Degraded Forest Restoration, Mijares
The Forest Restoration Project in Mijares, Spain is restoring a burnt mountainous terrain that is home to endangered bird and animal species like the imperial eagle, the black stork and the Iberian lynx. Once restored, the thriving forest is expected to stand as a defense against increasing episodes of wildfires and droughts in Spain and build back the lost carbon sink from impacts of climate change.
MethodologyNational Spanish Registry
Tree planting in Spain
With each passing year, the world is witnessing longer and harsher summers with frequent fires and episodes of drought. This includes the nation of Spain, which is dealing with unprecedented forest fires and droughts every year, leading to a destability of its natural ecosystems and posing a risk to the species that live within them.
The Mijares municipality is one such mountainous region that suffered intensive burning of its forest in the summer of 2013. The Reforestation project in Mijares is attempting to mount a defense against these increasing climate impacts by restoring 200 hectares of burned forest lands with a carbon removal target of 30,000 tCO2 within the 40 year period.
Great for Earth
Forests across Spain are highly vulnerable due to ongoing warming, including increased susceptibility to droughts and wildfire. When forests burn, all the carbon they store within them is released and lost immediately and irreversibly to the atmosphere. It is crucial not just to protect the forest in Spain but also to restore the burnt forest using ecologically sound management plans for long-term resilience and growth.
The project site is situated in a burnt mountainous terrain with a varied landscape which is suitable for diverse communities of plants and animals. The area falls under the Special Conservation Area and Special Protection Area for Birds due to the habitation of emblematic species such as the imperial eagle, the black stork within these forests. Moreover, the forests are also home to Iberain Lynx- only 600 of these elusive cats exist in the world today.
The restoration plans have been drafted to include tree species like wild pine, birch, rowan, yew and holly and ensure abundant species diversity. Once established, the trees are expected to provide shelter to the declining endangered bird species and offer refuge to the Iberian lynx population, which are the most endangered feline species in the world.
Positive for People
Thriving nature is essential for human well-being. Bosques Sustanables have understood this and ensure that local people are at the heart of their activities. The project is expected to generate employment benefits for local Spanish people and create opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged people to volunteer and connect with nature. In terms of ecosystem services, reforestation of this land is expected to improve local groundwater table, decrease chances of erosion across the mountainous terrain, cool the surrounding region and improve the air quality.
In a world where heat waves are becoming increasingly frequent in Europe, a strong green defense has multiple benefits for societal well-being and stability, and in that regard this project is the most optimal defense against climate change.