The Alder Buckthorn (Frangula alnus) is a deciduous shrub or tree that produces fleshy fruits that are highly valued by the brown bear and other frugivorous species. It generally appears in riparian forests, fresh hedges, birch forests, borders and oak forest clearings and rocky areas on neutral or acidic soils. It has a great capacity for regeneration, very fast growth and good productivity, making it a very interesting species in the enrichment small forest plantation model proposed in the ‘LIFE Bears with Future’ project.
In September 2021, the LIFE project field team held several days to collect fruits of this species in areas of the municipality of Cabrillanes (León) and the councils of Ibias and Degaña (Asturias), avoiding access to the most visited by bears at the same time. A total of 11 kg of fruit has been collected. Although it is not a species regulated by Royal Decree 289/2003 on the commercialization of forest reproductive materials, suitable stands have been selected within the project’s area of action and the fruits have been adequately labeled and transferred to the Central Forest Nursery of the Junta de Castilla y León, where the seeds will be cleaned and prepared for plant production.
This autumn there has been a very low and irregularly distributed production of Common Whitebeam fruit (Sorbus aria), another species of interest in the project. The different official seed sources established for this species have been evaluated, detecting a great shortage of fruit. Years with low production also tend to give rise to seeds with low viability and low germination rates, which is why it has finally been decided not to collect Common Whitebeam fruits and wait for a year with high fruit production.