2022/11/07: The Xunta of Galicia awards the first of the works to restore the habitats of the Cíes, Ons and Sálvora islands within the framework of the LIFE INSULAR project

The Xunta de Galicia awards for almost €85,000 the first of the works to restore the habitats of the Cíes, Ons and Sálvora islands within the framework of the transnational project 'LIFE insular'. The action will consist of the removal of invasive alien species in the three archipelagos and its execution will last until December of next year. The main objective of the initiative, with Galician, Canarian and Irish participation, is to implement a strategy for the sustainable conservation of coastal dunes and dry queirogais present in Atlantic island spaces belonging to the Natura 2000 Network with the challenge of reversing the situation of its landscape to that of 70 years ago.

The Xunta has just awarded the service for the elimination of invasive alien species in the maritime-terrestrial National Park of the Atlantic islands of Galicia for an amount of almost 85,000 euros. This is the first of the actions promoted within the framework of the so-called LIFE Insular, a transnational project with an expected validity of 5 years and whose purpose is to achieve the integrated restoration of the island habitats of the Cíes, Ons and Salvora.

Specifically, the contract awarded includes actions to improve the structure and functionality of two types of habitats typical of these islands through the elimination and control, by manual methods, of invasive exotic species of flora. The actions to be carried out are planned throughout the remainder of 2022 and throughout 2023 and will allow intervention on a total area of ​​145.6 hectares.

It is necessary to underline that the main objective of the LIFE Insular project is to promote a favorable conservation status of the habitats of islands belonging to the Natura 2000 Network in the Atlantic Ocean, while increasing their resilience as a measure of adaptation to climate change. To this end, the focus will be on 8 Special Conservation Areas located on 5 islands which are —in addition to the three already mentioned Galician— Lana Graciosa, in the Canary Islands, and Ireland.

The role of coordinator of the works will fall on the University of Santiago de Compostela, while the Galician Government, through the Ministry of the Environment, Territory and Housing, will be in charge of the technical execution, as stated in the agreement signed last summer between both organizations. The other partners that will benefit from the European project are the National Parks Autonomous Agency and, on the Irish side, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Coillte CGA.

Minimize the effects of climate change

Through the LIFE Insular initiative, the impact of possible external disturbances on the areas of action will be minimized —risk of gales, catastrophic wind erosion...— and a recovery of the natural landscape of these islands will also be sought with the challenge of “reversing ” the situation to which he had 70 years ago.

To achieve these objectives, the project plans to carry out a series of actions on the ground focused on habitat types 2130 and 4030, corresponding to coastal dunes with herbaceous vegetation and European dry heaths.

Precisely for this purpose, the Ministry has just awarded the first of the contracts planned for the coming years, intended in this specific case to intervene on the invasive exotic land flora present in Cíes, Ons and Sálvora and which affects the state of conservation of the aforementioned island habitats.

Likewise, the project includes a public awareness and dissemination strategy through conferences on specific dates, such as the Natura 2000 Network Day or the European National Parks Day, as well as volunteer actions, school workshops and the placement of information panels, among others. others. Finally, a conservation plan is also planned once the LIFE Insular is completed —with an expected completion date of December 31, 2026—, which would allow it to be followed up and continued.

Multi-year budget

With a budget of more than 5.2 million euros to be executed until 2026, the Xunta will receive almost 750,000 euros, of which 300,000 euros will go to investment expenses; while the USC will have an assigned funding of 1.08 million as coordinating beneficiary.

The economic contribution of the project by the European Union will amount to 3.95 million euros channeled through the LIFE program, dedicated exclusively to the environment and climate action.