One hectare more

22 December 2014

Photograph of the property titleToday we signed the purchase deed for 10,109 m2 of woods at the Notary’s of Mr. Óscar López and Mr. Gonzalo Freire in Betanzos.

These are several plots on the slope of A Espenuca hill (Coirós). Most of them border the River Mandeo, holding an excellent riparian forest, which is part of the protected natural site SAC Betanzos-Mandeo, listed as priority habitat.

As on previous occasions, this acquisition was achieved thanks to the people who are supporting us with their small contributions.

Would you like to take an active part in the preservation of our woods in perpetuity? All is explained in section Join us! and you can also consult us directly (in section Contact you can find the necessary information).

Donation of two woodland plots

19 December 2014

Today was a very special day, since we signed the donation deed of two woodland plots that amount to 2.464 m2. Ms. María Lourdes Regueira and Mr. Xabier Vázquez, a couple living in Perillo (Oleiros), had the generosity to donate them to Fragas do Mandeo, so that their natural value is preserved in perpetuity.

Photograph of both donorsBoth woodland plots are in Pousadoiro (Aranga), bordering the River Mandeo, and harbour native forest. They are not part of the protected natural heritage site SAC Betanzos-Mandeo, since they are located upstream of Ponte Aranga. Nevertheless, they are located in an area officially proposed for SAC extension, since they hold riparian and hillside forests of great ecological importance on one of the steeper banks of the river.

Fragas do Mandeo is grateful to Ms. María Lourdes and Mr. Xabier for this donation. In addition to the environmental value of these two woodland plots, this is the first donation received since our foundation. We hope that their gesture will serve as an example and encourages other people to cede us woodland plots that are not being exploited.

Donations to Fragas do Mandeo involve two advantages. First, and most important, is the satisfaction of becoming actively engaged in the preservation of the nature of our area, having the guarantee of perpetuity. Second, the tax advantages (deduction of 25% of the donated value from income tax, and a 35% deduction from corporate tax).

You are still in time to make a donation before year-end. You can find additional information in section Join us! or else you can contact us directly (in section Contact you can find the necessary information).

Signing the Declaration of Barcelona

7 December 2014

By signing today the Declaration of Barcelona, Fragas do Mandeo expresses our desire to support the European movement for land stewardship and to contribute to its development by sharing experiences and collaborating with land stewardship entities across the continent. The text is the result of the debate between public and private entities meeting in the first European Congress of Land Stewardship, held in Barcelona last month. Nature has no borders and requires our mutual support in order to preserve its biodiversity and maintain the utility of their ecosystems.

Two meetings in Ferrolterra

1 November 2014

Saturday, November 8th we have two meetings in the Ferrolterra locality.

Early in the morning, we will be giving a speech on our activities to protect native forests at the Ateneo of Ferrol, as part of a conference on the eucaliptization of Galicia and the Cantabrian coast; it is organized by Verdegaia. We will be accompanied by the Organización Galega de Comunidades de Montes Veciñais en Man Común (Galician association of woodland ownership and management communities), the Federación Ecoloxista Galega (Galician Ecology Federation), the Monte Pindo Parque Natural Association, the University of Oviedo and the Lurgaia Foundation.

Later on, we will move to Esmelle, within the same Municipality, to explain our experience at the XI Conference of Esmelle Project, organized by the Valle de Esmelle Association. The program includes talks on the area´s wine, the sustainable exploitation of marine algae and on a very worrying invasive exotic insect: the Asian hornet (Vespa velutina).

Date: November 8th, 2014.
Event: Conference on the Eucaliptization of Galicia and the Cantabrian Coast (see program).
Place: Ateneo Ferrolán, 202-204 Magdalena street, (Ferrol, A Coruña).
Event: XI Conference of Esmelle Project (see program).
Place: Muíño do Ferreiro, Esmelle (Ferrol, A Coruña).

Chestnut-roasting time

27 October 2014

Photograph of an open shellIn the photograph you can see a plain open shell, showing its small chestnuts. But for us it is much more than that. It is the fruit of a whole year of work.

First, we had to cut down the eucalyptus. Then we prepared the wood plot to be reforested, piling the foliage, cutting down gorses, lifting and staking the native trees that survived the felling and, finally, we dried the eucalyptus stumps so that they do not produce new shoots. When the spring came, we planted mycorrhized chestnut trees on the spots with no trees, hoping that in the future they produce enough shade to thwart underbrush proliferation, so helping prevent the spread of fires and producing food for wildlife. In summer we had to water them and go back over the stumps that had not dried yet.

One year later, many of the chestnut trees planted show small shells. But the important thing is that a eucalyptus wood of 7,702 m2disappeared; instead, a native forest is growing little by little.

The campaign one more chestnut tree, one less eucalyptus goes ahead. We have to go on purchasing woodland plots (we do need more donors!) and the work on the plots is not complete (we do need more volunteers!). Come and lend us a hand with whatever you can.

Galician Network of Land Stewardship

22 October 2014

Next Saturday we have a meeting in Rábade. Invited by the Galician Association of Land Stewardship, the Galician entities are going to meet in order to create a regional network.

For several years we have been coordinated by the Galician Grouping of Land Stewardship Entities, who represented us at the National Land Stewardship Forum. But it was time to formalize this grouping by means of an entity to represent us before the government agencies and to promote regulations that boost stewardship in Galicia.

There will be several talks throughout the morning, being invited Fragas do Mandeo to explain their work in these four years of activity. In the afternoon, we will have a working session to finish the drafting of statutes and formalize the network.

You can get additional information by downloading the program.

Place: Centro de Conservación y Estudio de la Naturaleza Casa das Insuas, 27 José Pardo street, Rábade (Lugo)
Date: 25 October 2014

Two new oak woods

15 October 2014

Photograph of the property deedToday we went to the offices of the Notaries Mr. Óscar López and Mr. Gonzalo Freire in Betanzos to sign the purchase deed of two oak woods that amount to an extension of 5,239 m2, located on the banks of the River Mandeo, one near Chelo and the other in Ois (Coirós).

Both woodland plots border the river and therefore they form part of the protected natural heritage site SAC Betanzos-Mandeo. They are well preserved and, although oak is dominant, there are also other tree species, having a great value as riparian forest and as a refuge for many endangered species. With this acquisition, the conservation of a suitable habitat for those plants and animals is guaranteed in perpetuity.

Once again, we are grateful to the people who are supporting us, allowing the purchase of these oak woods with their modest donations.

Break with indifference and be encouraged to do your bit for the conservation of the nature of our region with a donation to Fragas do Mandeo, punctual or periodic, no matter how small that is. You can find additional information in section Join us! or else you can consult us directly (in section Contact you will find the necessary information).

New acquisition by the River Mendo

8 October 2014

Photograph of the property titleToday we went to the offices of the Notaries Mr. Óscar López and Mr. Gonzalo Freire in Betanzos to sign the purchase deed of a woodland plot of 3,465 2. It is located by the banks of the River Mendo, in the Oza-Cesuras Municipality.

Until recently this plot had eucalyptus, but the owner had them cut down, so we took the opportunity to negotiate the purchase. Now they are sprouting, so we will have to schedule an environmental volunteering intervention to dry them. However, oaks, chestnut trees and birches damaged by the felling are sprouting too; moreover, there are alders and ash trees that survived along the 96 metres by the river border. Thanks to the efforts of volunteers and to the spontaneous recovery capacity of nature, in the future we will see on this plot a beautiful riverside wood to be preserved in perpetuity.

As in previous occasions, we would like to thank those who are supporting us and allowed the purchase of this plot with their donations. Should you like to join them, you can consult section Join us! or else you can ask us directly (in section Contact you will find the necessary information.

Success of the III Week of Land Stewardship

1 October 2014

Now that the third conference of the Week of Land Stewardship in As Mariñas of A Coruña and the River Mandeo Area is over, it is timely to take stock.

The opening day on the 20th was fully satisfactory. The speakers were able to woo the audience and, considering that the talks were so specialized, we consider the audience of 55 people a success.

Photograph of volunteers at workThe following day 18 volunteers went to Alameda beach, in Ponte do Porco (Miño). With that day’s work and the review carried out subsequently, they succeeded in eliminating the Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana), the Canadian horseweed (Conyza canadensis) and the ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis). Although we had already eradicated it in 2011, a small branch had taken root, possibly brought in by the tide.

There were four sacks type big-bag full of vegetal waste from invasive exotic species. Moreover, there were also two sacks full of litter, plus four piles of fishing gear and ropes from bateas (rafts for mussel cultivation), which were not put into the sacks because of their weight and volume. Therefore, mission accomplished.

But there was a surprise.

Photograph of Dorycnium rectumWe were intrigued by a shrub that grows on the beach because it does not appear in the Galicia flora guides, and there was a single specimen. Should it have been a new invasive species, it was the moment to eliminate it.

As a precaution, we asked Dr Elvira Sahuquillo, from the University of A Coruña, to confirm the plant’s identity. It turned out to be a native species of the Iberian Peninsula, the Dorycnium rectum. It has several names in Spanish, among them carretón bravo or emborrachacabras. It is found in the Mediterranean regions, living in reed beds and meadows close to watercourses, mainly on basic substrates. It is rare in Galicia, having only been cited in Lugo and Pontevedra.

Since it is the first time that it has been found in the province of A Coruña, we botanized some small branches and sent them to the SANT Herbarium of the University of Santiago de Compostela. It is headed by Dr Javier Amigo, who had given a speech on the flora and habitats of our area on the opening day of the conference.

Dr Jaime Fagúndez, of the University of A Coruña, gave a lecture titled The threat of exotic invasive species in As Mariñas. Addressing an audience of 36 people, he made known those species present in our area and emphasized the huge problem they entail if we remain indifferent to this problem.

Photograph of the speech on invasive species

Saturday the 27th in the afternoon was the most complicated day. It was the first time that we had organized the eco-regatta. After a slight delay at the start, five boats with their corresponding teams ―identified by scarves of different colours― left for the reed bed sectors that had been earmarked for clear-up. The boats had to make several trips back to the dock, and little by little the mountain of garbage grew on the dock.

The eco-regatta finished before scheduled, because we ran out of sacks: we had purchased 200, thinking that they were more than enough! They were filled with bottles, plastics and all kind of litter, plus two fridges, one freezer and one television. A truck tyre and an abandoned zodiac boat full of litter were also towed away.

After spending the afternoon playing and collecting garbage at the dock, a group of children formed the jury. They awarded the first prize, a cod pie, to the team that presented the television set, and meat and tuna pies to the finalists. The 33 participant volunteers shared these symbolic prizes while they chatted about the day.

The 21 participants in the simultaneous cleaning of the Galician rivers ―among them six children― picked up 28 sacks of litter and one toilet bowl. In the stretch of river that was covered, from Os Cabalos Bridge up to the A Ermida Bridge, we found not too much litter, because we had already cleaned it last year; this proves that when an area is cleaned, the results can still be noticed in subsequent years. Most of the litter was picked up at the foot of the bridges, where illegal landfills are formed.

Fragas Mandeo considers the balance really positive: a new species for the province, three invasive species eradicated from Alameda beach, 163 participants and approximately 25 cubic meters of waste less in the environment. Thus, we thank speakers, participants and volunteers for their participation, as well as collaborating municipalities and entities.

Appointments for the III Land Stewardship Week

7 September 2014

Logo of LandLife WeekAs in previous years, at the end of this month we will be holding our next Land Stewardship Week. As well as conferences and volunteering activities, there’ll be something new: the eco-regatta, a fun race which includes parallel activities for children. With all these events on offer we’re hoping for a great turnout—kids and adults both.

We’re not the only ones organizing activities related to land stewardship: all around Europe similar events are programmed within the LandLife Week.

This time the core issue is the conservation challenge we face in the As Mariñas area and the possibility of undertaking it by means of land stewardship. The aim is to get people familiar with some of the animal and plant species present in the biosphere reserve area which require our attention and care because they are endangered.

Image of the program of the III Week of Land Stewardship in As Mariñas of A Coruña and the River Mandeo AreaThe objective is to foster a culture of conservation of biodiversity in this area, so that both private and governmental institutions take into account the vital needs of the various species prior to undertaking actions or activities in the natural environment. Thanks to leading researchers, we will come closer to the life of some jewels that make up the natural treasure hidden in As Mariñas.

As in previous years, the week is being co-organized by the Association for Rural Development Mariñas-Betanzos and by Fragas do Mandeo. Funding is provided by Mariñas-Betanzos, since Fragas do Mandeo earmarks 100% of the donations received for purchasing woodland plots of environmental interest, and therefore does not have the means to fund this kind of event. We also have the collaboration of GADISA, who provide the catering for the volunteering days.

Please download the program and the poster and share them among your personal circle and social networks, so that you help everyone to have the opportunity to participate.

To register for the volunteering days and the eco-regatta, please contact the organization by phone 981 669 541 or by e-mail This way you will be covered for accident insurance and you’ll receive detailed instructions in advance.

Conference on the role of land stewardship in conservation: To start the week we have planned a set of talks entitled Land stewardship and conservation: Challenges of biodiversity preservation in the area of As Mariñas. Following the presentation by the Mayor of Betanzos, Mr. Ramón García, and the President of the Association for Rural Development Mariñas-Betanzos, Mr. José Antonio Santiso, we will give a brief review on the achievements of Fragas do Mandeo during its four years of existence.

Image of the poster of the III Week of Land Stewardship in As Mariñas of A Coruña and the River Mandeo area.The first talk will be carried out by Dr. Javier Amigo, a botanist from the University of Santiago de Compostela, who will tell us about the most endangered flora of this area and the habitats where it thrives. After this, Dr. Pedro Galán, a zoologist from the University of A Coruña, will take part focusing on endangered amphibians and reptiles. After the morning break, Dr. Paz Ondina, a biologist from the University of Santiago de Compostela, will talk about the complex life cycle of the scarce freshwater mussel and its dependence on migrating fish. To end the day, the ornithologist Mr. Sergio París, of the Galician Association of Ornithology, will explain the worrying situation of several bird species of this area and what we can do for them.
Date: September 20th, from 9.30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Place: Blue Room at the Betanzos Liceo.

Volunteering in Ponte do Porco: We will start the environmental volunteering activities with the elimination of exotic invasive species that threaten the biodiversity of Alameda beach and, at the same time, we are going to remove all the litter we can. Three years ago we started rooting out the ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis) and the Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana), since a few are still sprouting. On this occasion we will also fight the Canadian horseweed (Conyza canadensis). As on previous occasions, we have the collaboration of the Council of Miño. Please contact us in advance if you would like to take part. Additional information can be found on the information sheet.
Date: September 21th, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Place: Alameda beach (Ponte do Porco, Miño).

Conference The threat of exotic invasive species in As Mariñas: The Professor of Botany of the University of A Coruña Dr. Jaime Fagúndez is going to explain how exotic invasive species have become the second biggest cause of biodiversity loss at planetary level, focusing on those plants and animals with greatest impact in our region and on how to stop their spread.
Date: September 24th at 8 p.m.
Place: Blue Room at the Betanzos Liceo.

Eco-regatta in Betanzos estuary: Instead of competing to be the quickest, this race’s rivalry will be for taking care of the estuary. The participants on the boats, supported by their teams on land, will strive to collect the biggest quantity and the oddest piece of garbage. The start and finish line will be in the port of Betanzos, where there will be some food, drinks, music and children’s activities. The collaborating entities are Amigos dos Ríos de Betanzos, Canoeing Club, Association Ría do Pedrido, Association Regato dos Mouros, Lar de Unta and Casa Castillo Betanzos. If you feel like taking part, please contact us, even if you don’t have a boat. Additional information can be found on the informative sheet.
Date: September 27th, from 3 to 8.30 p.m.
Place: Port of Betanzos.

Simultaneous cleaning of rivers: We are going to the surroundings of the River Mendo to take part in the seventh simultaneous cleaning of rivers in Galicia coordinated by Proxecto Ríos. We will start the cleaning at Os Cabalos bridge, to follow the route by the river bank up to Taibo bridge, collecting all the garbage we find. It is a 6 km-long protected natural heritage site which deserves to be preserved in good condition. The path is not hard going but it is advisable to wear appropriate clothes and footwear, and gloves too. Please, contact us in advance in case you would like to participate. Additional information can be found on the informative sheet.
Date: September 28th, from 9.30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Place: We will start at the outpatient clinic in Betanzos.

The Land Stewardship Week is more than just a cultural event. It is the opportunity for people worried about our region’s natural heritage to work together in direct and efficient actions.

Break with indifference and get moving for biodiversity: Do your bit!

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