September 2010 –IUCN´s Spanish National Committee, with the collaboration of Fundación Biodiversidad and Obra Social Caja Madrid, have launched the project “International Year of Biological Diversity”, an initiative within the framework of the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity (IYB). The project aims to raise awareness of biological diversity, and its loss, through environmental education. Volunteers will be asked to get involved in the fight against biodiversity loss.
The Spanish National Committee will coordinate the actions of its members including:
• the Spanish society of plant biology and conservation, whose director is chair of the Spanish Commission of Plants (SSC) in Valencia,
• Aula del Mar in Málaga,
• The CRAM Foundation in Barcelona, and
• Mediterrania-CIE in Tarragona.
Each Member collaborating in this initiative will organize a closing ceremony for the IYB in December, at which they will explain the results of their different projects.
The Spanish society of plant biology and conservation with the help of the Spanish Commission of Plants will train 175 people in the detection of protected plant populations and will organize several censuses of endangered species nationwide. Besides the sampling of these species, more information can be found on their web site www.conservacionvegetal.org, so everyone can share their experiences and therefore contribute to the conservation and better knowledge of plants.
The Spanish NGO Aula del Mar, will carry out a volunteering program to help clean the south-western coast of Spain of a number of invasive species plant species. Some 300 volunteers will collaborate and also help with the reforestation of native coastal plants.
Meanwhile the CRAM Foundation and their 255 volunteers will dive to work for a cleaner sea floor in Catalonia. Lost fish lines, rubbish and other garbage will then be displayed in a “swimming pool of waste”. Non-divers and disadvantaged groups will also be able to collaborate by helping to clean the shorelines and participating in educational activities.
Amphibians are in serious trouble, massive extinction is occurring worldwide, and they are the most threatened group of species. Nearly a third of all amphibians are in danger of extinction. Mediterrania-CIE will work with a small but selected group of volunteers (24) to restore some of the breeding habitats for these animals in Tarragona.
Obra Social Caja Madrid will contribute to the conservation of Gypaetus barbatus, the bearded vulture, in the Pyrenees and Picos de Europa. The Foundation for the Conservation of Bearded Vultures, based in Aragón (north of Spain) has organized 2 work camps with 12 people each (under and post-graduates) that will work on preparations for the reintroduction of this emblematic species in Picos de Europa. Besides this, they will continue with the supplementary feeding programme in the Pyrenees which started last year in the frame of the Spanish Countdown 2010 initiative.