In November, the permeabilization and improvement in the surroundings of some passages existing in the highway AP-66 have been completed. This action has consisted in the planting of cover native trees and bushes in suitable zones in the proximity of some selected passages. This highway crosses the interpopulation corridor between the two subpopulations of Cantabrian brown bear, contributing to the fragmentation. There are not specific fauna passages or other measures to reduce the barrier effect. However, there are some tunnels, small viaducts and underpasses that can allow the crossing of a bear. In order to facilitate the use of these passages by bears and other large mammals, increasing the vegetation cover in the proximity, we have planted in this project action 32 permeabilization forests constituted by 21,585 trees and shrubs, mainly birch (Betula alba) and 3,232 shrubs (Genista florida, Cytisus scoparius, Cytisus multiflorus) and with a total restored area of 17 ha.
The plantations have been carried out on public land (left over from the expropriations carried out for the construction of the highway) with an authorization from the Spanish Ministry of Fomento, as well as on land owned by municipalities with an Land Stewardship Agreement signed with the corresponding local councils. Willow stakes have been planted in the Public Hydraulic Land, with the specific permission of the Duero Hydrographic Confederation. Plantations works have been developed by forestry companies hiring unemployed people from the area and have been coordinated and supervised by the technical staff and field staff of the project, also responsible for the selection of areas, definition of actions, transportation and plant preparation, coordination with authorities and social actors of the territory and monitoring of plantations.