Throughout this summer, the LIFE RESCUE ALPYR european project team continues the restoration of aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats in protected areas of the Pyrenees and the Alps.
The LIFE RESCUE ALPYR project, led by the CEAB-CSIC, started in January 2022 and must end in 2026. Its main objective is the recovery of mountain aquatic ecosystems, improving the conservation of various habitats and species.
It focuses its efforts on alpine and subalpine ponds and meadows, peat bogs, carbonate springs and mills. The health of these habitats is key for the native species, to recover and protect them, such as the red frog, the totillo, the Pyrenean newt, the muskrat and seven types of insectivorous bats.
Among the main threats to these species are the abandonment of the traditional uses of mowing in subalpine meadows, the excessive presence of livestock around springs, ponds and mulberry trees, the afforestation of mulberry trees and the proliferation of fish in high mountain ponds and streams (introduced by man in the middle of XX century).
The actions of the project act on these threats. Non-native fish are removed, especially tench, in some ponds; there is selective mowing of meadows and assisted migration of plants; the state of conservation of moleras is improved through forest felling; and grazing is managed in semi-aquatic habitats.
LIFE RESCUE ALPYR carries out conservation actions that can be replicated and exported. At the same time, it develops dissemination and awareness initiatives, detailing the problems in the different areas, promoting the assessment of these habitats and involving the population in the recovery and preservation of the high mountain ecosystems.