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LIFE REFOREST - Erosion prevention and flora REstauration of burnt FOREST areas through innovative fungal-technosol solution

LIFE17 ENV/ES/000248


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Contact details:

Contact person: Lucía Camino VÁZQUEZ PRADO
Tel: 34881105624
Email: lvazquez@fundacioncetim.com



Project description:

Background

Forest fires are a huge threat in both environmental and economic terms. In Mediterranean countries, which have about 80 % of the total area burned by forest fires in Europe each year, the severe impacts include lost lives, lost carbon sinks and lost raw materials. Burned areas in Mediterranean countries cover about 4 500 square kilometres annually. Globally, CO2 emissions from forest fires each year are equivalent to more than 50 % of the emissions released from fossil-fuel combustion.

In the Mediterranean area, Portugal suffers most from forest fires. The most severe fire in 2017, in the centre of the country, killed 64 people and destroyed 45 039 hectares of forest. Spain is also highly affected, with an average annual burned area of 108 282.39 hectares (data for 2005 to 2014). Galicia in north-west Spain has only 10 % of the country’s forest area, but accounts for half of Spanish wildfires.


Objectives

To regenerate areas scarred by forest fires, LIFE REFOREST will demonstrate the implementation of a strategy to mitigate soil loss using a Technosol, or soil derived from organic waste (including cereal straw, sawdust and wool) treated with fungal species. Use of this material will help boost the natural regeneration of affected areas, improve the soil structure, provide organic matter and nutrients to the soil, and enhance water retention.

The project will test the cost effectiveness of the approach in two areas, with the expectation that the costs will be less than €300 per hectare. The project will also develop and provide recommendations to local, regional and national authorities on post-fire remediation strategies. The project will contribute to realisation of European Union priorities such as the prevention of soil degradation (as in the EU Soil Thematic Strategy, COM (2006) 231), forest restoration (EU Forest Strategy, COM (2013) 659), minimisation of water pollution (Water Framework Directive, 2000/60/EC) and recovery of carbon sinks (2050 EU Low-Carbon Economy Roadmap, COM (2011) 112).

Expected results: Compared to a baseline scenario in which no additional measures are put in place, the project will:

  • Produce the Technosol from organic wastes and agro-industrial by-products including cereal straw, sawdust and wool;
  • Reduce the erosion of soils in burned areas by 70 %;
  • Reduce pollution of water bodies downstream from burned areas by increasing water retention through deployment of the Technosol. Pollution of water downstream from burned areas is caused by washed off ash and other material; the volume of these total dissolved solids will be reduced by up to 80 %;
  • Demonstrate more rapid recovery of organic content and microbial activity within affected soils, so that signs of recovery are evident up to eight months after a fire; recovery of organic content and microbial activity to 95 % of their original levels;
  • Develop a soil erosion response approach that is 25 % less costly than current approaches involving application of straw mulch or wood chips;
  • Reduce the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of forest fires by 50 %, through the reduction of the time required for affected areas to return to pre-fire productivity levels;
  • Promote the Technosol approach to more than 90 000 forest owners throughout Europe;
  • Develop replicability and transferability guides and business plans, and provide recommendations to stakeholders.


Results


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Environmental issues addressed:

Themes

Land-use & Planning - Forest management


Keywords

organic waste‚  mitigation measure‚  resource conservation‚  soil erosion‚  restoration measure‚  reforestation‚  forest fire‚  soil degradation


Target EU Legislation

  • Land & Soil
  • COM(2013)659 - A new EU Forest Strategy: for forests and the forest-based sector (20.09.2013)
  • COM(2006)231 - “Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection” (22.09.2006)
  • Climate Change & Energy efficicency
  • COM(2011)112 - "A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050" (08.03.2011)
  • Water
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable


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Beneficiaries:

Coordinator FUNDACIÓN CENTRO TECNOLÓGICO DE INVESTIGACIÓN MULTISECTORIAL
Type of organisation Research institution
Description CETIM (Centro Tecnológico de Investigación Multisectorial ) is a private, non-profit research centre in La Coruña, Spain. It works on environmental technologies, advanced materials and industrial technologies, and carries out life-cycle assessments and water footprint assessments.
Partners INDUTEC INGENIEROS, S.L.U., Spain Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal Asociación Forestal de Galicia, Spain HIFAS da Terra S.L., Spain Associação Florestal de Portugal, Portugal TRATAMIENTOS ECOLÓGICOS DEL NOROESTE S.L., Spain

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Project reference LIFE17 ENV/ES/000248
Duration 01-JUL-2018 to 30-JUN -2021
Total budget 1,577,648.00 €
EU contribution 937,037.00 €
Project location Galicia(España) Norte(Portugal)

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