Claiming back the autochthonous forest in the Urdaibai Biosphere

Ibarruri, término municipal de Muxika, Bizkaia, Spain

Biodiversity Refuge

1.530.000

m2  of Micro Forest

About the Organization

Undabaso is the largest project of the Lurgaia Foundation. This non-profit organization works to favor the conservation of biodiversity and the proper management of natural heritage: species, habitats, associated ecological processes and landscape.

For this, its activity is focused on the recovery of ecosystems, key to the recovery of threatened species, and emphasizing the restoration of one of the most threatened: the forest.

They also are involved in  communication, outreach and environmental awareness work to involve society through volunteer days and talks.

The project

Undabaso is a future forest located in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve (Vizcaya). There, since 2008, the Lurgaia Foundation has been converting contiguous plots (through custody or land purchase agreements) that were mostly dedicated to the exploitation of pines and eucalyptus trees, to an area of autochthonous forest without fragmentation which allows the development of the associated ecological processes.


It is, or rather it will be, the future largest mixed oak forest in the reserve and the second largest in Bizkaia, with 153 hectares to manage today. Every year thousands of trees and shrubs of native species are planted, most of them on volunteer days. Forests take hundreds of years to reach their fullness, so this is a legacy for future generations. They will be the ones who will enjoy this future forest.

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Undabaso

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Additional information

Declared by Unesco in 1984, the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve combines landscape, culture, tourism and, in addition, it is an area of ​​special interest from the point of view of conservation. For this reason, its streams and estuary are in the Natura 2000 Network, and the wetland falls under the international Ramsar declaration.

However, most of its surface is occupied by industrial plantations of pine and eucalyptus. The forests have been reduced to small fragmented areas. It is estimated that on the Cantabrian coast, oak groves, for example, have been reduced by 90%. Research shows that coniferous and eucalyptus plantations, with a high degree of alteration and little biodiversity, do not fulfill the same ecological functions, neither in biological diversity, nor in resource conservation (soil, CO2 sequestration ...). There is an urgent need to rationalize the extension of these plantations so that they coexist with our forests.

Objectives


The main objective is to restore the potential habitat of the place: the mixed forest oak grove.


To do this, they follow the following criteria:

  • Local origin of the plant: All the plants are indigenous, and with local genetic varieties to ensure a good adaptation to the environment.

  • Species variability: Around 35 species of trees and shrubs are planted, and they are chosen according to the location and type of soil, to plant the most suitable ones at all times.

  • Ecological succession: The natural process is respected. They simply make the first steps easier and faster.

  • Imitating nature: They do not plant in lines, there is heterogeneity of species, they do not carry out clearings or remove dead wood. In this way, the contribution of nutrients to the soil is favoured and a natural forest is created.

  • IAS control: They carry out work to control or eliminate, when possible, the invasive alien species present in these spaces. Always with non-chemical, non-mechanical methods, so as not to further alter the environment under restoration.

Achievements

  • To date, the foundation has accessed 154 Ha of land for restoration.

  • Thousands of trees and shrubs are planted for the project each year.

  • The areas that began to be restored at the beginning of the project already show a natural and exuberant aspect, and the increase in species of fauna and flora is evident.

  • There is a growing involvement of society that shows interest in the project, either through its collaboration in volunteer days or by supporting the project financially as far as possible.

Benefits

  • The conservation of biodiversity is promoted by recovering the habitat of the species.

  • Activities are carried out to raise awareness and increase the knowledge of the population regarding the environment.

  • It is possible to reduce the extension of forest crops harmful to the environment, through the restoration of native forests in a key area from the environmental point of view, such as the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve.

  • The ecosystem services of the forest are guaranteed for life.

  • It helps to improve and maintain the soil in good health.

  • The forest stores carbon, mitigating the effects of climate change.

  • The forest acts as a filter for pollutants, increasing the quality of river water.

  • The forest acts as a barrier to new pests and diseases.

  • Through regulatory services, the forest reduces extreme weather events.

Undabaso

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Supporters

Treebuu Asociación
C.I.F. G01668011  
Camí Racona 4428
03728 Alcalalí (Alicante)
Spain

 

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