Summary of the Symposium on Soil and Water Bioengineering as a tool for ecological restoration held inside the SER CONFERENCE the 10th September 2021
Organized by Paola Sangalli, Rosemarie Stangl and Daniel Arizpe from the European Federation of Soil and Water Bioengineering E.F.I.B.
The session presented a wide spectrum of different approaches, from a general overview of the possible applications of Soil and Water Bioengineering (SWB) techniques ln ecological restoration to more specific experiences of concrete projects in a very wide diversity of fields: rivers, coastal areas, lagoons, landslides, roads etc.
Concrete conclusions are as follows:
Greening areas in temperate Europe has to take in consideration species composition and management in order to achieve the desired results. The source and quality of seeds and other propagation materials such as hay is an important issue as is the combination with soil bioengineering and appropriate vegetation and reproduction techniques.
Floating islands of aquatic plants where shown to be a potential strategy for increasing biodiversity in artificial channels and lakes, for purifying water, as well as for reducing slope erosion.
The application of combined techniques of gray-green structures and NBS are becoming more important worldwide to protect seashores and its inhabitants from a generalized increasing erosion risk due to climate change.
There are several strategies that can be implemented to enhance plant establishment processes that are mainly directed to improve soil fertility.
Choosing the right reference scenario in road revegetation projects is an important issue that will determine restoration success and the selection of the most adequate strategies.
The participation of the local community is a key aspect for the success of restoration projects since it can increase project acceptance among the local community, as has been shown in two socially important projects. One in the Adriatic Sea, where a coastal wetland was recovered referring to water quality and typical vegetation communities, and a second one in Nord Spain, where an endangered dam has been requalified.
Humans and its cultural activities are also an important part of the ecosystem. The project LIFE Cañadas showed how cultural landscapes can contribute to biodiversity conservation, and how the management of drover roads can support advancing green infrastructures.
As a general conclusion, we can summarise that Soil and Water Bioengineering, as Nature-based Solution, is able to both mitigate and restore lost ecosystems and to avoid the degradation of our environment. It must work hand in hand (in parallel) with ecological restoration.
The Declaration ‘Scientists in Support of an Ambitious European Union Nature Restoration Law’ was approved on 10.9.2021 resulting of the 12th European Conference on Ecological Restoration organised by SER Europe.
Rosemarie Stangl, Daniel Arizpe,P.Sangalli