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 shrub clearing to promote extensive livestock, for fire risk prevention and other environmental issues (soil quality, landscape structure, water resources). In Aragón, this pilot experience is located in “La Garcipollera” Research Station (Government of Aragón) (Central Pyrenees, Huesca, Spain).
The pilot experience is carried out in one abandoned field (in calcareous soils) covered with natural vegetation (Genista scorpius, Rosa gr. Canina, Juniperus…) following the criteria of the Government of Aragón. In the plot, 3 sub-plots are fenced and different livestock load (no load, low, medium and high) will be applied (first season summer 2020). A total of 12 sub-plot will be studied and monitored. 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 February 2020 after shrub clearing. Once the shrub has been removed, subplots are being prepared (10 x 10 m). In these plots, different assays will be carried out over 4 years: (i) different sheep 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, as well as soil moisture, will be continuously measured in the different plots. This monitoring will allow us to know the effects of shrub clearing and livestock activity in water resources, pasture and soil quality.