LIFE BACCATA holds an international workshop on the restoration and improvement of yew woods (habitat 9580*) in the North of the Iberian Peninsula

The LIFE BACCATA project (LIFE15 NAT/ES/000790), as part of its actions to exchange information with other projects and experiences, held an international workshop in the Peneda-Gerês National Park (Terras de Bouro, Portugal), where the LIFE TAXUS (LIFE12 NAT/PT/000950) project is currently implemented.

The visit by LIFE BACCATA was carried out by all the partners who are developing conservation, monitoring and dissemination actions to achieve the restoration and improvement of the yew woods (habitat 9580*) in the Cantabrian Mountains. The aim of the visit is to share and exchange experiences with the Instituto Nacional da Conservaçao da Natureza e das Florestas (ICNF), which, as a public body responsible for the management of protected areas in Portugal, and consequently of the Natura 2000 Network and the Peneda- Gerês National Park itself, guarantees the After-LIFE actions of the LIFE TAXUS.

In this way, the coordinating beneficiary, IBADER of the Terra Campus of the USC, came to present the results of the actions it is developing in the Galician enclave of the project (Monte Vecinal en Mano Comun de Riocereixa, Pedrafita do Cebreiro, Lugo) with the help of one of the associated beneficiaries of the project, the public company TRAGSA. The execution of this action in a collective private property is of great value for the project, since it allows to involve in the management of the natural habitats and of the Natura 2000 Network the private owners of the territory,as it is pioneering measure in Galicia.

From Castilla y León, the associated beneficiaries were the CESEFOR Foundation and the Region Castilla y León.  They provided the majority of the areas included in the LIFE BACCATA project and explained the challenges and difficulties of the forestry actions to put into light yew matriarchs and the regenerated one, the defence measures against herbivory and project's informative measures. For its part, the HAZI Foundation explained the actions carried out in the two enclaves of the project in the Basque Country, emphasising the plant translocation measures to increase the surface area covered by the type of habitat, as well as the involvement of the territory's key sectors for the long-term maintenance of the conservation actions carried out by the project.

Finally, it is the turn of the ICNF, which is developing the After-LIFE actions of the LIFE TAXUS (LIFE12 NAT/PT/000950). From this entity, the recovery and valorisation measures of natural habitats in the National Park and particularly those developed in the yew woods were transmitted, with a special emphasis on external conservation measures. Great interest was shown towards the solutions adopted in LIFE BACCATA.

The presentations were complemented by two field trips to the LIFE TAXUS action areas in the Peneda- Gerês National Park, where ICNF members explained to LIFE BACCATA partners the solutions adopted and the measures developed. The first trip was to Leonte, where attendees were able to appreciate first-hand the work of improving and conditioning forest habitats to promote the natural regeneration and expansion of the yew tree and, therefore, the increase in the area of habitat 9580*. The second trip was made through the Val do Rio Maceira, included in the Total Protection Zone (equivalent to a Reserve Zone) of the National Park, in an area of great natural value in which thereare forest stands with yew trees of great longevity and size, as well as areas with an important density of regeneration of this species.

All the attendees pointed out the importance of events like this one for the exchange of experiences and knowledge applied to the development of these actions, which requires a high degree of specialization in view of the technical difficulties detected. The visit helped to set the foundations for future collaborations and exchanges in the implementation of ex-situ conservation measures for yew trees with the aim of improving the conservation status of their habitat (9580*), through their propagation in nurseries as a way of conserving the natural heritage and biodiversity of the North of the Iberian Peninsula.