Working in Sobrado

17 April 2016

Photograph of the observatoryWe do land stewardship (in ownership) in a couple of land plots by the Sobrado Lake. The bird hide is on one of them. We get there from time to time to clean and remove litter from the plots, the banks of the lagoon and from the section of the Way of Saint James that goes alongside it.

Last Saturday we found that the wind had blown down several willows. Nothing was broken, but they stood leaning on the hide´s roof, blinding the sight from the windows. Thus, a couple of volunteers went back to Sobrado to remove them and recover its functionality: birdwatchers will be grateful, especially when it is rainy.

Vigo is going to learn about our work

15 April 2016

Next week in Coruxo (Vigo) there will be a conference on the spreading of the eucalyptus population titled From Asturias to Coruxo: endemic species, native woods and a lot of eucalyptus; it is organized by the Colectivo Matogueira (Matogueira Group) and the Grupo Naturalista Hábitat (Habitat Naturalist Club).

Fragas do Mandeo was invited to explain what land stewardship is and, based on our experience, to show the potential of this strategy for nature conservation with regards to this phenomenon. During the last years we have eliminated eucalyptus from several wood plots in which we do land stewardship, either by acquisition or on long term tenure, with the aim of transforming plots without any forestry profitability into optimal habitats for native fauna and flora.

Together with representatives of the organizing entities, there will be the participation of David Álvarez, from the University of Oviedo, and Antón Masa, from the Asociación para a Defensa da Ría de Pontevedra (Association for the Defence of the Pontevedra Estuary).

You can find additional information by downloading the program.

Place: Office of the Comunidad de Montes de Coruxo, ascent to the chapel of San Sebastián No. 23, Fragoselo (Vigo).
Date: April 23rd, 2016.

Active week

28 March 2016

Photograph of the volunteersAlthough we didn’t set up the market stall on Easter Sunday as we used to because of the unfavourable weather forecasts, we were in no way inactive during the last nine days.

First, we finished drying eucalyptus stumps on the plot we have in Os Vellos (Coirós). Then, we made some barriers to stop the potential erosion on a couple of sites and, afterwards, four experienced volunteers cut down a group of eucalyptus still standing. They used some of the wood to set up benches to comfortably rest under the oaks shadow in future environmental volunteering days, and the rest will be used during the internship of a Free-time Instructors’ course organized by one of our supporters.

Photograph of a mousehole treeWe went to Alameda beach and to Playa Grande in Miño, where we checked the presence of invasive exotic species. In the first one we removed 51 Pampas grass plants and 2 mousehole trees; in the second one, we eliminated half a dozen of small ice plants and the same amount of crocosmia, but most of the time was spent uprooting the periwinkle that reappeared on the three points where we had been working last year. It is important to go frequently over the areas were we had been working, so that any reappearance can be stopped as soon as possible.

Finally, in the land plot located in the northern slope of A Espenuca hill, below the chapel, a volunteer built up the plantation made last year with 80 native trees. The 40 oaks, 25 laurels, 13 elder trees, one alder buckthorn and one common hawthorn came from local ecotypes, since they sprang from a local plot where they had sprouted spontaneously. They were watered by the rainfall of this weekend, so we expect them to take root, grow strong and form a native wood with diverse trees that will be able to harbour diverse flora and fauna species.

In all, a very productive week.

Carral’s interest in land stewardship

16 March 2016

Invited by the Asociación EcoCultural Lacrar (Lacrar EcoCultural Association), next Friday we will be in the Carral area in order to explain what land stewardship is, and to show the progress of the campaigns launched by Fragas do Mandeo for biodiversity conservation in As Mariñas. At the end of the talk there will be some time for participants to ask whatever they want more specifically concerning the aspects they are most interested in.

Place: Cervecería IVI’S, Carral.
Date: March 18th, 2016.
Time: 8.00 p.m.

Really effective volunteers

13 March 2016

Photograph of the volunteers

This morning a group of 20 volunteers were working on the plots by the River Mandeo where Fragas do Mandeo does land stewardship to celebrate the Native species day, promoted by the project Tejiendo Redes (Network Weaving), of the Xarxa de Custòdia del Territori and the Obra Social “la Caixa” (“la Caixa” Foundation).

The day looked perfect, since it dawned sunny and with nice temperature. The volunteers began the day walking a route to get to know the plots in which we do land stewardship. There they could see the delicate flowers of the Narcissus asturiensis, catalogued as endangered species, and the quality of the riparian woods, a priority habitat.

Once the walk was finished, the volunteers divided into several groups and took the tools to start working with determination. The results exceeded our expectations. In the plot of 3.465 m2 where eucalyptus used to thrive, none is left, even though they were more than four meters high and the grove was covered by blackberries which made the work difficult. Along the river bank they uprooted almost 60 garden privets Ligustrum ovalifolium and every Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora they could find. They cut also 5 specimens of Platanus x hispanica. On the contrary, the fragility of Tradescantia fluminensis deceived us since, although it seems easy to uproot, in reality it is really difficult just because it easily breaks ―each piece can take root and produce a new plant― and we could not use rakes because of the blackberries and the branches fallen from the eucalyptus.

Those who were removing litter were not left behind: they filled up to the margin a 4.8 m3 trailer cage with all kinds of litter: a toilet, three tyres, car seats, a motorcycle in parts…

In short: a very productive day which shows that volunteers can do a lot for nature conservation. We express our gratitude to all of them.

Still pending for the future is the elimination of the spiderwort, drying out several shoots of Robinia pseudoacacia and cutting some big eucalyptus in one of the other plots, so that we can assume to have completed the elimination of exotic species in this area.

Hikers from Cambre use the brand new piggybank

5 March 2016

This morning we accompanied a hiking group who came to Espenuca to walk a route along the River Mandeo up to Betanzos. They participate in the hiking program Vente de marcha (Come and go out) that the Council of Cambre has been organizing for 16 years.

At the viewpoint we explained the degradation process affecting our native forests. The eucalyptus trees blind the views from the West face of the viewpoint; from the other sides we can enjoy the panoramic views at the moment, while those trees that were recently cut down do not grow back again. Then we went down to the plot that is being recovered, located to the North of the Chapel, where we explained the work done towards its ecological restoration. Finally, we toured the path which traces through the remaining oak grove, where the group could realize the great contrast of humidity and vegetation compared to wood plots where eucalyptus thrive.

Given that we broke the donations piggybank last month, these hikers used the new one for the first time. We do not know how much money they put into it, but it is weighty now. With this gesture they showed their gratitude for Fragas do Mandeo initiatives. Theirs is an example that should be copied by all groups visiting natural areas, so the entities who are working in those areas for nature conservation can receive a little help from those who enjoy it.

We thank the organizers for inviting us to explain our work and the participants for their help.

Photograph of the hikers

Native Species Day: March 13th

26 February 2016

The second Sunday of March more than 1200 volunteers belonging to 30 land stewardship charities will take part in the environmental volunteering day Native Species Day, being Fragas do Mandeo one of those.

Logo of Tejiendo Redes (Network Weaving)The Obra Social “la Caixa” and the Xarxa de Custòdia del Territori organize this initiative as part of the program Volunteering and Land Stewardship, within their project Network Weaving for land stewardship in Spain 2015-1016. This program objective is to involve civil society in the conservation of our natural heritage, spreading the word about the importance of its conservation, its social values and how land stewardship can help to achieve these goals.

The event consists of volunteering actions performed at different areas in land stewardship during the same day, with the aim of removing invasive exotic species ―since these are one of the main causes of biodiversity loss across the globe―, planting local varieties and restoring habitats.

So, we will take the opportunity to get to the River Mendo banks to eradicate various non-native species from purchased land plots. We have already uprooted from them Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora, Ligustrum ovalifolium and Buddleja davidii, so we will get back there to complete their eradication, removing also a bed of Tradescantia fluminensis and we will dry some specimens of Eucaliptus globulus, Robinia pseudoacacia and Platanus x hispanica. As usual, we will remove all the litter we can find. All this effort will result in the restoration of the riparian wood, which is considered priority habitat and which is home to several endangered species.

The meeting point will be the Outpatient Clinic of Betanzos, where we can share cars. May be there aren’t enough tools for all, so try to take an axe or a hand saw. It is also advisable to wear leather gloves, clothes and shoes suitable for working in the wood, and don’t forget to take a snack and drink for the mid-morning break.

If you are interested in actively preserving our biodiversity, please join us during this environmental volunteering day by sending us your data (complete name, ID, birth date and mobile phone number). Thus, you will be informed on last minute changes, you will be covered by an accident insurance policy and you will facilitate organization. In section Contact you will find the necessary information.

Meeting point: Outpatient Clinic in Betanzos.
Date: March 13th, 2016.
Time: We will be leaving at 9.30 a.m., coming back at 2 p.m.

Change in supervising body

19 February 2016

Logo of the Galician Official GazetteThe Galician Official Gazette (DOGA) publishes today, February 19th, the Order of February 2nd, modifying the assignment of certain charities of interest to Galicia and ordering their registration under the regional autonomous ministries relevant to the exercise of the supervisory functions.

This Order is due to some changes in the administrative structure of the autonomous government Xunta de Galicia. The Regional Ministry for Environment, Land and Infrastructure was renamed Ministry for Environment and Land Management. The Directorate General for the Conservation of Nature comes under its control, as the supervisory body of the nature conservation charities, such as Fragas do Mandeo.

Two meetings, two collaborations

12 February 2016

Logo of the Galician Network of Land Stewardship EntitiesThe meeting of the Galician Network of Land Stewardship Entities was held last Saturday the 6th, where Fragas do Mandeo intervened as one of its founding members. The objective of the Network is to be a platform for interchanging experiences and represent the Galician entities for land stewardship before the public administration; therefore Fragas do Mandeo could not miss that meeting.

Logo of the Glamurs projectInvited by the Person-Environment Investigation Group of the University of A Coruña, Fragas do Mandeo will participate in a workshop that will take place this weekend in the Pazo de Mariñán.

This group of A Coruña, which coordinates other 10 universities and European research institutes, is developing the Glamurs project in order to analyze the diverse factors affecting the sustainable lifestyles and the necessary transformations to achieve a green economy. This study aims to deliver some recommendations on governance strategies for a rapid social transition to sustainability. Our work caught their attention and they would like to count on our vision on biodiversity conservation.

Land stewardship in the face of invasive exotic species

4 February 2016

Poster of the Rede Galega de Sementes (Galician Seeds Network) gatheringThe Rede Galega de Sementes (Galician Seeds Network) has invited us to give a talk on land stewardship and invasive exotic species. This organization, which works for the recovery of Galician traditional seeds and for food sovereignty, will hold the third gathering for seed bartering in Betanzos on February 13th; the program includes a variety of additional activities (street market, workshop, debate, talk, marionettes, music…) along the whole day.

Farmers, whether professional or farming for personal consumption, have a very important role to play against the advance of invasive exotic species. Many species affect them directly, as they are pests which damage crops or infest their fields. Farmers can also act as disseminators and promoters of local actions against these non-native plants and animals.

Fragas do Mandeo will give a talk on the concept of land stewardship as a means of dealing with several environmental matters, and then present the campaigns underway to curb the advance of invasive exotic species that are colonizing our area.

You can find additional information on the website of organización.

Place: Old Slaughterhouse building, Betanzos.
Date: February 13th, 2016.
Time: 5.30 p.m.

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