LIFE Project Cover Photo

Recovery of the littoral sand dunes with Juniper spp in Valencia

Reference: LIFE04 NAT/ES/000044 | Acronym: Enebro Valencia

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

On the eastern Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula, the Albufera de Valencia Natural Park is one of the last sites hosting a well preserved dune system. With chains of shifting and stabilised dunes, it is a natural barrier between a shallow lagoon and the adjacent sea. The most representative plant species on stabilised dunes and pre-forest vegetation is the sea juniper, Juniperus oxycedrus subsp. macrocarpa. Junipers are dioecious, ie. individual juniper trees are either male or female.

For decades, the main threat to the site has been urban pressure. Some of the negative effects of the urban development that affected the site during the period 1960–1970 have been reversed thanks to a previous LIFE Nature project (LIFE00 NAT/E/007339) on the site. But action was still needed to help recover the second chain of sand dunes, reverse the degradation of plant formations and reintroduce important habitat features, such as temporary pools. Today, the main problem is the high visitor pressure on those areas with natural vegetation, including both circulation of thousands of vehicles and excessive trampling.


OBJECTIVES

The LIFE project was established with aims to recover 55 hectares of sand dunes, including the sea juniper habitat and also restore a large network of temporary ponds. This was to involve reconstruction of the area’s geomorphology and also included the introduction of two fish species in newly created permanent pools. On the dunes, reproduction and planting of the sea juniper and associated species was foreseen to achieve a self-sustained population.

In addition, an awareness raising campaign aimed to change attitudes among locals and tourists vis-à-vis the preservation of these habitats.


RESULTS

Habitat restoration actions included: removal of obsolete infrastructure, including paths, roads, car parks and a sewage network; restoration of semi-fixed dunes by reconstructing dune hills and abrasion platforms; and recovery of a network of malladas. The latter allowed new hydro-halophilous vegetation and aquatic fauna to establish.

LIFE has also helped to fix and repopulate the new modelled line of dunes and a total of 288 m3 of coastal grass (Spartina versicolor) was sown during the project. Some 8 959 vegetation specimens and 18 vegetation species of interest were recovered. Furthermore, 912 specimens of marine juniper were planted to reinforce the local population and an estimated 150 m3 of alien species (Carpobrotus edulis and Agave Americana) were manually removed.

Significant improvements in the germination rates for marine juniper were demonstrated during the project which saw rates increase from 7% to 50%. This has had a major positive impact on the availability of juniper plants and associated ability to repopulate the area in future years.

Data from the germination work helped the beneficiary to develop an innovative and effective computerised “Predictive model” that is being used by habitat managers to identify the best vegetation for different target areas. This technology helps to increase the survival of regeneration vegetation and so also accelerate the recovery of habitat features.

In addition to the vegetation work, LIFE was used to create a permanent lagoon which was design to support self-sufficient populations of Spanish toothcarp (Apahnius iberus) and Valencia toothcarp (Valencia hispanica). Monitoring indicates that the 300 fish which were released into the lagoon have survived well and are growing in numbers.

A variety of awareness raising and networking activities were also undertaken including 94 guided visits to the project area, which attracted interest and participation from 3 751 people.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report (see "Read more" section).Habitat restoration actions included: removal of obsolete infrastructure, including paths, roads, car parks and a sewage network; restoration of semi-fixed dunes by reconstructing dune hills and abrasion platforms; and recovery of a network of malladas. The latter allowed new hydro-halophilous vegetation and aquatic fauna to establish.

LIFE has also helped to fix and repopulate the new modelled line of dunes and a total of 288 m3 of coastal grass (Spartina versicolor) was sown during the project. Some 8 959 vegetation specimens and 18 vegetation species of interest were recovered. Furthermore, 912 specimens of marine juniper were planted to reinforce the local population and an estimated 150 m3 of alien species (Carpobrotus edulis and Agave Americana) were manually removed.

Significant improvements in the germination rates for marine juniper were demonstrated during the project which saw rates increase from 7% to 50%. This has had a major positive impact on the availability of juniper plants and associated ability to repopulate the area in future years.

Data from the germination work helped the beneficiary to develop an innovative and effective computerised “Predictive model” that is being used by habitat managers to identify the best vegetation for different target areas. This technology helps to increase the survival of regeneration vegetation and so also accelerate the recovery of habitat features.

In addition to the vegetation work, LIFE was used to create a permanent lagoon which was design to support self-sufficient populations of Spanish toothcarp (Apahnius iberus) and Valencia toothcarp (Valencia hispanica). Monitoring indicates that the 300 fish which were released into the lagoon have survived well and are growing in numbers.

A variety of awareness raising and networking activities were also undertaken including 94 guided visits to the project area, which attracted interest and participation from 3 751 people.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report (see "Read more" section).

ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


Reference: LIFE04 NAT/ES/000044
Acronym: Enebro Valencia
Start Date: 01/10/2004
End Date: 30/06/2008
Total Eligible Budget: 3,278,216 €
EU Contribution: 1,639,108 €
Project Location: Valencia

CONTACT DETAILS


Coordinating Beneficiary: Ayuntamiento de Valencia. Concejalia de Dehesa-Albufera
Legal Status: OTHER
Address: CV 500, km 8,5, margen izquierda, E-46012, EL SALER, España
Contact Person:
Email:
Website: Visit Website


LIFE Project Map

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

THEMES

  • Coastal

KEYWORDS

  • nature reserve
  • protected area
  • coastal area
  • restoration measure

TARGET HABITAT TYPES

  • 1410 - Mediterranean salt meadows (Juncetalia maritimi)
  • 1420 - Mediterranean and thermo-Atlantic halophilous scrubs (Sarcocornetea fruticosi)
  • 1430 - Halo-nitrophilous scrubs (Pegano-Salsoletea)
  • 2210 - Crucianellion maritimae fixed beach dunes
  • 2220 - Dunes with Euphorbia terracina
  • 2230 - Malcolmietalia dune grasslands
  • 2250 - Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp.
  • 2260 - Cisto-Lavenduletalia dune sclerophyllous scrubs
  • 2270 - Wooded dunes with Pinus pinea and/or Pinus pinaster
  • 5330 - Thermo-Mediterranean and pre-desert scrub

SPECIES

  • Valencia hispanica
  • Aphanius iberus

BENEFICIARIES

Name Type
Ayuntamiento de Valencia. Concejalia de Dehesa-Albufera Coordinator
None Participant