Action A.1

A.1. Diagnosis, territorial analysis, and indicator identification

The intention of action A1  is to reduce the degree of uncertainty in establishing the details of the restoration projects , and to establish criteria extrapolated from the whole management of the biogeographic region

In a primary phase of the joint review of the state of conservation and management issues of the wetlands in the different geographical ranges of the project, it is confirmed that the current information for carrying out the necessary actions is inadequate.

  •  There are errors and incoherences in the information included in the Standardized Forms of Natura 2000,
  • also in the cartographical and bibliographical information available,
  • and the representation of the peat bog habitats in the Natura 2000 Network is inadequate.

In this preparatory stage a series of studies for improving the necessary understanding for the execution of the project will be developed.

a) Classification and characterization of the enclave habitats of the project.

Environmental characterization:  Paleo-environmental techniques will be used by creating transects over natural deposits, in areas with a homogenous and significant rate of sedimentation, which are susceptible to record climate variability in short periods of time. In these areas the collection of organic sediments will be carried out using a percussion probe. The columns of sediments will be frozen until their treatment in the laboratory following the habitual techniques for the regeneration and analysis of palynomorphs and micro-debris.  The cores will be dated by applying sedimentologic isotopic techniques. Once the sequences are obtained, they will be treated by hind casting techniques with the aim od reconstructing the changes in the distribution area of the habitats and characteristic species that inhabit the wetlands in each zone in regards to its current distribution. The extraction of samples will be performed in locations where the studies contribute directly to particular conservation actions, to the definition of these actions, to the reduction of uncertainty or to complete the paleo-environmental information of the project beneficiaries.

Physical-chemical Characterization: is preformed through standardized methods which include determination of parameters in situ (02 concentration, electric conductivity, salinity, pH and turbidity),and in the laboratory, where the principal nutrients, cations, anions, heavy metals, solids in suspension, and DBO5.

These tasks include the use of PAM fluorometer technology which will provide information about the temporal dynamics, phenology, and the stress level of the vascular plants that these wetlands contain. The evaluation will be made with the objective of detecting changes that can have a negative impact on the natural dynamic of these plants. The conditions for thermal cycling will be assessed by establishing a network of sensors for continuous recording of the temperatures (air, soil, water) and humidity (air, soil), which will be compared to data from existing weather stations.

 The Cartography of existing habitats for the locations under study will be completed and updated by means of the classification analysis of remote sensing high resolution images (SPOT 5, Quick Bird, Ikonos), analysis of aerial orthophotos (National Plan of Aerial Orthophotos) and field data collection.

The habitat dynamics will be monitored in those enclaves where peat bog habitats have been greatly influenced by changes in land use (especially with the evolution of livestock) over the past 25 years by means of an analysis of changes based on collections of historical images of different nature and resolution. This will identify evolutionary trends and formulate future scenarios regarding the effect of climate change on habitats and species, and to identify and prevent the effects of future threats to their conservation.

b) Indicator identification for the enclaves of the project.

The tasks of classification and characterization of the habitats will make dealing with the indicator identification possible for the assessment of the states of conservation of the habitats studied by the project in the enclaves where the actions of restoration will be carried out (actions C1 to C10). These common indicators will serve to monitor the overall project (action D1) and they will be supplemented at the level of each enclave to the extent htat is necessary.

For the identification of these indicators tasks will be performed in the enclaves where the action will take place, as well as in other habitats which are considered important for a good state of conservation.

The information generated in this section will be used during the development of the project for the design and carrying out of specific conservation actions. It will also be used by the competenet authorities in Natura 2000 of the communities in Spain that participate in the project (GAN and IHOBE) for the management of the N2000 spaces in Navarra and Basque Country respectively.