LIFE Project Cover Photo

Urgent measures for controlling the spread of Pampa Grass (Cortaderia selloana) in Atlantic area

Reference: LIFE17 NAT/ES/000495 | Acronym: LIFE STOP Cortaderia



Cortaderia selloana, commonly called pampas grass, is a very aggressive invasive species of natural and semi-natural habitats. It has invaded a coastal corridor around the ‘Atlantic arc’ from France to Portugal, with Cantabria being the territory most seriously affected. The year-on-year spread of Cortaderia selloana has been accelerated by the rapid expansion of suburban and industrial areas. This process is negatively affecting native species, degrading natural habitats, and restricting the public use of coastal areas. Therefore, urgent action is required to manage the situation.


The LIFE STOP Cortaderia project operates at the ‘Atlantic arc’ and the Cantabria (Spain) levels, to manage invasive pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana). It aims to coordinate actions around the ‘Atlantic arc’ through a strategy and a working group for the exchange of information and experience among French, Spanish and Portuguese organisations. The strategy includes awareness-raising actions to inform people along the Atlantic coast about the detrimental effects of pampas grass on biodiversity. In Cantabria, the project aims to stop the spread of Cortaderia and reduce its presence in coastal Natura 2000 network sites, to safeguard sensitive habitats and native species. Actions will prevent the spread of pampas grass beyond the southern boundary of its current range in Cantabria, and inland in valleys where its presence is still limited. The project will quantify the distribution of Cortaderia in Cantabria and northern Portugal, and test new methodologies for the control of pampas grass that can be replicated elsewhere.

The project implements Natura 2000 (target 1), the Habitats Directive, the Biodiversity Strategy, and the Regulation on invasive alien species. Increasing the resilience of coastal ecosystems, and the services they provide, it also contributes to EU policy in areas such as Climate Adaptation.

Expected results:

  • Strategy to combat Cortaderia selloana along the ‘Atlantic arc’ corridor, involving 100 French, Spanish and Portuguese entities committing to a series of medium- and long-term actions;
  • Working Group to combat Cortaderia, with members representing the entire ‘Atlantic arc’ area, serving as a permanent forum for sharing experiences and disseminating methodologies and materials;
  • A halt to the expansion of Cortaderia in the south of Cantabria, and an increase in Cortaderia-free municipalities from 19 to 37 (equivalent to 328 600 ha);
  • Reduced presence of Cortaderia in coastal Nature 2000 network sites in Cantabria and the restoration of natural habitats over an area of 240 ha;
  • Establishment of an Early Warning Network in Cantabria and Portugal for invasive Cortaderia, which will continue to operate after the LIFE project, with some 600 notifications/year estimated;
  • Detailed mapping of Cortaderia distribution in Cantabria and northern Portugal, particularly in Natura 2000 sites, to be updated annually after the project;
  • Handbook of Best Practice in Spanish, Portuguese, French and English, distributed to at least 6 000 institutions;
  • Evaluation of four different land management techniques to stop the expansion of Cortaderia, each representative of a different type of landscape;
  • Training of 300 workers from institutions, including city councils, construction companies, excavation contractors, livestock farmers, and journalists in Cantabria and Portugal, on the most effective methods of prevention, control and eradication of Cortaderia; and
  • Increased awareness of people along the Atlantic coast about the harmful effects of Cortaderia on the region’s natural environment and the appropriate measures to be taken to prevent its spread.


    Reference: LIFE17 NAT/ES/000495
    Acronym: LIFE STOP Cortaderia
    Start Date: 01/10/2018
    End Date: 30/09/2022
    Total Budget: 3,569,390 €
    EU Contribution: 1,886,746 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Asociacin AMICA
    Legal Status: PRIVATE
    Address: Barrio Sierrapando, 508, 39300, Torrelavega, España
    Contact Person: Santiago Garcia de Enterria Palacios

    LIFE Project Map



    • Invasive species


    • monitoring
    • environmental awareness
    • coastal area
    • environmental training
    • restoration measure
    • early warning system


    • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020” (03.05.2011)
    • Regulation 1143/2014 - Prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species (22.10.2014)


    • 02 - Specific (i.e.for technical reasons or specific issue)


    • None or non applicable


    Name Type
    Asociacin AMICA Coordinator
    Asociación Cántabra en favor de las Personas con Discapacidad intelectual, Spain Participant
    Câmara Municipal de Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal Participant
    Patronato Municipal de Educación SERCA CEE, Spain Participant
    Sociedad Española de Ornitología, Spain Participant
    Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Portugal Participant


    Type Resource
    Project web site Project's website
    Video link LIFE STOP Cortaderia - Urgent measures for controlling the spread of Pampas grass [EN, 1'53] -
    Project web site - 2 Project's Twitter page