The Life+Guguy project has the objective of protecting the habitats present in the ridges of the “Macizo de Guguy” to guarantee the survival of species and environments specially valuable and threatened.
The Life+Guguy project started in 2013 with a scheduled duration of four years. Its action area is located in the municipality of La Aldea de San Nicolás, which is one of the most important areas for environmental conservation on the island of Gran Canaria. The SAC (Special Area of Conservation) 57_GC of Güigüí counts with a large number of endemic species and habitats of interest included in the Natura 2000 network, and in the natural spaces network of the Canary Islands. Is one of the core zones included in the Gran Canaria’s Biosphere Reserve.
The Life+Guguy project has the objective of protecting the habitats present in the ridges of the Macizo de Guguy to guarantee the survival of species and environments specially valuable and threatened, as well as recovering ecological values and the memory of a small lost paradise of the Macaronesia.
The action zone, where the habitats restoration tasks included in the project will take place, is focused on the higher areas (above 700m height) of Los Cedros Mountain (1,006 m) and Los Hogarzos Mountain (1,065 m). It is a very steep area, which shows the magnitude and duration of extraordinary volcanic and erosive processes initiated 14 million years ago.
The aim is to conserve the endemic forest of cedars, junipers, macaronesian heaths and Canary pine forests. For this it is necessary to improve the current conservation state of the flora and fauna of the area and to study permanently the evolution of the natural environment to improve its management. This project will not be able to obtain the desired results without the cooperation of the local population, since for its conservation is fundamental they know the natural wealth surrounding them. Therefore, informative talks and environmental volunteering actions are held with different groups of the municipality.
The budget for this project is 852,808 euros. The Council of Gran Canaria finances a 42,81% and develops it through the public company Gestión y Planeamiento Territorial y Medioambiental, S.A.U. (GESPLAN) that also contributes with a 7.19% of the total. The rest, 50%, is co-financed by the European Union. In 2018, the budget was increased in 105,155.13 euros contributed entirely by the Council of Gran Canaria.
To this end, a series of preparatory actions have been undertaken, as well as elaboration of management and action plans, concrete conservation actions, monitoring of the project’s actions impact and, lastly, public awareness and dissemination of the results.
- To improve the current conservation state of the threatened flora and fauna.
- To recover the habitat and its ecological processes.
- To eliminate the main threats affecting the Güigüi Special Natural Reserve.
- To conserve priority habitat 9560* “Endemic forests with Juniperus spp.”, 4050* “Endemic macaronesian heaths” and 9550 “Canary Islands endemic pine forests”
- To study the habitat evolution to improve its management.
- To raise awareness among the local population about the importance of the Güigüí Special Natural Reserve as one of the Biosphere Reserve cores.
Habitats and species to protect
1. Güigüí Special Natural Reserve / Natura 2000 network.
The Güigüi Special Natural Reserve, due to its inaccessibility, has been preserved from the tourist and agricultural development of its surroundings, that is the reason why it has been kept in an optimum state of conservation.
This Reserve contains an interesting cardonal-tabaibal sample and important remains of thermophilic forests. The peculiar orography of embedded and ancient ravines constitutes a representative formation of the insular geology, which in Güigüí forms a landscape of great beauty. Among the flora, there are some endangered endemisms whose populations are distributed entirely inside the Reserve, with some exclusive species such as the “cabezón” (Cheirolophus falcisctus).
Regarding the fauna, several threatened species of birds nest in the coastal cliffs. From a cultural point of view, it is also noteworthy the existence of archaeological sites in the neighboring mountain of Hogarzales. This space is part of the Red de Espacios Protegidos (Protected Spaces Network) and was declared as such by the law 12/1987 of June 19 th on the Canarian Natural Spaces Statement belonging to the “Macizo del Suroeste” natural park and it was reclassified by the law 12/1994 of December 19 th of Canarian Natural Spaces as Special Natural Reserve. This Reserve is located in the center-west coastal sector of the island, belonging entirely to the munincipality of La Aldea, occupying an area of 2920.9 hectares, which represents a 1.59% of the total island area. The Reserve is an individualized space very well delimited. It is triangle shaped or as an amphitheater open to the sea, and its borders are represented by the Tocomodán Ravine (north-northeast of La Aldea), the Tasartico Ravine (south-southeast) and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its vertices are represented by the Tasartico Gorge (east), the Asno Ravine Point (south) and la Balandra Point (north). Finally, note that this Reserve is part of the European Ecological Natura 2000 network, which is the EU's main instrument to prevent the reduction of biological diversity as a result of some human activities.
2. Species of wild flora to recover
The main actions of this project are aimed at protecting and conserving some of the flora species that survive in this space. In this sense, the first year of the project was destined to the field collection and sowing in the plant nursery. The following years, the individuals grown in the nursery were planted in the Güigüí Special Natural Reserve.
In the next years, plants will continue to be produced according to the needs, increasing the amount of living plants. Every planting work is associated with a drip irrigation system, where fog collectors collect water depositing it in strategically located tanks. This way, we will maintain the populations with a sufficient water supply especially in the summer season, guaranteeing their survival. Plastic protectors will be used to take advantage of the dew drops and to avoid browsing by feral goats and rabbits present in the Reserve area.
3. Installation of fog collectors in Los Cedros Mountain.
Due to the geomorphological characteristics of the action area, it is not possible to easily dispose of water, for this reason, fog collectors have been located in the upper area of Los Cedros Mountain, thus ensuring the supporting irrigation for the settlement of the plants. So far, three collectors have been installed with the aim of capturing water from the abundant mists that affect this mountain. With these collectors it is intended to obtain enough water to carry out the settling irrigations during the year.
Water will be stored in 200L tanks placed in different strategic points for the subsequent irrigation of the plantations.