After several meetings and preparatory work, on June 15, 2021 a working meeting was held at La Mata Forest Nursery (Grado, Asturias) for the organization and preparation of the chestnut plant production campaign for the project ‘LIFE Bears with Future’. David Villar, General Director of Natural Environment and Rural Planning of the Principado de Asturias, Eloy Ron, of the Society of Services of the Principado de Asturias and technical manager of the forest nursery, Pedro Álvarez, professor at the University of Oviedo, Fernando Ballesteros, project coordinator and member of the Brown Bear Foundation and Belén Garzón, Tragsatec technician, participated in the meeting.
The project ‘LIFE Bears with Future’ will plant 25,000 chestnut trees, of which about 20,000 will be chestnut trees grafted with local varieties from each area and the rest wild chestnut trees without grafting. As a very relevant contribution to the project, the Principado deAsturias government will produce 15,000 chestnut trees grafted with local varieties in La Mata Forest Nursery, without cost associated with the project.
The working meeting has allowed to establish the bases and define needs and roles in the production of chestnut trees, which will begin with the collection of seeds in official authorized Seed Sources in autumn 2021 by the technical team of the forest nursery. The LIFE project will provide technical support for grafting work, which can be done in the nursery and/or in the field once the planting is done, with the most appropriate techniques in each case. The project will also inventory and locate old chestnut trees grafted with different local varieties of interest, which can provide suitable plant material for grafting, considering aspects such as resistance to diseases, vulnerability to climate change or productivity and phenology of fruiting.