Completion of work on measures to protect habitat 9580* in Galicia against unnatural conditions

The project has been implemented in the Monte Vecinal em Mano Comun (MVMC) of Riocereixa, of Pedrafita do Cebreiro, in Lugo. The LIFE BACCATA project aims at improving the conservation status of habitat 9580* in 15 SACs in the Cantabrian Mountains, acting on the habitat conservation status indicators: area of occupation, structure and functions, and future perspectives.

In Galicia, the project operates in the Monte Vecinal en Mano Comun (MVMC) of Riocereixa (Pedrafita do Cebreiro, Lugo), within the SAC Os Ancares - O Courel (ES1120001), in whose area 15 ha of habitat type 9580* will be restored by means of a forest plantation with its characteristic species, thus improving its structure, composition and connectivity, all of which will lead to an improvement in its state of conservation.

In order to improve the future prospects of the action carried out, Action C5 of the project envisaged the implementation of preventive management to protect against the damage that forest fires can cause to the ecosystem, endangering habitat 9580* and specimens of its characteristic species, Taxus baccata. It should be noted that forest fires  are a common threat to all forest habitats in the Iberian Northwest and are especially harmful to priority habitat types such as the shingles, where regeneration and recovery is slow. In recent decades, it has been possible to document several high-intensity fires in the area surrounding the LIFE BACCATA action area, causing serious effects on the forest ecosystem.


Consequently, the risk of damage by forest fires can be a determining factor in achieving the project's objectives. Therefore, LIFE BACCATA has chosen to adopt a proactive stance and to adapt the structure of the forest masses and the surrounding habitats, avoiding fuel continuities and improving the firebreak function of the existing roads in Riocereixa's MVMC. To this end, silvicultural treatments have been carried out both on the forest roads that give access to the forest and those that cross it, so that they are suitable to serve for the establishment of lines of defence against fires, as well as to facilitate access to means of extinction, if necessary.


The action has been carried out by TRAGSA during the year 2019 based on the technical planning elaborated by IBADER. The personnel involved by both partners of LIFE BACCATA has allowed to take advantage of the synergies of a highly qualified team with great experience in the planning and conservation of habitats of community interest, as well as in the execution of forestry works.


The preparatory planning work carried out by IBADER has differentiated the sections of forest roads that were in a bad state of conservation in terms of their forest fire prevention/defence function, from those that were in a better state of functionality. As a result of the planned execution and correctly evaluated by IBADER, TRAGSA improved a total of 16.9 km of forest roads in the MVMC of Riocereixa, of which 10.3 km corresponded to motor grader work for the roads in a worse state of conservation, which were complemented by the remaining 6.3 km that received specific actions carried out with manual means on the roads that were in a better state. This has made it possible for LIFE BACCATA to exceed by far (a surplus of 6.9 km) the target figure initially set, which was to improve 10 km of forest roads in Galicia.


In this way, LIFE BACCATA has implemented a good practice conservation action of a highly demonstrative nature, in which appropriate planning has been carried out.This action took into account the key elements for conservation and assessing the sections of forest roads, which has allowed  efforts to be rationalised and to exceed the objective set during the project's application phase.