildfire. Out of the 20,000 new trees to be planted in Gran Canaria, almost 9,000 have already been planted. Species include; Erica arborea, Laurus novocanariensis and Ilex canariensis (along eight other species proper from this landscape). Find out more in Action-C2.
Portugal, on the other hand, follows the same procedures implemented in Gran Canaria. However, our Portuguese partners from CIM Viseu Dão Lafões develop their reforestation activities at two sites; Carregal Do Sal PTON0016 (6ha within a Site of Community Importance, SCI) and Vouzela (4ha) classified natural landscape where Life Nieblas aims to restore a oak forest (i.e Quecus rober, Quercus pyrenaica). At these two locations, plan is to plant 5,000 trees from which 2,500 have already been planted (see Action-C2).
Four reforestation methods are being implemented in the development of this project; Traditional reforestation (control groups) and three additional innovative methods which offer a more efficient and cleaner solution to reforestation activities:
- Cocoons (a biodegradable, self-contained nurturing system which was developed by a previous project ‘Life Green Link’)
- Individual Fog Water Collectors (IFWC) wind and herbivores protection mesh for individual plants that function as atmospheric humidity collectors.
- Autonomous Discharge System (AFDS). This last one is only taking place in Gran Canaria due to testing phase of the prototype and transport logistics at present.
Another reason for technicians to choose these particular locations in Portugal and Gran Canaria is their fog affection. At Life Nieblas we are not only concerned with habitat restoration actions. We also intend to contribute to the mitigation of the effects of climate change and the reduction of CO2e emissions. Our team from ICIA and ULL have designed and built an ‘innovative Fog Water Collectors (i-FWC)’ as an environmentally clean method of water collection for reforestation works in areas of difficult accessibility (find out more in Action-C1).
Both these areas were severely affected by wildfires during 2014-2019 with no restoration action undertaken ever since. The current ecological status of these sites is predominately established by pioneer growth of shrubs and wildflowers. Additionally, common pressures exerted over these areas include, non-selective logging, commercial wood-land plantations, excessive water extraction and anthropological pressure.
Our Environmental Technician introduces the project in the action area at El Andén, Gran Canaria
Field work begins!
Today we talk to Mila, one of our specialist field workers. We hear more about her role and the acting zone in Gran Canaria