Magazine articles

Summary: We present the results of an intervention to control prickly pear Opuntia dillenii in an area of coastal dunes with Juniperus spp. and Pinus pinea at the ‘Laguna del Portil’ Site of Community Importance, Huelva, southern Spain, in 2015-2017. In the first stage, a total of 2,266 m³ (approximately 460 MT) of the cactus was removed using heavy machinery, which was supplemented by the manual removal of 4 MT of fragments. Subsequently, as part of the periodic control and monitoring work, a total of 200 and 126 kg of shoots and saplings were removed manually after 15 and 25 months respectively. Twenty-six months after the mechanical removal, the composition of native plant species in treated and reference plots (uninvaded areas that represent well-preserved native vegetation) provided evidence of natural recovery. The economic efficiency of the different control stages was compared. The results suggest that combining mechanical and manual methods, adapted to the abundance, size and distribution of the invasive plant, was an effective approach. Additionally, subsequent annual rounds of control appear to be sufficient to provide effective ongoing control of the invasion of Opuntia dillenii.

 

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Summary: Life Conhabit Andalusia is participating, for the first time, in the quarterly electronic winter newsletter of EUROPARC-Spain, corresponding to number 44 published in December 2017. With its contribution in the form of an article, this European initiative, dedicated to the protection of the coastal habitats of Andalusia, explains how they have developed and what their advancement has been over the 3 years that they have been up and running, with details about the actions carried out in the Natura 2000 Network spaces that they cover, as well as explanations of the intended objectives and those that have been achieved.

 

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Summary: Life Conhabit Andalusia participated, again, in the autumn edition of the quarterly electronic newsletter of the Spanish IUCN Committee, number 27, (published in November 2017), with an article about the participation that it is promoting in order to multiply the dissemination of the natural values that it protects (priority habitats and unique species), while it encourages social awareness of the importance of conserving them. Specifically, the article highlights the different sector meetings held by the project with the local councils from towns that accommodate Natura 2000 Network spaces, as well as with tourism companies that carry out their activity in these areas in a sustainable way. The aim is to include them as allies in the divulgence of the environmental richness of spaces that they are responsible for with different collaborations. In addition, it discusses the intention to continue with these meetings and add new sectors to them.

 

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Summary: Life Conhabit Andalusia participated in the winter edition of the Spanish IUCN Committee’s quarterly electronic newsletter, number 24, (published in February 2017), with an article about one of its main objectives: the dissemination of the natural riches and priority habitats to preserve in the 15 Natura 2000 Network spaces that they are responsible for. This is a task which this project, co-financed by the European Union and coordinated by the Environment and Town and Country Planning Department, is intended to promote with the support of the consultancy firm Atlántida Medio Ambiente.

 

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Resumen: Beach evening primrose Oenothera drummondii is a perennial plant native to the southern USA and adjacent parts of Mexico that invades coastal habitats in several countries. There are currently no accepted control methods. We conducted a seven-month controlled field trial using the glyphosate herbicide Roundup® Ultra Plus in the Odiel Marsh Nature Reserve, Huelva Province, southern Spain. Different herbicide concentrations were tested by knapsack spraying. We estimated the costs of treating an entire invaded nature reserve in southern Spain where Oenothera drummondii has invaded 123 ha of land. A dose of 20 g active ingredient/litre was the minimum effective dose for this species in coastal dunes. As new seedlings appeared after a single herbicide treatment, periodic treatments would be necessary to maintain the population level below an impact threshold. However, the total glyphosate input (710 kg active ingredient/year) to the Reserve for an indefinite period may give rise to social rejection, and demands for the assessment of ecotoxicological impact on native fauna, adjacent habitats and site uses before initiating control actions at full scale. The control costs of the entire 123 ha invaded area for two herbicide applications/year were estimated at €162,000/year (€1,317/ha/year). This includes materials (30% of total costs) and workers (70% of total costs). The study highlights the difficulties and constraints of controlling advanced stages of invasions.


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Abstract: The Thymus carnosus Boiss (Lamiaceae) is a small bush indigenous to the south-eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula, listed as "in critical danger" in Andalusia and protected by the applicable legislation. The sandbar of El Rompido, on the coast of Lepe in Huelva, is home to the largest colony in Spain. The spread of retama (Retama monosperma) is a threat to its Preservation. This study describes the characteristics of T. carnosus at the sandbar of El Rompido in regards to its local distribution, robustness, sex-ratio, demographic, and accompanying plant community. Thymus carnosus grows preferentially on fixed dunes with herbaceous vegetation, between the leeside of the primary dune and the most mature coastal sage scrub. The abundance of T. carnosus varied among the colonies studies (n = 1136 and 226 individuals at colonies 1 and 2, respectively), associated with significant differences in the amount of Retama and the composition of accompanying vegetation. Colony 1, with a lower density of Retama, displayed a smaller size structure, with evidence of recruitment and a proportion of hermaphroditic individuals 3.3 times greater than females. For its part, Colony 2, immersed in a fixed dune colonised by mature retama and more closed-off, displayed a greater medium size, with a greater proportion of  females (hermaphrodites/females = 1.9), and without recruitment. Robustness was similar at both colonies. These results provide an updated knowledge of T. carnosus on the eastern edge of its natural distribution and serves as a basis for planning Preservation activities for the species as well as the recovery of its favourable habitats by the Regional Ministry for the Environment and Land Use, as part of the framework of the LIFE CONHABIT ANDALUCÍA project.

 

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Abstract: Evening primrose (Oenothera drummondii Hook) is a plant species native to the southern coast of North America and Mexico that has formed invasive prairies at habitats of European community interest at the Marismas del Odiel Natural Site (Huelva, South of Spain). We evaluate the extent of the invasion by creating a georeferenced densty map of the sandy environments of the site. The extent of the invasion in November of 2014 was 122.77 ha., which is a total of 30.2% of potentially-invadable areas (406.77 ha.) Oenothera drummondii colonises dune environments, with a preference for fixed dunes with herbaceous vegetation. The magnitude of the invasion and the biological characteristics of the species give rise to serious management difficulties, making it recommended to evaluate different control methods according to the current distribution.


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