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The project

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To support the recovery of the riparian forest, mainly the habitats of Community Interest (I.C.) 92A0 and 92D0, as well as their main associated habitats, in one of the most degraded section of its distribution area within the Segura River; although this area preserves some stretches of great interest included in the two Natural Riparian Reserves of the Region (Cañaverosa and Almadenes Canyon), it is located downstream from the largest reservoir in the whole river basin, the Cenajo Dam, which causes a considerable impact in the last remnants of the habitat 92A0 in the Segura River (see Figure 1). It is the area that has experienced the maximum affection and it is still suffering an ongoing degradation of the Habitat 92A0, corresponding to the Vega Alta of the Segura in Murcia, in the river stretches belonging to the municipalities of Moratalla, Calasparra and Cieza.

The loss and degradation of the original habitat represents an advantage for opportunistic and exotic species of both fauna and flora, which entails a reduction of the rich biodiversity that was traditionally bound to the riparian forest or Ripisilva (Populus and Salix-dominated riparian gallery).

In order to achieve this main goal, it is necessary to fight Invasive Alien Species (IAS), since they have colonized the original area of natural riparian forest. This points directly to one of the central problems affecting the Segura River in the Region of Murcia, that of the IAS. Therefore, our main strategic goal is to recover and preserve the ripisilva and its associated habitats, since the priority species of fauna also targeted in this project find their niche in these habitats.

A series of key objectives are established:

  • To create a Green Infrastructure between the two Natural Riparian Reserves of the Region.
  • To regenerate and protect the priority Habitats and habitats of C.I. bound to the river in the project area.
  • To preserve and recover the priority and strict protection animal species.
  • To apply protection measures to the existing threatened Ripisilva masses.
  • Eradication of plant IAS, by means of soft-techniques.
  • Removal of exotic fish and bird fauna through the involvement of citizens and direct intervention of competent authorities.
  • Fire prevention and fire-fighting along the riverbanks.
  • Creation of a Land Stewardship Network for the ‘Vega Alta’ area of the Segura River.
  • To use I.T. as a versatile tool for IAS fighting and biodiversity preservation.
  • Publication of a Regional Comprehensive Strategy for the control and management of IAS in the riparian areas of the Region of Murcia.

Riparian forest