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Title of best practice:
Dryland restoration through multi-species and spatially heterogeneous plantation (ALBATERA RESTORATION AREA)
Clarify if the technology described in the template, or a part of it, is covered by property rights:
Section 1. Context of the best practice: frame conditions (natural and human environment)
Short description of the best practice
Pilot project of ecological restoration of highly degraded drylands to combat desertification, using the best available technology developed in recent EC RTD projects. The design and implementation of the project was conducted in close collaboration between scientists, local and Spanish forest administrations, and forest companies. Evaluation of the project outcomes is being conducted through a participatory approach within PRACTICE involving all relevant stakeholders. Outstanding characteristics of the pilot project are:
1. To address within-site heterogeneity by identifying landscape functional units and designing specific actions for each unit.
2. The (re)introduction of vegetation according to small-scale heterogeneity and natural spatial patterns.
3. To avoid clearance of existing vegetation; to foster spontaneous plant growth by applying organic amendments
4. According to the potential vegetation in the area, to introduce evergreen trees and shrubs with high potential cover, high capacity to develop a dense canopy and accumulate litter, and fast recovery from disturbance so to confer increased resilience to the whole ecosystem.
5. A wide set of species choices to match the potential diversity of habitats, degradation stages, and management objectives.
6. To improve seedling quality by using specific protocols of nursery culture.
7. Improvement of plantation success by use of recent research results and applying the best available technology.
8. To prevent damages due to terrace collapse by creating soil-retaining vegetation barriers by means of deep-rooting and high cover shrubs and trees.
9. To establish a monitoring program in order to assess the success of actions.
10. To launch a participatory evaluation programme involving the key stakeholders.
The implementation area of the practice is located in the Albatera municipality, on the south-facing slope of the Albatera range (38º13’51’’ N y 00º55’9’’ W), in the Alicante province, SE Spain (Fig. 1).|
Section 2. Problems addressed (direct and indirect causes) and objectives of the best practice
Main problems addressed by the best practice
The main problem addressed was the degradation of ecosystem processes and functions, particularly those related with rainfall efficiency (soil water infiltration) and nutrient cycling, linked to the degradation of the plant cover. |
Specify the objectives of the best practice
1. Increase plant and animal diversity, species richness and vegetation cover.
2. Improve overall ecosystem functioning and resilience against disturbances, particularly droughts.
3. Reduce soil erosion and prevent floods
4. Establish a participatory approach for designing restoration activities, involving scientist, managers, and other stakeholders in the area.