Improving brown bear habitat in Spain through forest restoration actions

The EU-funded SUPERB project will improve brown bear's forest habitat in Spain through a ecosystem for biodiversity restoration actions led by CESEFOR and the Regional Government of Castilla y León.

58
Photo: Juan Lacruz - Wikimedia Commons

A new Horizon 2020-funded project has just been launched, bringing together 36 partners from 13 European countries to work towards a transformative shift towards forest and landscape restoration, empowering decision-makers to take fair and informed action on biodiversity restoration, forest conservation and adaptation, and sustainable development.

More specifically, the SUPERB project (‘Systemic Solutions for Scaling Up Urgent Ecosystem Restoration for Biodiversity and Forest-related Ecosystem Services’) will carry out concrete restoration actions in 12 large-scale demonstration areas, located in 13 different countries. These demonstration areas not only represent the diversity of stressors in European forests and the wide range of restoration actions needed, but also take into account the whole socio-ecological system, including people’s multiple needs for ecosystem goods and services.

The case of Castilla y León region in Spain

One of these demonstrative experiences will be carried out in Castilla y León, by Cesefor Foundation and the Environment Area of the regional government of Castilla y León which, together with the National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA) and the Forest Science and Technology Centre of Catalonia (CTFC), are the only four entities in Spain participating within this European consortium. In the case of the first two, their work will focus on the restoration of brown bear habitat, around three main axes: improving the conditions of brown bear habitat and its expansion; studying the fixation of CO2 in these habitats and promoting rural development.

Image: SUPERB project

The initiative envisages that, in order to carry out this experimental demonstration, Cesefor and the Regional Ministry will carry out a Restoration Plan in accordance with the planned objective. Likewise, monitoring will be carried out both of the vegetation and soil conditions and of the fauna (arthropods, birds and bats) in order to evaluate the ecosystem services and relate them to the state of degradation of the forest.

Although the actions will be developed in forests owned by the regional government of Castilla y León and the groundwork will be laid for later scaling up restoration initiatives to other areas.

Other goals of the SUPERB project

In addition to researching best practices in forest ecosystem restoration, this European project, which will run until 2025, will also create the Forest Ecosystem Restoration Portal, an online tool to guide stakeholders and answer their questions about restoration. This portal will also advise them and provide access to easily applicable and understandable tools and materials that support the restoration process and ensure its success (best practices, scalability plans, tree species selection, and a guide to innovative financing, among other utilities).

SUPERB is funded by Horizon 2020 through Grant Agreement 101036849, and receives €20 million for the implementation period 2021-2025 for all initiatives to be carried out in Europe under the framework.