The Mediterranean region is one of the most vulnerable areas in the world to the effects of climate change, including flooding and soil erosion. Mediterranean alder forests or residual alluvial forests, a priority habitat of the Habitats Directive (91E0* ‘Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)’, play an important role in stabilised river banks. Alder (Alnus glutinosa) also improves nutrient balance in the soil, useful for colonising degraded areas.
Mediterranean alluvial forests improve water quality, reduce eutrophication, and are habitat for several species of Community interest, such as trout, otter, or Iberian desman. This valuable ecological and hydrological habitat in the Western Tajo river basin is seriously threatened, and in long stretches of historic presence it is already non-existent.
The ultimate goal of the project is to increase the area of alluvial forests in the Tagus river by 1 032 ha (516 km of streams), habitat which now only represents 14% of the length of the river basin. The project focuses on the SCIs of the Western Tajo International Basin. The main threat is severe degradation and loss of water, soil, space and biodiversity.