Southern European mountain areas are considered highly sensitive to climate change impacts due to, among others, the decrease in available water, the drought duration and severity or the increased frequency of fires. In addition, these areas have suffered in the last decade’s rural abandonment and reduction of socioeconomic activities, causing a progressive loss of the mosaic landscape and a revegetation of the mountain slopes. These processes have reduced the environmental services provided by mountain areas, such as the provision of water to the lower parts of the basins, as well as the sustainability of agrarian and forestry systems and their economic income. In this context, the project promotes the recuperation of the agro-silvo-pastoral mosaic to reverse this processes and adapt mid-mountain areas to climate change impacts.
In the high slopes of the Andorran Pyrenees, as in other mountain regions, climate change has already begun to alter the landscape. Some species are moving to higher latitudes, and some have begun to decline. The ways humans use the land also causes shifts in the natural order of things, but little research has been done on how people have impacted this particular place. Questions of how climate change and human encroachment continue to alter this alpine world need answers as local organizations work towards sustainable solutions. Wildlife in the Changing Andorran Pyrenees is a citizen science project in which volunteers participate in the field work, studying the most relevant natural components in the tree line, including the soil microbial community, small and large mammals, birds, and black pine trees.
By Jaume Lordan, Xavi Garanto, Xavi Farré, Neus Mas, Gemma Echevarría and Ignasi Iglesias.
The mountain fruit growing project in Catalonia started in 2009 when IRTA (Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology) and ADRR (Association for the Development of the Romanesque Ribagorça) signed the first collaboration agreement; and kept going later on with IRTA and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food of the Catalan government. (more…)