Welcome – Benvido – Bienvenido – Willkommen

Fragas do Mandeo is a land stewardship charity whose aim is to preserve biodiversity in the area of As Mariñas (Galice, Spain).

With acquisitions of environmentally interesting properties by means of purchase, donation or legacy, and through agreements with landowners, by renting or temporary cession, we aim to conserve this area’s natural spaces.

We act locally, but we think globally. We look after our forests in the interest of all — locals and visitors, current generations and those yet to come. It’s our way of helping to take care of the planet. Help us!

Volunteers at Chelo

14 May 2017

This morning four volunteers got to the spot of Chelo (Coirós) with the aim of definitively eliminating the montbretia (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora) and the small-leaf spiderwort (Tradescantia fluminensis).

Photograph of the volunteersFragas do Mandeo has been working on the eradication of invasive exotic species by the River Mandeo since 2014. On the stretch between the Chelo footbridge and the Teixeiro Bridge, besides the above mentioned species, they have eliminated the garden privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium), the blackwood acacia (Acacia melanoxylon), the Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana), the tall flatsedge (Cyperus eragrostis), the buddleia (Buddleja davidii) and the hydrangea (Hydrangea sp.).

2017 International work camp

10 May 2017

The enrolment period to register for the international work camp that will take place this summer at Chelo ―at the foot of the A Espenuca hill― is already open.

Photograph of a volunteerBetween August 1st and 12th, fifteen volunteers are going to collaborate with us in the elimination of invasive exotic species in the surroundings of the River Mandeo. As a result of a three years ’ work, we have almost eliminated the invasive plants on both banks of the river along the stretch between the Chelo footbridge and the Teixeiro Bridge. Unfortunately, there are several fonts of montbretia (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora) and of small-leaf spiderwort (Tradescantia fluminensis) along the As Bouzas spring, which flows into the River Mandeo by the Chelo footbridge. Propagule can be swept along by the river floods and they can take root on any spot of the riverbanks where they had been eliminated. For this reason the volunteers’ cooperation with this second international work camp is so important.

The work will consist mainly of patiently uprooting the montbretia tubers, trying not to leave any. As for the small-leaf spiderwort, uprooting its fragile stems without leaving any piece behind is enough, since any piece can easily take root. But it’s not all about working, the programme includes cultural and touristic activities which will allow the volunteers to get to know our area. It is aimed at people from 18 to 30 years old, with some vacancies for people coming from abroad and from other Spanish autonomous regions.

Work camps are informal educational tools that cover both participation and volunteering experiences. They promote the involvement of young people in society, allow exchanges between territories and seek to promote the values of coexistence, tolerance and teamwork.

This work camp is promoted by Fragas do Mandeo, applied for by the Coirós Council and organized by the Directorate General for Youth, Participation and Volunteering of the Xunta de Galicia. The management will be assumed by Ribeirán Proxectos Naturais, counting on Jesús Díaz as Director.

For additional information and registration, please consult the card of the Monte de A Espenuca 2017 work camp .

Volunteering with unpredictable weather

1 May 2017

After this spring’s long drought, on the 23rd thirteen volunteers got to the Ollo da Roda reserve (Oza-Cesuras), trusting the weather forecasts of the long-awaited rains on Wednesday. We couldn’t have imagined that the risk was not the lack of water: after the rains, a strong frost fell on Thursday, harming both the surrounding vegetation and the trees we had planted. Fortunately, it rained again yesterday and they seem to be recovering. Work in nature always involves the unexpected.

Photograph of the volunteersLast Saturday a couple of volunteers went to remove litter along the coastal stretch between the A Ribeira and Alameda beaches (Miño), within the protected natural area SAC Betanzos-Mandeo. They filled two sacks of debris and removed several ropes of bateas (mussel culture rafts). They also checked if any Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) had reappeared in the Alameda Beach, finding only four small specimens, which were eliminated.

Today nine people have done environmental volunteering again at Ollo da Roda. On the previous occasion, what with planting and removing litter, there was no time left to eliminate the garden privets (Ligustrum ovalifolium). As spring progresses and the vegetation grows up hiding these bushes and closing in the paths, it became urgent to finish off the work.

So the objective was clear: uproot every one we could find. The volunteers needed a whole morning to achieve it. In the afternoon two volunteers filled a garden trailer to the brim with the uprooted waste in order to take them to a treatment point, and there was still foliage to fill another trailer; in total there were 9 cubic metres.

Thanks to such effective volunteering, the creation of the Ollo da Roda reserve is advancing at a good pace.

Volunteering at Ollo da Roda

17 April 2017

Next Sunday, April 23rd, we will get to the River Mendo in order to work on the reserve we are creating in Ollo da Roda. The spring draws on and we have to take advantage of good weather.

The objective is to eliminate the garden privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium), which we were not able to find last year due to the vegetation height, and some specimens of robinia (Robinia pseudoacacia). At the same time, we will check if any eucalyptus has produced new shoots or has sprouted from seed, and we will remove any litter we can find. Finally, we will plant some donated native trees.

The meeting point will be the Outpatient Clinic of Betanzos, where we will share cars. You don’t need to take any tools, but try to take leather gloves, wear clothes and shoes suitable to work on the woods, and don’t forget something to eat and drink for the mid-morning break.

If you are interested in actively preserve biodiversity, please register for this environmental volunteering day by sending us your data in advance (complete name, ID card, 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 of Betanzos.
Date: April 23rd, 2017.
Time: We will be leaving at 9.30 a.m., coming back at 2 p.m.

A week of intense work

17 April 2017

The coincidence this week of a national holiday and sunny weather allowed us to address a lot of pending work.

Photograph of the volunteersOn Monday a volunteer got to the Sobrado Lake to do the regular tasks of cleaning and maintenance of the bird hide, and to remove litter from the two plots in which we do land stewardship, the banks of the lagoon and the stretch of the Way of Saint James that goes alongside it.

On Thursday morning four volunteers got to the spot of Chelo (Coirós) to continue the montbretia campaign. They spent four hours squatted to uproot the tubers. They didn’t remove so many, since we have almost eradicated it from the banks of the River Mandeo between the Chelo footbridge and the Teixeiro Bridge, where we have already removed more than 172,000 tubers. But their work has been really important to prevent the montbretia (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora) to recover from a few remaining tubers.

Photograph of the volunteersIn the afternoon, three volunteers went to the Ollo da Roda reserve, by the River Mendo. They prepared an area to be planted with native trees, by cutting eucalyptus and piling up the foliage.

The water level at Do Catorce reserve is very low because of dry weather and high temperatures. Amphibians are suffering, since some ponds are getting waterless at a time when tadpoles haven’t metamorphosed yet. We tried to relieve this by taking 340 litres of water, but it wasn’t enough because of evaporation. Finally, we opted for moving those that were stuck on the drying mud to ponds with more water.

On Saturday other three volunteers went over to A Espenuca. The path that crosses the wood plot on the northern slope, in which we do land stewardship, was getting closed in by gorses and brackens, so it needed bush clearance. We went over the eucalyptus elimination too: only a few new shoots appeared, but many other sprouts from seeds. Little by little the native wood is recovering.

Photograph of the volunteersOn Sunday a volunteer did a cleaning route along the banks of the River Mandeo, from the spot of Chelo to Cal dos Arados. We regularly remove litter along the downstream route from Chelo to the Teixeiro Bridge, because it is the most frequented. But more and more hikers walk along the upstream route, so there is always some litter. Additionally, he recorded the spots where he found exotic species: small-leaf spiderwort (Tradescantia fluminensis), cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) and calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica). They shall be eliminated as soon as possible.

In short: a busy week during which people engaged with biodiversity conservation in our area devoted their leisure time to a really effective environmental volunteering.

Pay less in your income tax declaration

5 April 2017

Logo of the Spanish Tax AgencyThe income tax declaration exercise has started today, ending on June 30. All of us have the duty to pay our part. But there are legal ways to pay less and in so doing, support nature conservation.

People who supported Fragas do Mandeo with donations last year have found that the Tax Agency deducted part of the donated amount from their draft tax declaration. For example, those who donated 100 Euro recovered 75 Euro from the amount they would have paid as income tax.

This is because Fragas do Mandeo is subject to the tax regulation for fiscal incentives to patronage. You can find detailed information on the deductions applicable to individuals (IRPF) and companies (corporate tax) in Articles 19 and 20 of the Taxation for Non-Profit Organizations and Sponsorship Taxation Incentives Act (49/2002, December 23.

So now you know! As you benefit from these deductions, we can continue acquiring woodland plots of environmental value to preserve biodiversity.

The Scouts help us in Chelo

1 April 2017

Six young members of the Chan Scout group came over to Chelo this morning, accompanied by two instructors. Three volunteers of Fragas do Mandeo met them there to get to the woodland plot in which we have been doing land stewardship for four months now, thanks to a donation.

Photograph of the ScoutsA deciduous wood, still young, is growing on this plot. The aim of the volunteering day was to eliminate all the low eucalyptus trees that are growing in the middle of native trees, so that the young trees do not have to compete with them and the ecosystem recovers totally.

The work has not been easy. The plot is steep and besides it was the first time the Scouts have done this task. But they were happy with the experience, and we are really grateful because they came from Santiago de Compostela to lend us a hand with the conservation of the native woods by the River Mandeo.

Since we have not finished off all the eucalyptus from the plot, and we have to complete some tasks in other wood plots, we are going to set new volunteering days. If you would like to participate, please contact us (you will find the necessary information in section Contact).

Biology students collaborate with land stewardship

18 March 2017

Photograph of the studentsToday we have accompanied a group of Biology students of the University of A Coruña and two of their teachers to visit the Alameda Beach (Miño). The aim was for the students to start the practice of Botany following the service-learning method, within the agreement signed by Fragas do Mandeo and the University.

This brings the number of working groups to three. On March 6 we accompanied the first group to visit the Do Catorce and the Ollo da Roda amphibian reserves, and on the 13th we met the second group to go through the plots in A Espenuca (Coirós) in which we do land stewardship. In all these places we explained the activities that are being carried out and the difficulties that we face to improve the ecological condition of these habitats.

In total there are 17 students who will study the flora of these areas, so that the knowledge they gain allows us to manage it more effectively. They will identify the existing invasive exotic species, they will determine the composition of the native vegetation, and the data they collect ―plus those gathered by future students on the coming years ―will make it possible to determine the evolution of the flora.

Last volunteering day of the year

11 December 2016

This morning eight people came to the spot of Chelo to participate in the last volunteering day of the year. The objective was to eradicate the small-leaf spiderwort (Tradescantia fluminensis) from the recreational area surroundings.

Photograph of the volunteersThe strength of this invasive exotic plant is its fragility. When uprooted, it easily breaks, which makes difficult its removal. Moreover, any small piece left can take root and recolonize the area. So, you have to be very methodical in its elimination and constant in the subsequent supervision of the area.

The volunteers filled a large sack with the foliage (approximately 1 m3). On top of that, they uprooted hydrangeas (Hydrangea sp.), since it is a species original from the Far East, and two sprouts of blackwood acacia (Acacia melanoxylon) which were already reaching a good size.

After having eliminated other four invasive species, next year we expect to be able to eradicate every exotic species on the banks of the River Mandeo, between the Chelo footbridge and the Teixeiro Bridge (obviously, except eucalyptus, since we would need the improbable permission of numerous owners).

This way we will be able to improve the habitat of a river section which, despite being very frequented by locals and visitors, holds endangered animals and plants on its riverbanks, such as the beetle Carabus galicianus, the narcissus Narcissus asturiensis, and in the water molluscs such as freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) or fish such as Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar).

Land stewardship before the Public Administration

18 November 2016

Invited by the AGCT (Land Stewardship Galician Association) and the Diputación de Lugo (Provincial Council of Lugo), we have taken part in the conference Land Stewardship and Public Administrations that took place at the Terras do Miño Interpretation Centre (Lugo) today.

During our intervention we have had the opportunity to present the project of Do Catorce amphibian reserve. The organizers were very interested in our explanations to a public mainly composed by Administration technical officers, about what the land stewardship agreement we signed with the Coirós Municipality is, how it binds both entities, and the potential of the direct implication of entities like ours in the use and management of natural areas.

The aim of the organizers was to bring knowledge about land stewardship practice to technical officers, civil servants and politicians who manage land belonging to public administrations and areas within fluvial and maritime-terrestrial public domains. Accordingly, they prepared an extensive program, which has had the intervention of Antonio Ruíz (FRECT), Marc Ordeix (Museu del Ter), Martiño Cabana (AGCT) and Ramsés Pérez (ADEGA). We hope that this outreach work eases the collaboration of the different Administrations with land stewardship entities.

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