Acting zone status analysis. Establishment of protocols.
The main acting zones for this project are 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 slope 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 currently presents very low vegetation cover with sporadic growth of alien species (i.e., fern, bramble, chestnut trees) rather than its natural cloudforest (laurisilva). If this area was left to self-develop, it will not only lead to higher runoff rates but also to hydric cycle disruptions (including underground water systems). It is so, that the planting of 20,000 new trees such as Erica arborea, Laurus novocanariensis and llex canariensis (among many other species proper from this rainforest) and the construction of innovative atmospheric water harvesters is proposed by Life-Nieblas as a self-sourced and environmentally clean method for reforestation which also expects to perform as CO2 emissions reduction and carbon sequestration. Four methods of reforestation will be used in the development of this project:
- Traditional reforestation
- Reforestation by the means of cocoons (a biodegradable, self-contained nurturing system which was developed by a previous project ‘Life Green Link’)
- Wind and herbivores mesh cover for individual plants that will also function as humidity condensers.
- Drip irrigation autonomous system.
Portugal, on the other hand, will follow the same procedures only in two different areas in the territory of CIM Viseu Dão Lafões with Carregal Do Sal (aiming to restore 6ha of forest) classified as Site of Community Importance (SCI) and Vouzela natural landscape .
Both these areas were severely affected by wildfires in 2014 and 2017 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 tourism.