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Life+ Pinassa - Sustainable management for conservation of Black pine (Pinus nigra subsp. salzmannii var pyrenaica) forests in Catalonia

LIFE13 NAT/ES/000724


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Contact details:

Contact person: Teresa CERVERA ZARAGOZA
Tel: +34 93 5747039
Email: tcervera@gencat.cat



Project description:

Background

The priority habitat (sub-)Mediterranean pine forests with endemic black pines (Pinus nigra)) only occurs in a limited number of fragmented sites in medium and high mountain zones in southern EU countries. Spain hosts more than half the 169 sites found in the EU. This forest habitat has suffered a great reduction of its distribution area over the past three decades, mainly due to forest fires.

In Catalonia, around 30% of this habitat was lost to fire between 1994 and 1998. Around two-thirds of this forest habitat in Spain (96.2 ha) is considered at very high risk of fire. The pine forests of the Pyrenees and Sistema Central mountain ranges are considered the most vulnerable largely due to predictable increases in dry periods and temperatures caused by climate change.

During large fires, all seedlings and saplings are burned and tree survival rates are usually very low. After fires, the European black pine suffers a lack of regeneration and strong competition with other species, such as the Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis) and the sub-Mediterranean oak (Quercus pyrenaica), limiting the natural regeneration of this habitat of Community interest.


Objectives

The LIFE+ Pinassa aimed to contribute to the conservation of (sub-)Mediterranean pine forests with endemic black pine (Pinus nigra) in Catalonia.

The project aimed to protect the few remaining areas of black pine with exceptionally mature trees, and high biodiversity and landscape quality. It would also regenerate over-exploited, damaged or destroyed areas of forest of different levels of maturity, aiming to create heterogeneous, stable areas of black pine forest.

The project also planned to increase the resilience of both new and old areas of black pine forest to both large fires and climate change. The project team would also seek to reduce other disturbances and regulate scientific and public use. The team also expected to develop planning and management tools as well as training aimed at managers and owners of forest sites.


Results

The LIFE PINASSA project contributed to the conservation of Black Pine (Pinus nigra) forests in Catalonia (habitat 9530*), surpassing initial expectations and pioneering conservation actions with a strong demonstration value over a total of 457.03 ha of habitat listed in the Annex I of the Habitats Silviculture-type of operations were carried out in 283 ha (53 groves). It addressed in an integrated way the main problems and threats that this habitat is facing: destabilised structures with no regeneration capacity; undiversified and strongly exposed to future fires; the abandonment of management practices; and the effect of large forest fires.

Specific results of the project include:

  • Signing of agreements with forest owners.
  • Diagnosis of the project area and ecological inventories.
  • The establishment of specific conservation programmes.
  • Contracts to ensure the conservation of unique stands.
  • Improved biodiversity, structure, regeneration and resilience over 283 ha of black pine forests.
  • 132.79 additional ha assigned to free evolution and nature valuing.
  • Improved conservation state of unique stands of black pine over 174.12 ha (in 24%, treatments were made to improve the conservation of the habitat).
  • Improved biodiversity, heterogeneity, stability and resilience over 44.4 ha of young and dense stands of low vitality, low structural diversity and high fire risk, along with 51.62 ha of mature forests, intensively exploited without regeneration, with a very simplified structure and low biodiversity.
  • Improved structure, maturity and biodiversity over 39.94 ha of intensively exploited forests with an irregular structure.
  • Recovery actions of black pine forest stands implemented over 31.57 ha of areas affected by large wildfires.
  • Decreased fire risk/enhanced fire prevention over 81.24 ha in critical areas through the implementation of sylvicultural treatments improving the strength and resilience to large wildfires.
  • Emulation of the natural dynamics associated with low intensity fires in adult stands of black pine improved over 34.14 ha.
  • The specialised technical staff of the Fire Brigade of the Catalan Government (GRAF) selected 81.24 ha located in Strategic Management Points (SMPs). The protection area of a SMP represents between 5% and 10% of the territory. In this area, it is possible to conserve existing habitats, avoid carbon emissions and maintain rural development.
  • Publication of four handbook and informative technical guides.
  • 10 scientific and/or technical communication presentations at seven events. Publication of six technical articles in journals specialised in the forest sector.
  • Publication of 31 communication and dissemination articles in digital press and 17 in written press; as well as a specific publication aimed at schools.
  • Creation of a system of biodiversity indicators for the study and evaluation of the black pine forests.

The project moreover fostered good cooperation among the beneficiaries, establishing a consortium that has committed to continuing the monitoring of areas targeted by this project. The aim is to improve knowledge of the habitats and to study the impact of the models implemented, while facilitating the transfer of knowledge. Dissemination activities helped raise awareness in the forestry sector, and also increase the capacity building of forest owners and forest professionals in sustainable ways to manage black pine forests. It provided training and capacity building opportunities to managers, owners and technicians to implement a new kind of management that ensures the conservation of this habitat.

A key project result was the drawing up of technical guides and material for multifunctional management of the black pine habitat. The results and experiences gained in the project will be instrumental in guiding solutions to conservation issues shared in the whole of Southern European distribution of habitat 9530*. Previously no tools for conservation management had been developed specifically for this habitat.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Conservation Plan (see "Read more" section).


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Environmental issues addressed:

Themes

Habitats - Forests


Keywords

forest ecosystem‚  protected area‚  nature conservation‚  management plan


Target Habitat types

  • 9530 - (Sub-) Mediterranean pine forests with endemic black pines

Natura 2000 sites

SCI ES0000018 Prepirineu Central català
SCI ES5110012 Montserrat-Roques Blanques-riu Llobregat
SCI ES5110014 Serra de Castelltallat
SCI ES5140006 Serres de Cardó- El Boix
SCI ES5140008 Muntanyes de Prades
SCI ES5140009 Tivissa-Vandellòs-Llaberia
SCI ES5140011 Sistema Prelitoral meridional
SCI ES5130027 Obagues de la riera de Madrona
SCI ES5130029 Serres de Queralt i Els Tossals-Aigua d'Ora
SCI ES5140017 Serra de Montsant-Pas de l'Ase


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Beneficiaries:

Coordinator Centre de la Propietat Forestal
Type of organisation Development agency
Description The Centre de la Propietat Forestal (CPF) is the public agency of the regional government of Catalonia responsible for regulating, managing and providing support to sustainable management of private forestry estates.
Partners CTFC(Centre Tecnològic Forestal de Catalunya), Spain FUNCAT(Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera), Spain DINT(Departament d'Interior), Spain

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Project reference LIFE13 NAT/ES/000724
Duration 01-JUN-2014 to 31-MAY -2018
Total budget 1,440,247.00 €
EU contribution 1,080,184.00 €
Project location Cataluña(España)

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Read more:

Project web site Project's website
Publication: After-LIFE Conservation Plan After-LIFE Conservation Plan (Spanish version)
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Technical report Project's Final technical report (Spanish version, ...

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