The Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda (DACC for its name in Catalan) of the Government of Catalonia is part of the LIFE medCLIFFS consortium and is the administration responsible for implementing policies related to natural heritage and biodiversity in Catalonia.
In this field of action, LIFE medCLIFFS involves both the invasive alien species management service and the Cap de Creus Natural Park, the protected natural area where most of the project’s actions are carried out.
The Cap de Creus Natural Park
The Cap de Creus Natural Park, located in the extreme north of the Alt Empordà region, was created 25 years ago as a result of popular demands that took place during the 1990s. The creation of the Natural Park marked the beginning of the protection, revitalisation and management of a unique area of around 13,900 hectares, both maritime and terrestrial, and with very significant anthropic pressure, mainly due to tourism.
Part of the beauty of the unique landscape of the Cap de Creus Natural Park is due to the habitat HIC1240 – Mediterranean cliffs with endemic Limonium spp.. With about 303 ha of the habitat 1240, the Natural Park of Cap de Creus is the most representative protected area of this habitat in the Iberian Peninsula and, for this reason, it becomes the priority area of action of the LIFE medCLIFFS project.
In addition to common species of coastal flora, such as sea fennel (Crithmum maritimum) and sea plantain (Plantago maritima), the cliffs of Cap de Creus are home to endemic species such as Armeria ruscinonensis, Limonium geronense, Limonium tremolsii and Seseli farrenyi, some of them endangered and true botanical jewels that grow nowhere else in the world.
All of them face, among other threats, the increasing presence of invasive exotic flora species in the area.
LIFE medCLIFFS actions
Within the framework of the LIFE medCLIFFS, several works are being carried out to control the invasive species with the greatest impact in the Cap de Creus area and which pose the greatest risk to the survival of the endemic species, with the aim of defining effective protocols for action:
- Vertical works on cliffs to eliminate the sea fig (Carpobrotus sp. );
- Biological control of prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) with the carmine mealybug (Dactylopius opuntiae);
- Localised and minimum dose chemical control for Gazania rigens.
These works are carried out in both public and private areas, with the collaboration of the owners of the gardens located right next to the cliffs, where these invasive plants grow.
Apart from these interventions, the DACC contributes to the dissemination of LIFE medCLIFFS, especially in the area of Cap de Creus through the Natural Park, and actively promotes environmental education activities about the project through various cooperative games aimed at different age groups.