- Project Reference: LIFE20 NAT/ES/001007
- Title: Integrated strategy for sustainable management of insular habitats in Natura 2000 islands of the Atlantic Ocean
- Acronym: LIFE INSULAR
Start Date: 01/09/2021 End Date: 31/12/2026
- Total Budget: 5,274,922 Euro
- Total subsidized budget of the project: 5,274,922 Euro
- EU Contribution: 3,956,056 Euro (75% of total)
The general objective is to implement a transnational strategy for integrated restoration of insular habitats (2130*, 4030) in Atlantic Ocean islands spread across Atlantic and Macaronesian biogeographical regions, promoting their favourable conservation status and increasing their resilience as the main measure of adaptation to current global changes. For this purpose, LIFE INSULAR has chosen 8 Spanish and Irish Natura 2000 SACs located in 5 different islands from both Member states, where best practices of proven effectiveness will be applied on insular habitats to address common conservation problems and threats from a transnational approach. The project will have great demonstrative and pilot characters, allowing a high replicability and transferability to other European island territories, or even worldwide, so it is considered that the selected insular territories will be representative from 2 biogeographical regions where European Natura 2000 islands in the Atlantic Ocean are located.
To achieve this objective, a series of specific objectives are considered to combat the threats that contribute to the degradation of the targeted habitats, taking advantage of previous results obtained in EU Projects and Programs (LIFE and non-LIFE projects, Framework Program):
Objective 1. Increasing the area covered by insular 2130* and 4030 habitats, including elimination of old forest plantations, cultivation of characteristic plant species of insular habitats and their restoration.
Objective 2. Improving the structure and functions of insular 2130* and 4030 habitats through elimination of old forest plantations, encroached trees and the control of competition against plant IAS.
Objective 3. Improving the future prospects of insular 2130* habitat, through the improvement of habitat knowledge and protection measures against anthropogenic pressures.
Objective 4. Informing and raising public awareness to the general public about the relevance, natural values and ecosystem services provided by insular ecosystems, as well as the issues targeted and the solutions provided by the project, at a transnational level.
Objective 5. Transferring the measures developed in the Project for their replicability at EU level through specific replication and networking strategies.
This proposal arises as a result of the collaboration between 6 public bodies. All of them share objectives, have the necessary skills and technical capacities and are aware of the importance of a LIFE project to achieve greater effectiveness and impact. LIFE INSULAR has a transnational approach, addressing common conservation problems and threats to islands SACs in the Atlantic Ocean from Spain and Ireland. The projects focuses on the exchange of experiences and common learning between the both national governments during project execution, providing valuable information and improved knowledge about island ecosystems, as well as promoting awareness of their conservation and replication of the results. The proposed actions respond to the available resources of the beneficiaries and the project objectives.
A. Preparatory actions, elaboration of management plans and/or of action plans
3 preparatory actions are necessary for the right execution of concrete conservation actions. A1 action will collect all the necessary information to evaluate the insular habitats in the sites where conservation actions will be deployed, including monitoring indicators. A2 actions will include the preparation of the necessary technical documents to design the concrete conservation actions. A3 action will develop the community engagement regarding concrete conservation actions in Irish SACs. IBADER-USC and TRAGSA will execute them in Spain by their own means, NPWS and Coillte will do the same in Ireland, subcontracting the necessary tasks.
C. Conservation actions
9 conservation actions on targeted Natura 2000 sites where insular 2130* and 4030 habitats CS will be improved. TRAGSA and DXPN will execute them mostly in Spain (C1 to C9), NPWS and Coillte will do the same in Ireland (C1, C3, C5). External assistances will be necessary to develop several tasks.
C1 and C2 actions will collect the plant reproductive material (seedlings, seeds) from island habitats characteristic species, to be transferred to nurseries where they will grow up and fatten these species to be used in the restoration of island habitats. C1 action will collect and grow 2130* characteristic species from Spanish and Irish islands, C2 actions will do the same about 4030 habitat in Cíes.
C3 and C4 actions will carry out the manual (no herbicides) elimination of old forest plantations in the islands: C3 will eliminate plantations on 2130* habitat in Spanish and Irish islands, C4 will eliminate plantations on 4030 habitat in Cíes.
C5 and C6 actions will restore island habitats employing their characteristic plant species. C5 will restore 2130* habitat in Spanish and Irish islands with plants collected and grown in C1 action, C6 will restore 4030 habitat in Cíes with plants collected and grown in C2 action.
C7 will develop plant IAS elimination tasks by manual methods (no herbicides or heavy machinery) on 2130* habitat, as well as devices (brush, carpet) will be installed for IAS elimination from the footwear of island visitors, avoiding the dispersal of the IAS propagules/seeds. C8 will develop plant IAS elimination tasks by manual methods (no herbicides or heavy machinery) on 4030 habitat.
C9 action will carry out protection measures against anthropogenic conditions in Spanish and Irish islands: traffic control measures for visitors (pales and ropes, wooden footbridges), livestock protection (fencing) and sand catchers.
D. Monitoring of the impact of the project actions
5 monitoring actions to evaluate the results of the project: repercussion of the project on island habitats (D1), socioeconomic impact of the project (D2), impact of the project on ecosystem services (D3), KPI progress indicators of the project (D4), efficiency (cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit) of transferability and replicability (D5). IBADER-USC will be responsible for all of them and will execute them mostly in Spain, and NPWS in Ireland, with the help of the rest of the beneficiary’s collecting information for common treatment, by own means for the most part.
E. Public awareness and dissemination of results
3 actions for complete communication strategy (E1), replication strategy of the project results (E2) and a networking strategy (E3) providing a transnational common framework to exchange experiences and knowledge, promoting the uptaking of results from previous projects, as well as transferability and replicability of LIFE INSULAR results. OAPN, DXPN, IBADER-USC and NPWS will split responsibilities and workloads, subcontracting several tasks.
F. Project management
2 project management actions. F1 action covers the entire project management and coordination process and the audit procedures. F2 action includes the preparation of an After-LIFE Plan for subsequent conservation. IBADER-USC will coordinate them, although every beneficiary is involved collecting administrative and financial information, attending meetings, helping to draft the After-LIFE Plan. In all cases own means will be used.