From October to March, the second plantation campaign has been carried out in the LIFE Bear Defragmentation project. The work has been undertaken by 14 forest workers and one forestry foreman hired from among the local unemployed in the municipalities in the project area. A forestry company has also been contracted to do the hole-digging with a spider excavator.
Between the first and second plantation campaign 61,869 trees have been planted in 178 connectivity forests distributed through diverse areas of the corridor and covering a total surface area of 69 ha. Also 9,750 trees have been planted over 9 ha to create 18 channelling forests close to the best crossings on the AP66 highway, and 8,092 alpine buckthorns in over 11 ha have been planted in adequate limestone areas. There are still some areas pending plantation, which will take place over 2016.
The final results of the two campaigns have exceeded the initial expectations of the project. Based on the preparatory work and advice from the technical services of the Castilla y León government, higher than expected densities were planted (between 700 and 1,100 trees per hectare), depending on whether the spider excavator was able to access the terrain. In some areas, the saplings have been protected from herbivores by provisional perimeter fences and in the other zones using protective tree tubes. The first monitoring of the plantations looks very favourable, pointing to success with high survival rates and good growth.