Enebro Valencia - Recovery of the littoral sand dunes with Juniper spp in Valencia

LIFE04 NAT/ES/000044

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Vicente ALEIXANDRE ROIG
Tel: +34961610347
Fax: +34961610037
Email: odevesa@ayto-valencia.es

Project description:


On the eastern Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula, the Albufera de Valencia Natural Park is one of the last sites hosting a well preserved dune system. With chains of shifting and stabilised dunes, it is a natural barrier between a shallow lagoon and the adjacent sea. The most representative plant species on stabilised dunes and pre-forest vegetation is the sea juniper, Juniperus oxycedrus subsp. macrocarpa. Junipers are dioecious, ie. individual juniper trees are either male or female.

For decades, the main threat to the site has been urban pressure. Some of the negative effects of the urban development that affected the site during the period 1960–1970 have been reversed thanks to a previous LIFE Nature project (LIFE00 NAT/E/007339) on the site. But action was still needed to help recover the second chain of sand dunes, reverse the degradation of plant formations and reintroduce important habitat features, such as temporary pools. Today, the main problem is the high visitor pressure on those areas with natural vegetation, including both circulation of thousands of vehicles and excessive trampling.


The LIFE project was established with aims to recover 55 hectares of sand dunes, including the sea juniper habitat and also restore a large network of temporary ponds. This was to involve reconstruction of the area’s geomorphology and also included the introduction of two fish species in newly created permanent pools. On the dunes, reproduction and planting of the sea juniper and associated species was foreseen to achieve a self-sustained population.

In addition, an awareness raising campaign aimed to change attitudes among locals and tourists vis-à-vis the preservation of these habitats.


Habitat restoration actions included: removal of obsolete infrastructure, including paths, roads, car parks and a sewage network; restoration of semi-fixed dunes by reconstructing dune hills and abrasion platforms; and recovery of a network of malladas. The latter allowed new hydro-halophilous vegetation and aquatic fauna to establish.

LIFE has also helped to fix and repopulate the new modelled line of dunes and a total of 288 m3 of coastal grass (Spartina versicolor) was sown during the project. Some 8 959 vegetation specimens and 18 vegetation species of interest were recovered. Furthermore, 912 specimens of marine juniper were planted to reinforce the local population and an estimated 150 m3 of alien species (Carpobrotus edulis and Agave Americana) were manually removed.

Significant improvements in the germination rates for marine juniper were demonstrated during the project which saw rates increase from 7% to 50%. This has had a major positive impact on the availability of juniper plants and associated ability to repopulate the area in future years.

Data from the germination work helped the beneficiary to develop an innovative and effective computerised “Predictive model” that is being used by habitat managers to identify the best vegetation for different target areas. This technology helps to increase the survival of regeneration vegetation and so also accelerate the recovery of habitat features.

In addition to the vegetation work, LIFE was used to create a permanent lagoon which was design to support self-sufficient populations of Spanish toothcarp (Apahnius iberus) and Valencia toothcarp (Valencia hispanica). Monitoring indicates that the 300 fish which were released into the lagoon have survived well and are growing in numbers.

A variety of awareness raising and networking activities were also undertaken including 94 guided visits to the project area, which attracted interest and participation from 3 751 people.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Coastal


restoration measure‚  nature reserve‚  protected area‚  coastal area

Target species

 Aphanius iberus   Valencia hispanica   

Target Habitat types

  • 1410 - Mediterranean salt meadows (Juncetalia maritimi)
  • 1420 - Mediterranean and thermo-Atlantic halophilous scrubs (Sarcocornetea fruticosi)
  • 1430 - Halo-nitrophilous scrubs (Pegano-Salsoletea)
  • 2210 - Crucianellion maritimae fixed beach dunes
  • 2220 - Dunes with Euphorbia terracina
  • 2230 - Malcolmietalia dune grasslands
  • 2250 - Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp.
  • 2260 - Cisto-Lavenduletalia dune sclerophyllous scrubs
  • 2270 - Wooded dunes with Pinus pinea and/or Pinus pinaster
  • 5330 - Thermo-Mediterranean and pre-desert scrub

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Ayuntamiento de Valencia. Concejalia de Dehesa-Albufera
Type of organisation Local authority
Description The beneficiary is Spain’s City Council of Valencia.
Partners None


Project reference LIFE04 NAT/ES/000044
Duration 01-OCT-2004 to 30-JUN -2008
Total budget 3,278,216.00 €
EU contribution 1,639,108.00 €
Project location Comunidad Valenciana(España)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website (ES, VAL, FR, EN)
Publication: Case study "La Restauración de las Dunas Litorales de la Deve ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report (ES/EN)


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