Adaptation measures: Forest management for fire risk prevention in La Garcipollera, Aragón

One of the main objectives of the LIFE MIDMACC project is the implementation and testing of different landscape management measures to meet climate change related challenges and to improve socioeconomic development in mid-mountain areas of Spain. One of these adaptation measures is the application of forest management for fire risk prevention and promotion of extensive livestock in Mediterranean mid-mountain areas. In Aragón, this pilot experience is being carried out in “La Garcipollera” Research Station (Government of Aragón) (Central Pyrenees, Huesca, Spain).

The pilot experience is carried out in a Pinus sylvestris area. Forest management has been applied to address three main objectives: (i) reduction of forest water stress, (ii) reduction of forest risk, (iii) increase carbon sequestration when possible. The forest management has mainly consisted of shrub clearing in order to reduce fuel continuity and promote mature structures. Each plot is subdivided into 2 subplots with 3 replica with different stocking rate (no load and one or two cows). In addition, one plot with no intervention to monitor the site evolution with no actuation has been selected close to the managed area.

The following images have been taken in October 2019 and January 2020 after forest management. Once the vegetation has been removed, subplots are going to be prepared (20 x 20 m). In these plots, different assays will be carried out over 4 years: (i) different cows number will be introduced in the different plots; (ii) soil measurements will be taken before and after extensive livestock activity; (iii) vegetation samplings will be carried out also before and after extensive livestock activity; (iv) seasonal rainfall simulations; and (v) temperature and humidity and soil moisture will be continuously measured in the different plots. This monitoring will allow us to know the effects of forest management and extensive livestock activity in water resources, pasture and soil quality, and to better understand the vulnerability of forest in Mediterranean mid-mountain areas to the impacts of climate change.

Pilot plot before (left) and after (right) forest management in La Garcipollera.
Control plot in forest management in La Garcipollera