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News: February 2013

Agricarbon project wins award of climate change actions

Photo: LIFE08 ENV/E/000118

21 February 2013The regional government of Andalusia has honoured the LIFE 'Agricarbon' project – 'Sustainable Agriculture in Carbon Arithmetics' (LIFE08 ENV/E/000129) with its Environment Award for 2012. The award recognises the project's great contribution to the fight against climate change. The 'Agricarbon' project is encouraging the establishment of sustainable agricultural techniques, such as conservation agriculture and precision farming, with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fostering climate change adaptation in the agricultural sector.

The project site consists of three farms of 90 ha in total in the in the Spanish provinces of Cordoba and Seville. The project is coordinated by the Spanish Association of Conservation Agriculture Living Soils in partnership with the AGR-126 Research Group, 'Mechanisation and Rural Technology' of ceiA3 ETSIAM - University of Cordoba, the Institute for Research and Training Agriculture and Fisheries of Andalusia (Ifapa) through its Center Alameda del Obispo, and the European Conservation Agriculture Federation.

Agricarbon has shown that by adopting conservation agriculture and precision farming, Spain could significantly reduce it energy consumption and thus its carbon emissions.

The project is also having an international impact, having been listed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as one of the success stories of 'Green Economy'. Moreover, the project partners have established a methodology based on the meta-analysis of atmospheric carbon sequestration through sustainable agriculture – this methodology has been published by Elsevier's Soil & Tillage Research. At the same time, the project is offering high-level training to farmers based on sustainable agriculture.

GREENLYSIS holds final workshop

Photo: LIFE08 ENV/E/000118

20 February 2013The final workshop organised by the LIFE project GREENLYSIS (LIFE08 ENV/E/000118), which was recently held at the Cetaqua Water Technology Centre in Cornellà de Llobregat, Barcelona, attracted more than 40 people.
The workshop was an opportunity for the project team leaders to present the results of the project and share their experience of reducing the environmental impact of a wastewater treatment plant.

The GREENLYSIS project aimed to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen using electrolysis powered by renewable energies. It demonstrated that the released oxygen can be pressurised and used to purify the waste stream, while the hydrogen can be collected and used to power the treatment plant.

The workshop featured guest speakers from relevant associations and related research institutes, including project partners, CIRSEE (Centre International de Recherche Sur l’Eau et l’Environnement de Suez Environnement) and SAFT Baterías.

To download all the presentations and the conclusions of the event, visit

To see the best pictures of the day, visit this gallery.

The 2013 call for proposals is now open!

LIFE 2013 call

19 February 2013The seventh LIFE+ call for proposals was published on 19 February, 2013, with up to €278 million available for co-financing of projects under three headings: Nature and Biodiversity (NAT); Environment Policy and Governance (ENV); and Information and Communication (INF).

Project proposals should be submitted to the relevant national authority using the eProposal tool no later than 16:00 hours (Brussels time) on 25 June, 2013. Member States will forward proposals to the European Commission by 5 July, 2013. The earliest possible starting date for 2013 projects is 1 June, 2014.

Please note that applicants may only use the eProposal tool to create and submit proposal(s) under the 2013 LIFE+ Call for Proposals.

For more information on the call and to download the application packages click here.

LIFE inspires legislation to protect Italy's red squirrels

Photo: Carlo Morelli

14 February 2013In January 2013, Italy’s Ministers of the Environment, Agriculture and Economic Development signed a decree forbidding the trading, raising and keeping of the grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), an invasive alien species introduced to the country some 60 years ago.

This inter-ministerial decree is one of the first important results of ‘EC-SQUARE’ (LIFE09 NAT/IT/000095), a LIFE Nature project targeting the conservation of Europe’s only native tree squirrel, the red squirrel (Scirius vulgaris) in parts of northern Italy.

The red squirrel populations of Piedmont, Lombardy and LIguria are in decline as a consequence of the presence of the larger American grey squirrel, which outcompetes them for food. The scarcity of food resources weakens the reproductive capacity of red squirrels and increasing the likelihood of individuals dying before they reach one-year old.

Competition between the two species is also mediated in some areas by squirrel poxvirus: grey squirrels are immune and act as healthy carriers, whilst the disease proves rapidly fatal to red squirrels, which lack immunity.

The ‘EC-SQUARE’ Task Force has supported the Italian Ministry of Environment in drafting and promoting the rapid adoption of the new decree targeting S.carolinensis  and two other alien squirrel species (Pallas’s squirrel and the fox squirrel).

The Task Force is currently working on methods to stop the spread of invasive squirrels in the three regions of northern Italy where the project sites are located. To this end it will create a Decision Support System to identify the most efficient management strategy in each site.

‘EC-SQUARE’ is coordinated by the regional government of Lombardy (Regione Lombardia), in partnership with the regions of Piedmont and Liguria, three universities – Università dell’Insubria, Università di Torino, Università di Genova – and the Istituto Oikos.

For further information, visit the project website:


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