LIFE Project Cover Photo

Erosion prevention and flora REstauration of burnt FOREST areas through innovative fungal-technosol solution

Reference: LIFE17 ENV/ES/000248 | Acronym: LIFE REFOREST

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

Forest fires are a huge threat in both environmental and economic terms. In Mediterranean countries, which have about 80 % of the total area burned by forest fires in Europe each year, the severe impacts include lost lives, lost carbon sinks and lost raw materials. Burned areas in Mediterranean countries cover about 4 500 square kilometres annually. Globally, CO2 emissions from forest fires each year are equivalent to more than 50 % of the emissions released from fossil-fuel combustion.

In the Mediterranean area, Portugal suffers most from forest fires. The most severe fire in 2017, in the centre of the country, killed 64 people and destroyed 45 039 hectares of forest. Spain is also highly affected, with an average annual burned area of 108 282.39 hectares (data for 2005 to 2014). Galicia in north-west Spain has only 10 % of the country?s forest area, but accounts for half of Spanish wildfires.


OBJECTIVES

To regenerate areas scarred by forest fires, LIFE REFOREST will demonstrate the implementation of a strategy to mitigate soil loss using a Technosol, or soil derived from organic waste (including cereal straw, sawdust and wool) treated with fungal species. Use of this material will help boost the natural regeneration of affected areas, improve the soil structure, provide organic matter and nutrients to the soil, and enhance water retention.

The project will test the cost effectiveness of the approach in two areas, with the expectation that the costs will be less than ?300 per hectare. The project will also develop and provide recommendations to local, regional and national authorities on post-fire remediation strategies. The project will contribute to realisation of European Union priorities such as the prevention of soil degradation (as in the EU Soil Thematic Strategy, COM (2006) 231), forest restoration (EU Forest Strategy, COM (2013) 659), minimisation of water pollution (Water Framework Directive, 2000/60/EC) and recovery of carbon sinks (2050 EU Low-Carbon Economy Roadmap, COM (2011) 112).

Expected results: Compared to a baseline scenario in which no additional measures are put in place, the project will:

  • Produce the Technosol from organic wastes and agro-industrial by-products including cereal straw, sawdust and wool;
  • Reduce the erosion of soils in burned areas by 70 %;
  • Reduce pollution of water bodies downstream from burned areas by increasing water retention through deployment of the Technosol. Pollution of water downstream from burned areas is caused by washed off ash and other material; the volume of these total dissolved solids will be reduced by up to 80 %;
  • Demonstrate more rapid recovery of organic content and microbial activity within affected soils, so that signs of recovery are evident up to eight months after a fire; recovery of organic content and microbial activity to 95 % of their original levels;
  • Develop a soil erosion response approach that is 25 % less costly than current approaches involving application of straw mulch or wood chips;
  • Reduce the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of forest fires by 50 %, through the reduction of the time required for affected areas to return to pre-fire productivity levels;
  • Promote the Technosol approach to more than 90 000 forest owners throughout Europe;
  • Develop replicability and transferability guides and business plans, and provide recommendations to stakeholders.

  • ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


    Reference: LIFE17 ENV/ES/000248
    Acronym: LIFE REFOREST
    Start Date: 01/07/2018
    End Date: 31/03/2022
    Total Budget: 1,577,648 €
    EU Contribution: 937,037 €
    Project Location:

    CONTACT DETAILS


    Coordinating Beneficiary: FUNDACIóN CENTRO TECNOLóGICO DE INVESTIGACIóN MULTISECTORIAL
    Legal Status: PNC
    Address: Rúa As Carballeiras s/n, Edificio CICA, 1º, Campus de Elviña, 15071, A Coruña, España
    Contact Person: Lucía Camino VÁZQUEZ PRADO
    Email: lvazquez@fundacioncetim.com
    Tel: 34881105624
    Website: http://www.fundacioncetim.com/


    LIFE Project Map

    ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

    THEMES

    • Forest management

    KEYWORDS

    • reforestation
    • forest fire
    • soil degradation
    • organic waste
    • soil erosion
    • restoration measure
    • mitigation measure
    • resource conservation

    TARGET EU LEGISLATION

    • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)
    • COM(2011)112 - "A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050" (08.03.2011)
    • COM(2006)231 - ?Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection? (22.09.2006)
    • COM(2013)659 - A new EU Forest Strategy: for forests and the forest-based sector (20.09.2013)

    BENEFICIARIES

    Name Type
    FUNDACIÓN CENTRO TECNOLÓGICO DE INVESTIGACIÓN MULTISECTORIAL Coordinator
    Associação Florestal de Portugal, Portugal Participant
    Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal Participant
    HIFAS da Terra S.L., Spain Participant
    INDUTEC INGENIEROS, S.L.U., Spain Participant
    Asociación Forestal de Galicia, Spain Participant
    TRATAMIENTOS ECOLÓGICOS DEL NOROESTE S.L., Spain Participant

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