Climate change mitigation in target areas

Concrete Conservation Actions for Phoenix Palm Groves

This task addresses the climatic aspects affecting the target areas in each of the two regions. In Crete, anthropogenic pressure and the proximity of palm groves to built-up areas make the risk of forest fires one of the most important threats. In Gran Canaria, the selected natural palm groves are more isolated and suffer from limitations due not only to fire risk but also to drought.

  • Prevention of forest-fire risk in both regions: the removal of dead wood within the palm groves will be carried out throughout the project, trying to reuse the organic waste as a mulch layer for the soil. Preventive grazing" will also be tested on both islands, building on recent pilot experiences in Gran Canaria; a new grazing management scheme is particularly needed in Crete, as an integral part of its Palm Grove Management Plan (T.2.3). In addition, fire-fighting infrastructure (5 water tanks and pumps) will be distributed and wells will be rehabilitated around the 6 target palm groves in Crete. In both regions the rational use of water from reservoirs and wells for maintenance irrigation and during heat waves will be pursued, ensuring optimal soil moisture levels for the palm trees and as an additional fire prevention measure.
  • Soil and hydrology improvement in Gran Canaria: a basic ecological restoration of the ravines containing the target palm groves is envisaged, through specific activities to be designed in the Palm Grove Management Plan (T.2. .3), trying to cover the following aspects: conservation of natural alluvial sediments and soils at the bottom of the ravines, reduction of erosion (compaction), increase of infiltration and stabilisation of the banks by limiting the access of livestock and people, elimination of exotic plants and reforestation with endemic species for soil and moisture retention. The specific soil treatment consists of the addition of mature goat and cattle manure 20 cm thick, mixing the first 10 cm evenly with the underlying soil; a chipping of leaves and palm trunks is also added to form a covering framework. All the materials are existing resources in the working area and do not involve an unsustainable extractive process.
  • Soil improvement in Crete: the only stand in Crete that appears to need urgent intervention due to soil erosion is in Martsalos, where the root system of the palms has been exposed, making them vulnerable to both grazing and drying out. As a solution, the construction of dry walls with a total length of 50m is planned.

Action status

It reflects the percentage of work done since the beginning of the action.