The region of Murcia is one of the warmest and driest in Europe, and the driest in the Iberian Peninsula, with a semi-arid character. It has two well-marked seasons (summer and winter), but temperatures in the past half-century have risen about 0.7°C. In the period 2006-2015, the mean temperature was 19.3°C, the mean absolute maximum temperature was 41.3°C and the mean absolute minimum temperature was -1.5°C. The average precipitation in the past decade has been about 290 mm, characterised by torrential rains. Potential evapotranspiration is very high. These climatic conditions make unirrigated Mediterranean agricultural soils in arid zones vulnerable to an increase of temperature associated with climate change.
The project LIFE AMDRYC4 seeks to implement adaptation measures to agricultural areas to make them more resilient to the effects of climate change. It aims to promote and develop such measures in Mediterranean dry farming areas along with sustainable, smart and integrated management as a tool for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Specific objectives are to: Implement adaptive solutions through soft technologies and sustainable, smart and integrated measures leading to an ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change; Develop methodologies and monitoring indicators to assess transformative changes in carbon stock in soils and combat against desertification; Contribute to a more accurate practice-oriented knowledge base, and an enhancement of agricultural systems, through modelling of organic carbon accountability and ecosystem services to assess adaptation and climate change mitigation, integrating cost-benefit analysis; Encourage ex ante and ex post replicability of project actions, through implication of stakeholders interested in promotion with voluntary agreements with farmers; Establish a land stewardship entity as a catalyst and driver for the adoption of the adaptation strategy; Promote sustainable, smart and integrated development, through improvement of dryland farming soils; Support rural communities, the circular economy and rural employment; Contribute to governance, analysing financial instruments and developing new proposals for after-LIFE project sustainability; and Inform, create awareness and encourage main stakeholders in dry farming systems about sustainability to foster a change in corporate culture through the promotion of the calculation of carbon footprints.
By promoting the adaptation measures in vulnerable Mediterranean agricultural region, the project is in line with the EU strategy on adaptation to climate change. The project also, by improving and validating the carbon sequestration capacity of dryland farming soil at local level, significantly contribute to the rules for the accounting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals within land use, land-use change and forestry.
Expected results: Development of guidelines for the application of accountability methodologies for carbon and ecosystem services for climate change mitigation and adaptation in Mediterranean dry farming areas; Carbon sequestration models with synthesised guidelines distributed to those responsible in the field of agriculture management; CO2 sequestration activities related to management of dryland farming soils in the Mediterranean area increased at the rate of 20 tonnes, achieving a total removal of CO2 estimated at 1 000 tonnes during the project, and more than 20 000 tonnes in long term; Twenty companies and institutions voluntarily implementing measures of calculation, reduction and offsetting their carbon footprint through absorption actions, eliminating at least 7 000 tonnes of CO2 emissions during the project; Voluntary agreements catalysing an offsetting market for carbon and ecosystem services that will allow the creation of a compensation register for the non-EU-ETS sector as well as a fund for the sustainability and implementation of LIFE AMDRYC4; Reduced soil loss by 9-48 tonnes per year (10%) and increased organic carbon in the soil by 0.5-1.0 tonne (0.4%) in a 20-hectare area; Maintained or diminished alkalinisation and salinisation of the soil and increased soil fertility by 1-10% and biodiversity by 10-20%, leading to a decrease in desertification by 2-10%.