The coastline of the Madeira archipelago is mostly rocky or based on rolling rocks. The unique dunes of Porto Santo Island are therefore attractive for touristic use, especially in the summer. However, extreme weather events, with the risk of more intense and more frequent storms, along with rising global sea levels are expected to increase the probability of coastline regression in this EU outermost region.
LIFE DUNASs main objective is to improve the resilience of Porto Santo Islands dune ecosystems to the impacts of climate change. The project aims to achieve this through ecosystem-based approaches, nature-based solutions and long-term sustainable use of pre-dune areas.
The specific objectives are: Restoration of a higher-risk depression dune area, including geomorphological work using about 90 000 m3 of sand dredged from near-shore sand banks without compromising regular coastal dynamics, followed by ecosystem-based restoration based on production of over 39 000 native plants and control of invasive alien species (IAS) on a wider buffer area; Promotion of innovative (re)use of pre-dune areas for agriculture, with production methods and practices that contribute to improved resilience, by mitigating losses due to wind erosion and sand devolving to the dunes; and Improvement in overall climate governance and awareness raised among the local population and users of the sand dunes (tourists and tourism service providers), including through active participation and replication/transfer work.
With its use of ecosystem-based measures for sand dune restoration, thus increasing resilience to extreme weather events, LIFE DUNAS will contribute to both the EU strategy on adaptation to climate change (CCA) and Madeiras regional CCA strategy. The project will also support the EUs biodiversity strategy due to the following: improved nesting habitat for the Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus); improved conservation of the endemic flora species Lotus glaucus and Lotus loweanus; promotion of sustainable agricultural practices; and control of Invasive Alien Species (IAS). In addition, it will help implement the EUs IAS Regulation; transfer work could also foster the combat of other IAS present in Macaronesia.
Expected results: Improved coastal dune resilience, embracing almost 65 000 m2 of ecosystems, ensuring protection for the stretch of coastline at greater risk (nearly 3% of the sandy coastline); Improved shadowing and microclimatic conditions to face heat waves on more than 45 000 m2, through planting of over 39 000 specimens of native flora; Greater resilience to wind erosion in pre-dune areas on demonstration plots covering more than 19 000 m2 (almost 11 000 m2 of vineyard); Improved resilience to flooding and erosion caused by storms in vulnerable areas, with full risk reduction for 15 households, one business (a restaurant) and public infrastructure (760 m of road); and Complementary reduction in CO2 emissions from avoided energy consumption of over 235 kg/yr.