Monitoring the Implemented Actions in the Framework of the LIFE BACCATA Project

Photo 1: Hemispheric photo to measure fractional forest canopy (the proportion of ground covered by the vertical projection of the canopy)

Castilla and Leon partners, Cesefor and the Regional Government of Castilla y León, have started monitoring the conservation and improvement actions in several of those stands that have been characterised within the Life Baccata Project.

This monitoring work is described in Action D1. This action, which is designed to assess the impact of the Project conservation actions on habitat 9580*, must be implemented by all partners to assess the effectiveness of the restoration actions, taking decisions, when appropriate, and including changes and/or the implementation of new measures.  

Photos 2 and 3: regeneration status after the installation of the exclusion fence to avoid herbivores.

- Supervising the progress of the restoration process  
- Controlling the occurring changes  
- Correcting the occurrence of unwanted effects
- Promoting processes that are considered to be beneficial for the recovery of the site naturalness and biodiversity.
The Action includes the implementation of the experiences provided by habitat 9580*-based LIFE Projects in the Iberian Peninsula (LIFE 12 NAT/PT/950 y LIFE 11 NAT/ES/711). By doing so, the outcomes from the different projects are expected to be comparable and its conclusions to be replicated in other areas across the European Union. 

To this end, a joint monitoring work coordinated by IBADER is taking place and in which every partner is in charge of their enclaves. The inputs from the first and intermediate seminars (Action E1) were taken into account, as well as the collaboration with other previous European projects

The monitoring works that are carried out and will continue to be in place periodically in the future are well differentiated in two levels:

- In detail, through round plots where dasometric and floristic inventories are produced.
- At a second level, where changes in the canopy of habitats will be represented by taking as a reference a number of transects in which monitoring-indicator-related data are collected. 
The monitoring indicators identified in Action A1 by the Bioma Forestal expert team are used. In addition to these, other indicators specific to each enclave may be used, which enable the assessment by stamp or stamp cluster and action type. In all instances, their corresponding verification sources and monitoring protocols are also used.

Photo 4: fruit count at female feet.

The monitoring indicators for Castilla and Leon are the following:

Factor 1. Seed Production: Fruit should be produced in a sufficient amount to allow seed dispersal which leads to the growth of regeneration.
Factor 2.  The existing regeneration several types: The presence of several phases or stages of regeneration is studied in order to examine the pulses of regenerated Taxus baccata at a different time scale in its recruitment.  
Factor 3. Estimated post-dispersal herbivory-predation burden (Regeneration damage): The activity of herbivorous animals (burden or pressure) on Taxus baccata, Ilex aquifolium and other relevant functional seedlings is estimated.   
Factor 4. Forest Dendrodiversity: The wealth of indigenous tree species typical of the habitat other than Taxus baccata is estimated.
Factor 5. Structural Diversity: The structural diversity of the yew tree population is estimated.  

Additionally, these indicators may be subject to a monitoring process on a short-term scale established by the Habitat Directive, that is, every 6 years. These indicators, which are obtained from the most streamlined process, are mostly focused on the regeneration occurrences and the regeneration conservation status throughout its growth during the first stages (Factors 1 to 3).  

Two assumptions proposed in the Basque Country (González et al, 2012) were also included. Those assumptions were adapted to the characteristics of HIC 9580* in the Project Action A1 and they are related to the diversity and structure of the habitat existing species (Factors 4 and 5).