Execution of traditional and innovative reforestation
Reforestation development has been constantly pushed for since autumn 2021. Actual reforestation takes place from October to March every year. However, preparation tasks, maintenance, irrigation and further land development is undertaken throughout the year (i.e. construction, terrain adaptation, courses, etc.).
Action C2 envelopes a wide spectrum of implementation actions, from installation of fog water collectors, to nursery assistance and landscape management, this action began at the start of the project in January 2021 and will be completed by December 2024.
Traditional Fog Water Collectors (FWC):
Life Nieblas has installed 15 FWC in April 2021 in Gran Canaria. These collectors were connected to a general distribution pipeline network that would discharge into general storage water tanks. The traditional design of these collectors makes them really resistant to high wind speeds (up to 100km/h sustained winds). However, in order to be sturdy, they become heavy structures with the requirement for concrete foundations. The total weight of one FWC is 400Kg on top of a 2m3 concrete foundation per collector; they are 4m high and 2m in depth. FWCs use around 42m2 PE meshes (3x3mm shading). Depending of the location of such device, its transportation and installation could pose a significant challenge. It took 6 labourers a total of 16 days to mount and install 15 FWCs at El Pinillo (Gran Canaria).
In total, FWCs have collected 77,117L since April 2021 up until February 2023. By reading Action-D.4 – ‘Monitoring and evaluation of the equipment execution and results’ report, seasonality tendency in water collection, is observed. Additionally, yearly meteorological variations are also suggested. Nevertheless, further data gathering will better help understand the full impact of such deviations in relation to the collector’s efficiency.
In Portugal, Life Nieblas has installed 3 FWCs at Carregal do Sal and 2 FWCs at Vouzela. The proportion of collectors compared to Gran Canarias’ 15 structures directly relates to reforestation objectives in terms of trees planted (20,000 in Gran Canaria against 4,300 in Portugal).
The Specialised Field Workers team (SFW) have provided their assistance in several occasions to local nurseries with the aim of improving seeds and seedlings count for future reforestation activities. Particularly during the first year of project (2021/22) the SFW team in Gran Canaria, collected thousands of seeds and seedlings. They have also assisted in replication activities, maintenance and irrigation tasks within nurseries greenhouses. All plants area sourced from local nurseries managed by Cabildo de Gran Canaria. Species considered and reforested in Gran Canaria can be seen in the flowing table. This species selection not only fits the ecological niche for El Pinillo (xeric Laurisilva) but also complies with Annex I of the Habitat European Directive under Natura 2000 Network protected landscape.
S/N Scientific Name
1 Erica canariensis
2 Laurus novocanariensis
3 Ilex canariensis
4 Myrica faya
5 Picconia excelsa
6 Apollonias barbujana
7 Visnea mocanera
8 Arbutus canariensis
9 Bencomia caudata
10 Viburnum rigidum
11 Maytenus canariensis
12 Echium callithyrsum
13 Persea indica
14 Juniperus cedrus
Moreover and following same EU Directive, species planted in Portugal include the following. In Portugal, seedlings have been provided by Conservation of Nature and Forest (ICNF, from its Portuguese acronym) a public body involved in habitat restoration in Portugal.
S/N Scientific Name
1 Quercus pyrenaica
2 Quercus robur
3 Quercus suber
Out of 30ha planned to be reforested in Gran Canaria, Life Nieblas has already planted 16ha from which Individual Fog Water Collector (IFWC) take 4.20ha, Traditional (TR) 4.5ha, Cocoon (CCN) 3 and Autonomous Discharge System (AFDS) 2ha. The 2.37ha remaining are part of road infrastructure, existing woodland and inaccessible terrain. From a total of 9611 trees; 3823 have been planted using IFWC, 1257 on AFDS system, 3006 under TR method and 1525 trees have been reforested by means of CCN.
On the other hand Portugal has planted their proposed area by Feb 2023 (10ha total) of which 6ha correspond to Carregal do Sal and 4ha to Vouzela. In total 2580 trees have been planted in Carregal do Sal and 1728 trees in Vouzela.
Innovative FWC (i-FWC):
The innovative collector design has been developed by Life Nieblas’ partner ICIA. This prototype which is now being tested at the field has a number of characteristics that would make it more accessible than traditional designs. Main objectives during development phases focus in making the i-FWC cheaper to buy and easier to transport and install with no heavy foundations required. Additionally and most importantly, this design should be significantly more efficient than traditional designs in terms of water yielding capacity.
From September 2022 (installation date) until February 2023, i-FWC prototypes are suggesting to be significantly more efficient than its traditional design counterpart with 458L/m2 (4324L total) collected within a total impact surface of 9.45m2. Additionally, the team is testing a different type of fog collection mesh (volumetric mesh) which is also providing higher efficiency data than traditional designs. A total of 2710L which results in 313L/m2 over 8m2 impact surface. When analysing the same water collection period as i-FWC, traditional collectors show a much lower water capture capability by m2; Total collected water Sep 22-Feb 23 = 73190L with a total impact surface of 88m2, derives into 252L/m2.
Our team has started with some reforestation activities a few days ago.
They tell us about the importance of fog water condensation and what the individual collectors do for the plants.
Eli, Nursery Supervisor, has kindly talked to Life-Nieblas and explained why her nursery is essential in the survival of our forest. She tells us about two different methods of tree replication: seed germination and wild seedling picking. This delicate yet relevant job, can draw the difference between a successful or unsuccessful reforestation plan. Osorio Nursery is one of the two nurseries in Gran Canaria helping Life-Nieblas to get the trees they need to plant 36ha of bare ground
Today we talk to Mila, one of our specialist field workers. We hear more about her role and the acting zone in Gran Canaria
Seedling selection and nursery stock-up is a highly important part of the reforestation process. Our specialised team, works meticulously to only find the healthiest individuals that will become our forest of the future. They have an excellent ecology knowledge of our native species, where, how and when to get them is essential when replicating seeedlings at the nursery greenhouses.
Our colleagues in Portugal are taking actions to recover their habitats and so they have taken in partners' role as first replicators of Life-Nieblas' project in an international scale. this collaboration brings to light the necessity of a global action when tackling environmental change issues. We will work together towards a greener and more sustainable future!!