In the month of July 2022, the different Official Seed Sources declared for the collection of cherry (Prunus avium) seeds in León and Asturias were visited to assess the quantity and condition of the fruit produced this season. Unlike the previous year 2021, in which 140 kg of cherries were collected from different Seed Sources in the province of León, this year 2022 has seen low fruit production in many areas of León, linked to late spring frosts that damaged flowering, and yet the existence of a good harvest has been confirmed in some areas of south western Asturias.
For this reason, on July 5 and 6, 2022, the LIFE field team, with the collaboration of the bear patrols of the Fundación Oso Pardo in Asturias, collected 52kg of cherry fruits from trees in the Official Seed Source FS/95/04/33/003, in Taladrid, in the Asturian municipality of Ibias, and on July 13 another 26 kg of cherry fruits were collected in the Official Seed Source FS/95/04/33/001 in San Martín de Eiros, in the Asturian municipality of Cangas del Narcea. The works have been carried out under the supervision of the Seed Sources responsible of the Principado de Asturias (SERPA Services Society) and with the corresponding authorization from the Forestry Service.
The fruits have been transferred to the Central Forest Nursery of the Junta de Castilla y León, where the seeds will be cleaned and prepared for plant production. The cherry tree is a regulated species, so only specimens from seeds collected in forest stands declared as Seed Sources can be planted and all the seed collected must be certified by the corresponding administration, to guarantee the suitability of the origin and the traceability of the plant production process. At a later date, attempts will be made to complete the collection and at the end of summer other seeds of interest will be collected, such as buckthorn (Frangula alnus) or whitebeam (Sorbus aria).
In addition, this summer samples of ripe cherries are being collected from different trees located in bear areas and that have been visited by the bear in this or previous seasons for a nutritional content study that will be carried out in collaboration with the Food Technology Department of the University of Vigo.
A coordinated project
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.