Improving biodiversity in the green belt of Vitoria-Gasteiz through the project Urban Klima 2050


The Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council, through the Centre for Environmental Studies - Centro de Estudios Ambientales, and together with around two dozen institutions and agents from all over the Basque Country, is taking part in the  LIFE  IP Urban Klima 2050 project for deploying the Basque Country’s Climate Change Strategy - KLIMA 2050 within an urban setting. This strategy’s remit is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time working to build up our country’s resilience to climate change.

Within this framework, Vitoria-Gasteiz is focusing one of its core measures on reinforcing the link between the city and the countryside by promoting eco-farming in the suburbs and, amongst other locations, in the Basaldea local council nursery for eco-farming concerns. With the twin goals of increasing the yield on the nursery’s lands and attracting new businesses, a project has been drawn up for improving local agrobiodiversity, with some of its measures already in place.

Agrobiodiversity, or the biological diversity associated with agriculture, is a sub-heading of biodiversity in general that refers to the variety and variability of animals, plants and microorganisms that are directly or indirectly used for food production and agriculture. Both experience and research have shown that agrobiodiversity is capable of, among other things, improving yields, food safety, and financial returns, as it helps to diversify production and revenue opportunities. It also reduces the pressure that agriculture places on fragile ecosystems, woodlands, and threatened species, playing its part in the management of pests and diseases, as well as shoring up resilience to climate change. In short, it reduces dependence on the use of chemical components.

The Basaldea improvement project includes sundry measures such as the planting of swathes and fields of flowers for pollinators and increasing and diversifying hedgerows that act as corridors of biodiversity. One of the steps that has already been taken involves the provision of a pond to favour the development of the fauna that live in aquatic habitats. A former watering hole has been uncovered that was once used by local livestock, but after being abandoned it had dried up and become completely overgrown. Once the seasonal water cycle has been consolidated, this site will be included as one of the sampling points for the community science programme for the preservation of aquatic insects, especially dragonflies. This will provide information on the development of these species of insects.