New seed collection of native species of interest to the brown bear. September 2023

New seed collection of native species of interest to the brown bear. September 2023

New seed collection of native species of interest to the brown bear. September 2023 1000 750 Fundación Oso Pardo

The new seed collection campaign of the LIFE Bears with Future project was carried out over the whole summer. It commenced in July with the collection of wild cherry (Prunus avium) fruits. Subsequently, in August, alder buckthorn (Frangula alnus) fruits were collected, with the fruits of whitebeam (Sorbus aria) and rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) collected in September.

Fruit collection work was undertaken by Brown Bear Foundation field teams in bear areas showing compatible ecological characteristics with the planting terrain selected. The objective is to maintain the areas’ ecotypes and in consequence maximise the success of the plantations by being adapted to the action areas. Within these areas, the fruits of wild cherry, whitebeam and rowan were located within authorised collection sites, given that these are regulated species. The wild cherries were collected in León and Asturias and the rest of the species just in León. Specifically, 217 kg of wild cherries, 20 kg of alder buckthorn, 15 kilos of rowan and 58 kg of whitebeam fruits were collected under licence from from the corresponding authorities and in collaboration with the rangers from each of the areas to certify the seeds of the regulated species.

A member of a FOP patrol collecting whitebeam seeds. Photo FOP

The 77 kg of alder buckthorn, whitebeam, rowan and wild cherry fruits collected in León were sent to the Central Forestry Nursery of the Castilla y León regional government. The remaining 140 kg of wild cherry fruits collected in sources in Asturias were taken to the La Mata Forestry Nursery of the Principality of Asturias. In these nurseries, with which there are collaboration agreements, the fruits will be cleaned and prepared for the production of seedlings to reforest areas of interest under a climate change scenario and away from human settlement.

The wild cherry is a heavily used species by the brown bear at the end of spring and beginning of the summer, when other high energy trophic resources are scarce. It is a highly attractive delicacy for the bears since they have been feeding principally on leafy vegetation since coming out of hibernation.

The alder buckthorn is another highly attractive trophic resource for bears in the summer, while the whitebeam acquires major relevance during the autumn feeding period in years of poor fruiting of other species such as European beech and oak species. The same is true of apples (Malus sp.) and sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa), which have also been planted within the project’s framework.

Finally, although the fruits of rowan are not as attractive to bears as those species noted above, it is still a fruiting species of interest and which together with silver birch (Betula alba), another species also planted by the project, contribute to rapidly increase the high quality tree cover present in degraded areas.

To date within the project’s framework, 18,434 wild cherry, 6,958 alder buckthorn, 7,150 whitebeam, 3,400 rowan, 17,994 silver birch, 5,000 apple and 6,030 sweet chestnut trees, a proportion of the latter two species grafted with local varieties, have been planted to date.

The “Bears with Future” Project, co-financed by the European Union LIFE Project, will be carried out until 2025. It is coordinated by the Brown Bear Foundation in partnership with the Biodiversity Foundation (Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge), and the Natural heritage Foundation of the Castilla y León regional government. The Government of Asturias is co-financer, via the Directorate General for the Environment and Rural Planning, of the Department of Rural Development, Agriculture and Fisheries. Tierra Pura Foundation collaborates technically and co-finances the project.

Compartir esta publicación
WordPress Image Lightbox Plugin