Recovery of Granada-Vega poplar groves to boost biodiversity and long-term carbon capture through structural bioproducts

Reference: LIFE20 CCM/ES/001656 | Acronym: LIFE Wood For Future

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

For more than a century, the poplar groves of La Vega de Granada (Andalucia, Spain) have been a sign of cultural identity and an historical landscape. However, in the last decades the construction sector in this region, as in many other European floodplains, has turned its back on this local resource with a high capacity to absorb carbon. Instead, the area of poplar groves has been gradually replaced with annual intensive crops (garlic, maize, and asparagus). In twenty years, up to 4 500 ha of poplar groves have been lost due to their low economic performance compared with intensive agricultural crops, and the non-consideration of the ecosystem services provided by poplars. Poplar provides multiple environmental benefits, for example, it has a high carbon sequestration capacity, helps regulate the water cycle, conserves soil, absorbs nitrogen, lessens climatic impacts and provides habitat for local species. In contrast, current agricultural crops have a negative impact in terms of CO2 emissions, use plant protection products that can pollute aquifers, and reduce biodiversity. Nowadays, technical wood derived from innovative manufacturing processes offers a great opportunity to develop a local industry based on the construction of buildings with a low ecological footprint. This provides benefits in terms of maximising long-term carbon sequestration; zero waste and almost-zero energy consumption; and reducing pollution due to long-distance transport.


OBJECTIVES

The LIFE Wood For Future project aims to be a key instrument for the recovery of poplar plantations, to halt their replacement with intensively-grown herbaceous crops. The ultimate objective is to provide the forestry sector with tools that guarantee a sustainable supply of local wood to industry, leading to the generation of certified high-quality wood. This will also enhance the provision of numerous environmental services, including the capture of much more CO2 to mitigate against climate change; improved water, air and soil quality; and increased biodiversity. The project team will help industry to develop new structural bioproducts, which will be commercialised and used in a demonstration building as an example of sustainable construction.

The project is directly aligned with the new EU Forest Strategy, with an emphasis in the cascading use of biomass and in smart reforestation. It will contribute to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and of Regulation (EU) 2018/841 on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry in the 2030 climate and energy framework.


RESULTS

Expected results:

  • At the end of the project, 100 ha of poplar groves will apply sustainable forest management practices and will generate carbon credits in the voluntary market, increasing by 950 ha five years later;

  • A local nursery will be created for certified poplar plants with genotypes for timber plantations and local varieties for environmental restoration, which at the end of the project will provide plants for the restoration of 2 km of riverbanks, thereby storing 8 100 t CO2 and providing soil and flood protection, and nitrogen filtration;
 
  • The poplar wood will comply with the standard EN 1912, enhancing its use as a structural material in the development of bioproducts. Innovative bioproducts will be commercialised based on glulam timber as an alternative to the use of concrete, generating added value through the wood. The new products will be demonstrated in a new industrial building made during the project, with an estimated reduction of carbon footprint of 77.6 t CO2.

ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


Reference: LIFE20 CCM/ES/001656
Acronym: LIFE Wood For Future
Start Date: 01/09/2021
End Date: 30/09/2025
Total Budget: 2,985,886 €
EU Contribution: 1,642,073 €
Project Location: Spain

CONTACT DETAILS


Coordinating Beneficiary: UNIVERSIDAD DE GRANADA
Legal Status: PAT
Address: Av. del Hospicio SN, 18071, Granada, España
Contact Person: Antolino Gallego
Email: antolino@ugr.es
Tel: 34958249508
Website: https://www.ugr.es/


LIFE Project Map

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

THEMES

  • Agriculture - Forestry
  • Forest management
  • Certification
  • Resource efficiency
  • Carbon sequestration

KEYWORDS

  • monitoring
  • reforestation
  • forestry
  • climate protection
  • greenhouse gas
  • certification
  • wood product
  • management plan
  • landscape

TARGET EU LEGISLATION

  • COM(2013)659 - A new EU Forest Strategy: for forests and the forest-based sector (20.09.2013)

BENEFICIARIES

Name Type
Universidad de Granada Coordinator
COSE(Confederación de Organizaciones de Selvicultores de España), Spain Participant
DIPGRA(Diputación Provincial de Granada), Spain Participant
USC(UNIVERSIDADE DE SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA), Spain Participant
3EDATA(3edata ingeniería ambiental sl), Spain Participant