LIFE STOP Cortaderia - Urgent measures for controlling the spread of Pampa Grass (Cortaderia selloana) in Atlantic area

LIFE17 NAT/ES/000495

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Contact details:

Contact person: Santiago Garcia de Enterria Palacios
Email: santiagog@amica.es

Project description:


Cortaderia selloana, commonly called pampas grass, is a very aggressive invasive species of natural and semi-natural habitats. It has invaded a coastal corridor around the ‘Atlantic arc’ from France to Portugal, with Cantabria being the territory most seriously affected. The year-on-year spread of Cortaderia selloana has been accelerated by the rapid expansion of suburban and industrial areas. This process is negatively affecting native species, degrading natural habitats, and restricting the public use of coastal areas. Therefore, urgent action is required to manage the situation.


The LIFE STOP Cortaderia project operates at the ‘Atlantic arc’ and the Cantabria (Spain) levels, to manage invasive pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana). It aims to coordinate actions around the ‘Atlantic arc’ through a strategy and a working group for the exchange of information and experience among French, Spanish and Portuguese organisations. The strategy includes awareness-raising actions to inform people along the Atlantic coast about the detrimental effects of pampas grass on biodiversity. In Cantabria, the project aims to stop the spread of Cortaderia and reduce its presence in coastal Natura 2000 network sites, to safeguard sensitive habitats and native species. Actions will prevent the spread of pampas grass beyond the southern boundary of its current range in Cantabria, and inland in valleys where its presence is still limited. The project will quantify the distribution of Cortaderia in Cantabria and northern Portugal, and test new methodologies for the control of pampas grass that can be replicated elsewhere.

The project implements Natura 2000 (target 1), the Habitats Directive, the Biodiversity Strategy, and the Regulation on invasive alien species. Increasing the resilience of coastal ecosystems, and the services they provide, it also contributes to EU policy in areas such as Climate Adaptation.

Expected results:

  • Strategy to combat Cortaderia selloana along the ‘Atlantic arc’ corridor, involving 100 French, Spanish and Portuguese entities committing to a series of medium- and long-term actions;
  • Working Group to combat Cortaderia, with members representing the entire ‘Atlantic arc’ area, serving as a permanent forum for sharing experiences and disseminating methodologies and materials;
  • A halt to the expansion of Cortaderia in the south of Cantabria, and an increase in Cortaderia-free municipalities from 19 to 37 (equivalent to 328 600 ha);
  • Reduced presence of Cortaderia in coastal Nature 2000 network sites in Cantabria and the restoration of natural habitats over an area of 240 ha;
  • Establishment of an Early Warning Network in Cantabria and Portugal for invasive Cortaderia, which will continue to operate after the LIFE project, with some 600 notifications/year estimated;
  • Detailed mapping of Cortaderia distribution in Cantabria and northern Portugal, particularly in Natura 2000 sites, to be updated annually after the project;
  • Handbook of Best Practice in Spanish, Portuguese, French and English, distributed to at least 6 000 institutions;
  • Evaluation of four different land management techniques to stop the expansion of Cortaderia, each representative of a different type of landscape;
  • Training of 300 workers from institutions, including city councils, construction companies, excavation contractors, livestock farmers, and journalists in Cantabria and Portugal, on the most effective methods of prevention, control and eradication of Cortaderia; and
  • Increased awareness of people along the Atlantic coast about the harmful effects of Cortaderia on the region’s natural environment and the appropriate measures to be taken to prevent its spread.



Environmental issues addressed:


Biodiversity issues - Invasive species


monitoring‚  environmental awareness‚  coastal area‚  environmental training‚  restoration measure‚  early warning system

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Regulation 1143/2014 - Prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien ...
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...

Target Habitat types

  • 02 - Specific (i.e.for technical reasons or specific issue)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Asociación AMICA
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description Asociación AMICA is a private non-profit organisation with a mission to empower citizens. It promotes equal opportunities and the rights of disabled people, to avoid any kind of discrimination or social exclusion. AMICA represents a model of direct management and participation, and pursues the principle of mutual support among affected families.
Partners Asociación Cántabra en favor de las Personas con Discapacidad intelectual, Spain Câmara Municipal de Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Portugal Sociedad Española de Ornitología, Spain Patronato Municipal de Educación SERCA CEE, Spain


Project reference LIFE17 NAT/ES/000495
Duration 01-OCT-2018 to 30-SEP -2022
Total budget 3,569,390.00 €
EU contribution 1,886,746.00 €
Project location Galicia(España) Asturias(España) Cantabria(España) País Vasco(España) Norte(Portugal) Centro(Portugal)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website
Project web site - 2 Project's Twitter page
Video link LIFE STOP Cortaderia - Urgent measures for controlling the spread of Pampas grass [EN, 1'53] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdBAjroSlo8


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