LIFE03 ENV/E/000161

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Arturo Ignacio ALDECOA RUIZ
Tel: +34 944236008
Fax: +34 944417991
Email: arturo@tiermes.net

Project description:


The territory of Tiermes, situated in the province of Soria in the Castilla y León region, suffers from a harsh climate, peripheral position, low population, a tendency to depopulate and little economic activity. All of these factors have led to complete abandonment of the architectural heritage and natural resources by the local inhabitants. The need to stimulate the development of this depressed zone, lead to the creation of the "Asociación de Amigos del Museo de Tiermes". This association aimed to: •Conserve the cultural and architectural heritage. •Fight against the depopulation of extensive rural zones. •Foster sustainable development in Spain and other countries.


The project aimed to tackle the problems in the Tiemes Caracena area with the implementation of an eco-cultural sustainable tourism model. This would lead to an increase in the quality of life for the local population, and at the same time protect the landscape and reverse the depopulation tendency. The project was to foster the socio-economic recovery of the Tiemes Caracena area by means of a dynamic use of local resources and the showcasing of its rich cultural and natural heritage. The specific objectives were to: • evaluate, protect and revitalise the landscape, notably the Tiermes archaelogical site; • halt the depopulation of the region; • set up a balanced environmental management system to boost the resources; • foster mechanisms which involve public and private actors in the project and; • support new legislation to regulate these activities.


The activities implemented during the TIERMES-CARACENA VALLEY project have established the basis for the future sustainable development of the area of Tiermes and the surrounding villages. The project promoted the cultural, archeological and natural resources in the area, particularly the "Tiermes Archaeological site". Improved management of these resources has provided an opportunity for the development of the area, which was suffering from social and economic marginalisation and has the smallest population density in Spain. The results of the project have proved highly successful and valuable, in environmental, social and economic terms, although the lasting effects and results will only be obvious in a few years time. Some of the tangible results of the project are described below. - An assessment of the natural, cultural, socio-economic and historical resources was carried out. Studies defined the needs and assessed the potential economic and tourism possibilities. - Based on the information obtained, various documents and project proposals were drafted, with the aim of requesting legal protection measures for the archeological site of Tiermes and the surrounding area. These were submitted to the relevant entities/stakeholders for evaluation and approval. The most notable results were the approval of 2 SCIs and the preparation of proposals for granting SPA. - Concrete actions for the protection/conservation/enhancement of archeological and natural heritage have been implemented. An action programme 2007-2008 was established for the protection of the natural and cultural resources. - The dissemination and information activities have been very successful and have reached a wide diversity of stakeholders (public entities, private associations, companies, individuals, etc) and the general public. Some of the results are as follows: 12 educational activities in which 2136 children participated; 8 courses, seminars and conferences organised with the participation of 46 professionals from 6 countries and 230 students from 16 countries; guided visits organised during the summer periods (7900 visitors); participation of 231 archaeologist, researchers and University staff from 18 countries during the summer excavation campaigns. An impressive number of information and dissemination materials were produced during the project and the two websites (www.fundaciontiermes.com and www.lifetiermes.net) have been popular (2 300 000 hits in 28 months). - The general innovative and demonstration aspect of the project lies mainly in the success of the "bottom-up' development approach encouraging the involvement and participation of local communities and various private and public stakeholders in the project. This experience has represented an alternative to the traditional approach in Spain and has demonstrated that a bottom-up approach is possible and can be successful and clearly useful from environmental, social and economical points of view. One of the most notable results of the project is the creation of the Tiermes Foundation, a new organisation which will ensure the continuity and sustainability of the management of the site in collaboration with the local population, companies, individuals, public bodies, and so on. Details are provided on the website www.fundaciontiermes.org - The project had given a boost to the local economy and created employment; 56 jobs during the course of the project. Indirect results have already been observed, such as a 35% increase in income from tourism, the creation of new tourism-related companies (hotels, restaurants, etc) and also agricultural ones (farming, breeding, etc). To conclude, the project has demonstrated that a model of eco-cultural tourism and appropriate management system can be a solution for the future sustainable development of depopulated and economically marginalised rural areas in Spain. The creation of the Tiermes Foundation has ensured continuity in the management of this important archaeological site beyond the LIFE funding. An After-LIFE Communication Plan provides details of future activities planned this year and next. Activities which have taken place since the project ended in August 2006 include: courses and seminars on ecological agriculture, new economic activities and sustainable development; legal initiatives for the protection of the natural, cultural and palaeontological heritage; the organisation of cultural activities; international meetings to promote tourism in the region; and the preparation of a Tiermes Roman Forum.


Environmental issues addressed:


Land-use & Planning - Spatial planning
Information - Governance - Public and Stakeholders participation
Services & Commerce - Tourism and Accommodation


ecotourism‚  environmental law‚  rural development

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
  • Environmental management & assessment
  • Directive 85/337 - Assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the enviro ...
  • Directive 2001/42 - Assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Asociación de amigos del Museo de Tiermes
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description Asociación de Amigos del Museo de Tiermes - AAMT - is an NGO, which was set up in 1988 to revitalise and develop Tiermes Caracena, an area in the province of Soria, Castilla y León region. AAMT is concerned with environmental protection and the promotion of sustainable tourism.
Partners Ayuntamiento de Montejo de Tiermes, Spain Ayuntamiento de Villa de Retortillo de Soria, Spain Gestión Medio Ambiental (GSA) S.L., Spain Fundación INASMET, Spain ESAINOR S.L., Spain Universitá degli Studi di Perugia, Italy Comunidad de Amigos de Tarancueña (NGO), Spain Asociación Cultural Comarca de Tiermes (NGO), Spain


Project reference LIFE03 ENV/E/000161
Duration 01-SEP-2003 to 31-AUG -2006
Total budget 965,337.00 €
EU contribution 465,144.00 €
Project location Castilla-León(España)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website (ES, EN, FR, DE, IT)
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan (ES)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (ES/EN)
Video link Link to the project's video on YouTube


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version