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European project LIFE REFOREST begins the validation of its pilots in areas affected by forest fire

European project LIFE REFOREST has initiated the implementation and validation of its micro-soil system to mitigate erosion and soil loss in two areas affected by forest fires in Galicia and Portugal

 

This project, funded by the European LIFE Program, and led by CETIM Technology Centre, aims to mitigate erosion and soil loss in areas affected by forest fires through an innovative system based on micotechnosols, a combination of inoculated stabilized organic waste with fungi, contained in tubular sleeves of biodegradable material.

 

LIFE REFOREST solution.

Galician (Spain) companies Hifas da Terra and TEN Tecnosuelos, with the collaboration of the Centre for Environmental and Marine Research (CESAM) of Aveiro’s University (Portugal) and CETIM from A Coruña, have allowed the development and optimization of the system to begin its validation this month.

 

After completing the characterization, formulation, design and laboratory development work of LIFE REFOREST solution, the installation work for this solution has now begun in the two pilot locations selected for testing its effectiveness. The Gargamala Mountain Hills, in the Galician municipality of Mondariz and the Oliveira de Azeméis mountains in the central region of Portugal are the areas affected by recent fires that will allow evaluating the performance of this solution and validate its evolution.

 

AFG, la Asociación Forestal de Galicia, y FORESTIS, Asociación Forestal Portuguesa, socios del proyecto, han permitido una adecuada selección de las áreas incendiadas y, conjuntamente con CESAM y CETIM, han logrado una rápida y eficaz instalación de ambos pilotos en los montes que gestionan.

 

Portugal and Spain stand out in Europe for being the countries most affected by forest fires. 80% of the burned European area is concentrated in the Mediterranean area, with both countries having the highest number of affected areas.

 

More than 200 m2 of burned forest area have been protected with biodegradable sleeves of micotechnosols that will allow a rapid recovery of the vegetation cover, also minimizing the contamination of the bodies of water near these areas.

 

Additionally, LIFE REFOREST micotechnosol will provide organic matter and nutrients to the soil, as well as seeds of fast-growing herbaceous plants, to accelerate the restoration of plant coverings – eucalyptus in Portugal and pinewood in Galicia, promoting water infiltration.

 

The retention of the soil structure thanks to the rapid development of fungal mycelium will guarantee the recovery of the two ecosystems – it is expected to achieve a 70% reduction in the erosion of these soils.

 

LIFE REFOREST solution.

During the next two years, until the summer of 2021, both associations, CESAM, Hifas da Terra, TEN Tecnosuelos, Indutec Ingenieros and CETIM will validate the effectiveness of the LIFE REFOREST system in soil erosion and pollution of runoff waters, evaluating its future replicability in other European areas affected by this important problem.

 

In order to facilitate future LIFE REFOREST solution market implementation, the project will develop guides that help the system’s replicability and transferability in other geographical areas burned in Europe. In parallel to the technical validation of the solution, Indutec Ingenieros will carry out the life cycle analysis to assess the environmental impact of the new solution, as well as the analysis of the associated economic costs.

 

LIFE REFOREST project will therefore contribute to the improvement of soils eroded by fires in Europe, also helping to implement the principles of the Circular Economy through the recovery of waste and by-products. Likewise, the European Soil and Forest Strategies and the European Water Directive will be favored by the development of LIFE REFOREST.