• The University of Oviedo leads a European project to recover the dune ecosystems of the Cantabrian coast

    May 08, 2014

    The academic institution will promote, with other five associates, a plan to preserve the biodiversity in ten dune and beach systems in Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country

    From left to right: Enrique Jáimez, manager of the Cluster of Energy, Environment and Climate Change of the ICE; Paz Suárez Rendueles, Vice-Rector for Research and ICE; Vicente Gotor, Rector of the University of Oviedo, and Tomás Emilio Díaz, Dean of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Oviedo.

    The University of Oviedo leads a European to improve the perservation status of the dune ecosystems of the Cantabrian coast through the recovery of 10 spaces of special protection located in Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country. This initiative will take five years and has a budget of 1.4 million Euros, co-funded by the LIFE+ program of the European Union, specialized in environmental matters.

    The management and coordination of the preparation of the request of the project titled Conservación de la biodiversidad vegetal en los arenales costeros cantábricos has been conducted by the Cluster of Energy, the Environment and Climate Change of the Campus of International Excellence by taking into account the model of the quadruple helix, since it has the collaboration of enterprises, public administrations, research centers and associations. There are six partners in the project coming from the three autonomous communities, and it has the support of eleven local administrations, three local administrations and the Government of Spain, alongside NGOs, scientific societies and groups related to the conservation of the environment.

    The measures taken include the removal of pines and invading exotic species, the repopulation of structural plants and the reintroduction of plants from dune habitats that are considered rare, endangered or protected

    Some of the measures that will be taken include setting in motion preservation plans to reinforce the population of structural plants and reintroduce rare, endangered or protected species into dune habitats; restoring the dune dynamics through the installation of sand catchers; reducing the presence of pines and decreasing the negative effect of these plants, as well as removing invading exotic species.

    Lugares de actuación

    These actions will take place in 10 Places of Communal Importance (PCIs) throughout the Cantabrian coast, including the Red Natura 2000:

    • Asturias: they will be focused on the dune system of Barayo between the municipalities of Navia and Valdés, at the beach of Verdicio(Gozón) and the dune system of Vega (Ribadesella).
    • Cantabria: dune system of Liencres (Piélagos), dune system of Somo, (Ribamontán al Mar) and the beach of Berria-Higueras (Santoña).
    • Basque Country: these measure will take place at the beach of La Arena (between the municipalities of Muskiz and Ziérbana - Biscay), the beach of Laida (municipality of Ibarranguelu - Biscay), and the dune system of Santiago (municipality of Zumaya - Gipuzkoa) and the dune system of Zarauz (Zarauz - Gipuzkoa).

    The dune ecosystem has been deeply altered by human activity and the presence of destructive phenomena such as storms and floods, which have greatly diminished or altered the biodiversity of these environments and their natural populations of wild species. A good deal of the species that inhabited these environments exclusively are today found in the lists of endangered plants and the catalogs for protection of flora and fauna.

    Among other specific measures, this project involves, for example, the removal of around 250 pines of the dune system of Barayo; the conservation of 28 species present in these dune systems; the introduction of 50,000 structural plants to favor the natural dynamics of the dunes or the removal of the invading exotic flora. There will also be a recovery of the habitat of the fixed coastal and mobile dunes, and cord fences and wooden posts will be introduced to protect the dune systems.

    Participating Associates

    • Associated Coordinator
      • University of Oviedo, through the Scientific Team of the Atlantic Botanical Garden of Gijón, the staff of the Institute of Natural Resources and Territorial Planning (INDUROT) and the Department of Biology of Organisms and Systems (BOS).
    • Associated Benefitiaries
      • General Direction of Sustainability of the Coast and the Sea. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment (MAGRAMA)
      • General Direction of Mounts and Natural Environment of the Department of Innovation, Rural Development and Tourism of the Regional Deputation of Gipuzkoa
      • General Direction of Mounts and Environmental Conservation of the Government of Cantabria. Council of Stockbreeding, Fishing and Rural Development.
      • Ecología Litoral, S.L.
      • Aranzadi Science Society

    The project also has the support of different local administrations (town councils of Navia, Valdés, Gozón and Ribadesella, in Asturias; Piélagos, Ribamontán al Mar and Santoña, in Cantabria; and Muskiz, Ziérbana, Ibarranguelu, Zumaya and Zarauz, in the Basque Country), autonomous communities, NGOs and entities related to the preservation of the environment.