Restoration of Iberian elms (Ulmus minor and U. la.. (LIFE elm)
Restoration of Iberian elms (Ulmus minor and U. laevis) in the Tagus River basin
Start date: Jul 1, 2014,
End date: Sep 30, 2019
Elm groves are included in the EU Habitats Directive (subtype 2.3 of habitat 92A0). They have suffered degradation as a result of alterations to their habitat and the introduction of Dutch elm disease (DED) â leading to fragmentation and the risk of extinction for the European white elm (Ulmus laevis). Across Europe and America elm groves are seriously threatened.
The project aims to apply the knowledge and genetic resources generated over the 27 years of the Spanish Elm Breeding Programme and by the EU project RESGEN 78, âConservation of Genetic Resources of European Elmsâ, to restore the ecological role and functions played by elm groves.
Specifically, the project aims to:
Reintroduce Iberian elms to riparian habitats of EU importance (Natura 2000 network sites) belonging to the Tajo River basin; and
Integrate the conservation of Iberian elms and their biodiversity in the forest management plans and in the nature protection legislation.
In order to achieve these aims, the project plans to:
Develop in vitro propagation techniques of seven Iberian elms (Ulmus minor) clones resistant to DED, allowing the use of these clones as forest reproductive material;
Achieve stable and representative communities of the elm grove habitat in natural areas for evaluating and controlling the environmental adaptation of the clones and seedlings planted; and
Disseminate the project results.
The restoration of Iberian elms on 290 ha of riparian lands of the Tajo River basin. Around 9 000 native U. minor trees will be planted on calcareous soils, representing seven clones catalogued by the Spanish Environmental Administration because of their resistance to DED, along with 7 000 seedlings of U. laevis from two relict populations of the Tajo River basin, on siliceous soils;
A comprehensive plan of action for integrating the Iberian elms in forest management plans and in the nature conservation legislation;
A good ecological functioning of the restored communities, and socio-economic benefits in the action areas; and
Increased public awareness of the importance of elm recovery as a key element of our natural and cultural heritage.
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