CHANGING THE CHANGE - LIFE+campaign 'Changing the change'. The Galician agriculture and forest sector facing climate change.

LIFE07 INF/E/000852

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Contact details:

Contact person: José RODRIGUEZ BLANCO
Tel: +34 981 530500
Email: xestion@unionsagrarias.org

Project description:


The Galician countryside is suffering from the abandonment of agrarian activities and rural depopulation. Such factors have led to a loss of biodiversity, agroecosystems and genetic variability of autochthonous crops and livestock. This loss is compounded by the increased incidence of fires, which devastated almost 100 000 ha in 2006.

The agro-forestry sector can play an important role in mitigating climate change by creating carbon sinks and producing biofuels that reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions. In Spain, however, the sector is struggling to implement the different plans and strategies defined by the EU on climate change and the Kyoto Protocol. A lack of information is available to farmers about how their activities impact on climate change or how they could help adaptation and mitigation processes.


The main objective of the CHANGING THE CHANGE project was to provide information to the Galician agro-forestry sector and the general public on the problems of climate change and to promote their involvement in activities that sustain adaptation and mitigation processes. The project also aimed to bring about a shift of attitude in farmers towards sustainable management alternatives. The use of renewable energies and biofuels, recycling, establishment of energy efficiency measures, organic farming, use of climate adapted crops and other environment and climate friendly measures would be promoted. The project foresaw the organisation of 41 workshops to key stakeholders, the attendance at relevant fairs, the design of awareness raising materials and articles in the press, the establishment and monitoring of a series of indicators at 2000 farms and a personalised advisory office in each of the 37 Galician counties.

The project would first make an initial diagnosis with experts from the universities, different administrations and the situation of farms. This diagnosis would allow the impact of the project actions to be assessed. The transferability of results was foreseen at a regional and international level. Specific awareness raising campaigns aimed at academics, schools and the general public were also foreseen.


The CHANGING THE CHANGE project completed all planned activities with great success. The workshops with farmers were useful and generated considerable interest – around 1300 farmers attended these well-planned and well-publicised events. Good feedback was obtained through questionnaires and voluntary remarks.

School activities generated pride among children in rural areas by allowing them to see that their family's activities were valued and considered important. The campaign raised awareness on climate change issues as well as emphasising the value of farming activities as a means of combating rural depopulation and the perception of farming as a second-class activity. More than 500 children were directly targeted by this campaign.

Attendance at two big fairs in Galicia helped promote the project to the general public. More than 130 000 people attended these fairs.

Throughout the project, technicians at the 37 agrarian offices in Galicia acted as environmental advisors. These technicians attended four-day training workshops and were updated with relevant information through daily bulletins issued by the central office of UPA. They informed farmers on new legislation and possible subsidies to improve environmental standards in farms and provided specific guidance on how to implement good practices for mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Nearly 7000 requests for information were recorded during the project.

In parallel to these activities, 2000 people took part in three surveys carried out every six months. These surveys allowed the project to monitor the progress of the adoption of good practices and verified the impact of the project: on farmers’ changing habits. The following results were reported:

  • Increase in the use of biofuels;
  • Increase in the surface of solar panels installed;
  • Decrease in the consumption of water;
  • Increase of agricultural surface dedicated to agrofuels crops;
  • Decrease in the use of nitrogen fertilisers/Increase in the use of organic fertilisers;
  • Increase of carbon content of soils;
  • Increase of forest plantations.

Communication activities included the production of ‘Ecoguides’, brochures, posters, stickers, conference materials and educational materials for schools. The project received wide coverage in regional and local media.

The project team contacted main farmers unions in Spain (in all regions) and in other European countries (Portugal, Italy and Poland) with a view to the transfer of results. Exchange of information has proved fruitful and several regions in Spain are now willing to replicate the experience in their regions (mainly the Canary Islands, Valencia and Balearic Islands). Relationships formed among technicians are long standing and will be a good technical asset in the future. A direct collaboration result was the beneficiary’s participation in a new LIFE project (LIFE 08 ENV/ES/000459 ECOREGA).

The project received technical and scientific support through a panel of experts made up of scientists from the University of Santiago and Lugo and technicians from regional and national administrations. This panel validated activities and documents produced by the project. Technical and scientific advice helped shape two strategies, one for mitigation and another for adaptation to climate change, that have set the framework for the rest of the activities designed in this project.

Finally, the project has helped train technicians at the beneficiary’s central offices and at the 37 county delegations. These technicians are in close and regular contact with farmers, helping with continuous transfer of information to the field. Climate change issues are now, as a enduring result of the project, embedded in the day-to-day activity of technicians. Such contact will help farmers adapt to a role as territory managers in the light of changes to CAP. The project has achieved a shift in the attitude of the main technical advisors to farmers. This will surely 'climate proof' the activities of the farmer's union and that of its farmer's members.

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


Environmental issues addressed:


Information - Governance - Awareness raising - Information
Climate change Adaptation - Sectoral adaptation (industry-services)
Climate change Mitigation - Renewable energies
Industry-Production - Agriculture - Forestry
Land-use & Planning - Forest management


rural area‚  climate change adaptation‚  climate change mitigation‚  agricultural method‚  environmental impact of agriculture‚  environmentally responsible behaviour‚  organic farming‚  biodiversity‚  public awareness campaign

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Unions Agrarias - UPA
Type of organisation Professional organisation
Description Unions Agrarias-UPA is a professional farm organisation in the region of Galicia. Its membership includes farming families, workers, professionals and technicians from the farming sector in general. The association promotes farmers' interests and rural development in Galicia. It is headquartered in Santiago de Compostela.
Partners None


Project reference LIFE07 INF/E/000852
Duration 01-JAN-2009 to 31-DEC -2010
Total budget 533,771.00 €
EU contribution 266,885.00 €
Project location Galicia(España)


Read more:

Brochure Campaña LIFE+ "Cambiar o cambio" - El sector agroforestal gallego frente al cambio climático
Brochure Project's leaflet (447KB)
Project web site Project's website
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan
Publication: Guidelines-Manual Ecoguía - El sector viticola gallego frente al cam ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual Ecoguía - El sector hortícola gallego frente al ca ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual Ecoguía - El sector silvícola gallego frente al ca ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual Ecoguía - El sector ganadero gallego frente al cam ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Layman report Informe Layman
Publication: Pedagogical tool Didactic material (2.4 MB)
Publication: Technical report Final Technical Report
Slides Presentation "Identificacion de los GEI producidos por el secto ...
Slides Presentation "Interrelacion y aportaciones del sector agrofores ...
Slides Presentation "Habitats y especies agroforestales mas sensibles ...


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