LIFE Project Cover Photo

CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION OF MEDITERRANEAN ALDER FORESTS PRIORITY HABITAT IN WESTERN INTERNATIONAL TAJO RIVER BASIN

Reference: LIFE20 NAT/ES/000021 | Acronym: LIFE ALNUS TAEJO

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

The Mediterranean region is one of the most vulnerable areas in the world to the effects of climate change, including flooding and soil erosion. Mediterranean alder forests or residual alluvial forests, a priority habitat of the Habitats Directive (91E0* ‘Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)’, play an important role in stabilised river banks. Alder (Alnus glutinosa) also improves nutrient balance in the soil, useful for colonising degraded areas. Mediterranean alluvial forests improve water quality, reduce eutrophication, and are habitat for several species of Community interest, such as trout, otter, or Iberian desman. This valuable ecological and hydrological habitat in the Western Tajo river basin is seriously threatened, and in long stretches of historic presence it is already non-existent. The ultimate goal of the project is to increase the area of alluvial forests in the Tagus river by 1 032 ha (516 km of streams), habitat which now only represents 14% of the length of the river basin. The project focuses on the SCIs of the Western Tajo International Basin. The main threat is severe degradation and loss of water, soil, space and biodiversity.


OBJECTIVES

The LIFE ALNUS TAEJO project aims to protect, conserve, enhance and restore rivers and riverbanks dominated by residual alluvial forests (priority habitat type 91E0*), which host a high biodiversity and influence the water quality of rivers and their ecosystems. Additionally, the project will demonstrate that the results of the actions improve when integrated river basin management criteria, social awareness, technical training, knowledge transfer, experience sharing in a network and environmental education are applied.

The specific objectives are to:

  • Work with public administrations and relevant stakeholders to improve hydrological ecosystems management;
  • Improve vegetal structure and condition of 91E0* species (e.g. Alnus glutinosa, Frangula alnus, Fraxinus angustifolia, Salix atrocinerea);
  • Recover soil and fluvial space, promoting connectivity between ecosystems of the basin and the restoration of degraded areas;
  • Reduce agricultural pressure on the riverbanks;
  • Raise awareness of citizens to fluvial ecosystems;
  • Reduce pollution, and social and urban pressure on river forests;
  • Improve water quality and river flows, through better river structure, removing illegal barriers and stopping illegal water extraction;
  • Enhance adaptation to climate change to help prevent droughts and desertification;
  • Reduce the number and spread of invasive species;
  • Control Phytophthora alni, a disease of alder; and
  • Promote scientific and technical administrative networks to advance the replicability of these approaches in other river basins and ecosystems.

The project is in line with the EU Water Framework Directive, Habitats Directive, Birds Directive, Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, Floods Directive, and Directive 2004/17/EC on public procurement for entities operating in the water, energy, transport, and postal services sectors.


RESULTS

Expected results:

  • Alluvial forest habitat (91E0*) - 432 ha (216 km) of direct river restoration and 600 ha (300 km) of river natural regeneration to promote connectivity;
  • Improved hydrological ecosystems management;
  • Increased alder surface and improved hydrological permeability in at least 320 ha of riverbanks;
  • Increased plant biodiversity along 150 km of riverbanks;
  • Reduced agricultural pressure and recovery of river space on 30 ha;
  • Recovery of soil on eroded surfaces on 18 ha of river corridors;
  • Improved river flows due to action against illegal barriers and intakes, reducing longitudinal fragmentation and water drainage in 30 km of river;
  • Water quality improvement and reduction of river pollution and better ecological and hydromorphological structure along 45 km of rivers;
  • Climate change adaptation, prevention against drought on 50 km of rivers, and management of flows linked to climate change;
  • Control of Phytophthora alni on 30 km of riverbanks;
  • Urban river restoration along 3 km;
  • Reduction of pollution, social and urban pressure of rural and urban fluvial forests in 15 km of urban rivers. Recovery of fluvial space in 3 km of banks used as natural pools;
  • Reduction of invasive plant species along 30 km of rivers;
  • Environmental awareness and education regarding the riverside ecosystems, reaching 1 500 people;
  • Awareness for managers of basin-level approach benefits (6 city councils, 4 agricultural associations);
  • Promotion of technical and administrative scientific networks for replication In Spain and in other EU countries (6 administrations, 6 companies, 6 universities);
  • Custody of the territory agreements for protection of fluvial ecosystems with farmers.

ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


Reference: LIFE20 NAT/ES/000021
Acronym: LIFE ALNUS TAEJO
Start Date: 01/09/2021
End Date: 31/08/2025
Total Eligible Budget: 3,984,839 €
EU Contribution: 2,985,326 €
Project Location:

CONTACT DETAILS


Coordinating Beneficiary: UNIVERSIDAD POLITéCNICA DE MADRID
Legal Status: PAT
Address: Avenida Ramiro de Maeztu, 7, 28040, Madrid, España
Contact Person: JOSE LUIS GARCIA RODRIGUEZ
Email: Send Email
Website: Visit Website


LIFE Project Map

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

THEMES

  • Sensitive and protected areas management
  • Natural risks (Flood - Forest fire - Landslide)
  • Natural resources and ecosystems
  • Forests
  • Invasive species

KEYWORDS

  • invasive species
  • forest
  • sensitive area

TARGET EU LEGISLATION

  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020” (03.05.2011)
  • Directive 2007/60 - Assessment and management of flood risks (23.10.2007)
  • "Directive 2004/17/EC - Coordination of procedures of entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors (Green Public Procurement) (31.03.2004) "
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)

TARGET HABITAT TYPES

  • 91E0 - "Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)"

NATURA 2000 SITES

Type Code Name
SCI ES4150101 Candelario
SCI ES4150107 Las Batuecas-Sierra de Francia
SCI ES4320071 Ríos Alagon y Jerte
SCI ES4320076 Riveras de Gata y Acebo
SCI ES4320069 Río Esperaban
SCI ES4150121 Riberas del Río Alagón y afluentes
SCI ES4320072 Ríos Arrago y Tralgas
SCI ES4150126 Valle del Cuerpo de Hombre
SCI ES4150108 Quilamas
SCI ES4320038 Sierra de Gredos y Valle del Jerte
SCI PTCON0028 Gardunha
SCI ES4320021 Río Erjas

BENEFICIARIES

Name Type
ECOSALIX(Sistemas Ecológicos de Engenharia Natural, Lda), Portugal Participant
UEvora(UNIVERSIDADE DE EVORA), Portugal Participant
CTAEX(CENTRO TECNOLOGICO NACIONAL AGROALIMENTARIO EXTREMADURA), Spain Participant
AMBIENTA(AMBIENTA INGENIERÍA Y SERVICIOS AGRARIOS Y FORESTALES S.L.U.), Spain Participant
CESEFOR(FUNDACIÓN CENTRO DE SERVICIOS Y PROMOCION FORESTAL Y DE SU INDUSTRIA DE CASTILLA Y LEON), Spain Participant
UNIVERSIDAD POLITÉCNICA DE MADRID Coordinator

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