A1. Selection of demonstration olive groves

Action completed. An experimental design and criteria have been established to select 20 demonstration olive groves, as a representative sample of the Andalusian olive groves with the aim of making the results statistically significant, in order to provide the proposed olive growing model with the greatest demonstrative value and maximum replicability.
In total, the 20 demonstration olive groves amount to 3,604 ha in land stewardship.

A2. Study of the pre-operational status of the demonstration olive groves.

Action completed. Biodiversity monitoring studies began in April 2016 in the 20 demonstration olive groves and in another 20 control olive groves (40 in total). After a year of biodiversity monitoring and in the absence of final results, more than 165 species of birds have been detected, with more than 100 genera represented, nearly 500 species of arvense flora, more than 140 species of woody flora and around 60 different species of ants, belonging to 18 genera and 3 subfamilies of the formicidae, some of them cited for the first time at regional level. Preliminary results, pending the analysis of other factors, indicate that the absence of herbaceous cover has a negative impact on the biodiversity of olive groves, while its maintenance boosts the biodiversity of birds and soil insects at various territorial scales.

A3. Design of the integral communication plan and creation of the project image.

Action completed. The communication plan is configured as a guideline to implement the external and internal communication strategies of the LIFE Olivares Vivos project. This document will establish key messages, target audiences, channels and potential collaborators, and a work schedule accompanied by indicators for measuring results. It is a document for internal use and is addressed especially to the partners and co-financiers of the project. It will be subject to periodic review to maximise the dissemination of the project to target audiences.

A4. Biodiversity Recovery Action Plans

Action completed. Each of the 20 demonstration olive groves has a tailor-made restoration plan to try to increase as much biodiversity as possible. This has required prior field work, bibliographic reviews and thematic mapping. Finally, each action plan incorporates the information obtained in the biodiversity studies. The proposals for actions have been agreed with each landowner and the suitability of the planned actions and their design have been jointly assessed in order to adapt them to the agricultural management of each farm. In this way, viable and appropriate action plans have been established for each case. These plans are included in the Land Stewardship Contracts that include the commitments that have been voluntarily established between SEO/BirdLife and the owners of each demonstration olive grove.

A5. Preparation of the volunteer camps

Action completed. In July 2016, the first call for volunteers was launched, in which more than 300 interested people registered. The second call was launched in March 2017 and the third in June 2017. The fourth call will be launched in January 2018. A total of 23 work camps and various one-off volunteer days will be held. For the implementation of the various campaigns, there is a previously defined Volunteering Plan.

C1. Herbaceous canopy management

Action completed. The work carried out consisted of the design of tools for the management of herbaceous cover that would significantly improve biodiversity. The objective was to have an herbaceous cover in the olive grove during most of the year. This herbaceous cover should contribute, both in agronomic and ecological terms, to a profitable olive growing model, maintaining and recovering biodiversity. To this end, and in agreement with the managers of the demonstration olive groves, a series of experimental management techniques were implemented involving changes in the management of the herbaceous cover, surface ploughing in certain areas, maintaining certain patches without clearing, ploughing or grazing; maintaining grasses under some olive trees; sowing native herbaceous plants in productive areas of the olive grove; sowing native species in olive grove borders and sowing cereal strips in olive grove lanes.

C2, C3, C4, C5 and C6. Concrete conservation and restoration actions

Action completed. Natural vegetation patches were restored in 23 sites or work areas, with a total surface area of 51,794 m2, planting a total of 6,728 specimens of woody species. To this end, specimens of different autochthonous woody species were planted in patches located in areas of the olive grove considered unproductive and according to the typology of the site, so that the density of planting was greater in the patches where woody species were scarce. On the other hand, where natural vegetation was abundant, plantings were mainly aimed at increasing the diversity of shrubs and trees. The selection of woody species was based on the potential vegetation of each olive grove, while the spatial distribution of seedlings was based on the geomorphology of the unproductive area, the distance to the productive area and the potential size of each species (height and shape they could reach). On the other hand, 32,301 m2 of boundaries were revegetated in 52 sites or work areas, where 9,508 specimens of woody species were planted. These plantings were carried out in one or several rows, depending on the width of the work area. In addition, 7,920 linear metres of field borders were planted with autochthonous herbaceous species in 29 sites or work areas. Prior to this work, the land was prepared according to the state of the soil, the moisture content and the possibility of mechanisation, varying from superficial ploughing to superficial harrowing. Restoration work was also carried out on 34,756 m2 of rural roadsides, where 5,410 specimens of woody species were planted. In addition, 4,935 linear metres of roadsides have been planted with herbaceous species. Planting was carried out in one or several rows, depending on the width of the work area, leaving a variable distance between plants depending on the state of the soil and the potential size of the different species used. In accordance with the Action Plans, planting was occasionally discontinuous, leaving parts without revegetation in areas where planting could interfere with the farm’s agricultural work. On the other hand, the work has been carried out in 62 sites or work areas, with a surface area of 43,165 m2, where 10,480 specimens of woody species have been planted. The planting has been adapted to the particular conditions of each work area. In this case, the distribution of the plantation was highly conditioned by the orography, which is particularly rugged in some of the ravines caused by erosion. The planting sites were chosen in such a way that the activity would not compromise the stability of the edges or side slopes, while at the same time allowing the creation of a water retention cork. The criteria for species selection and spatial distribution included not only biodiversity enhancement but also erosion reduction. Discontinuous revegetation was carried out in some incipient ravines that cross the productive areas of the olive groves. In this way, they fulfilled their dual function as biodiversity-enhancing and erosion-controlling elements. The planting of native herbaceous species was carried out in four demonstration olive groves, with a surface area of 5,723 m2. Whenever possible, the land was prepared in the same way as in other actions, although this preparation has not been possible in most of the work area, due to the steep slope and the risk of increasing vulnerability to erosion as a result of the land preparation itself. Similarly, 40 nest boxes for small birds of prey, 91 nest boxes for insectivorous birds, 18 roosts for birds of prey, 37 bat roosts, 5 dry stone walls and 95 nest boxes for insects were installed. Finally, ten ponds were constructed in eight demonstration olive groves. Eight of them use waterproof EPDM (ethylene propylene diene diene monomer) membranes suitable for animal life. They are between 3 and 7 metres in diameter and have a maximum depth of 50 cm.

C7. Assistance in the production and marketing of Olivares Vivos oils.

Action completed. During the first half of 2017 a Seminar/Workshop was held with researchers specialised in olive groves and the environment. One of the objectives of this seminar was to present the empirical study with the aim of triangulating the research based on the reflections and contributions of the researchers. After selecting the company in charge of carrying out the market studies (Analysis and Research) in the 4 selected countries (Spain, Germany, Denmark and the United Kingdom), several working meetings were held with this company during the third quarter of 2017 in order to validate the questionnaire, establish the criteria for selecting the sample and specify the evaluation experiment of the Olivares Vivos guarantee brand. Finally, in October, the translation of the questionnaire into the native language of the country and the pre-testing of the study were carried out. The fieldwork was carried out from November to January 2018, with 800 online surveys in each of the potential markets of these countries. The aim of this empirical study is twofold: on the one hand, to select the guarantee seal most valued by consumers for the marketing of Olivares Vivos olive oil and, on the other hand, to study the main characteristics of the consumer segment potentially inclined to purchase the product, in order to make some considerations and recommendations regarding the marketing of these oils. As a complement to this study, and in order to gain a deeper understanding of the consumer’s knowledge of nature-related problems and, specifically, biodiversity, a novel methodology of data categorisation was applied to identify possible associations between biodiversity and other concepts or themes related to nature that could be connected. This analysis is very enriching in terms of developing the communication strategy and establishing the messages to be disseminated. In September 2018, together with the Citoliva Foundation, we held a seminar in which we met with many of the olive growers who are part of the LIFE Olivares Vivos Project, to advise them on olive harvesting and EVOO production: when is the best time to carry it out, how it should be pressed, etc. During the first quarter of 2019, the CabelloxMure studio designed the logo and the image of the guarantee mark that the oils certified by Olivares Vivos would carry.

C8. Determination of the Olivares Vivos certification criteria and procedure.

Action completed. Work on the establishment of the certification criteria and procedures started as planned, which involved an exhaustive review of the main international sustainability standards, as well as the manuals of good practices in standardisation.
The analysis of the results of action D1 made it possible to set the criteria for biodiversity restoration for certification, to select the indicators that best reflect this restoration, combining efficiency with reasonable ease of monitoring.
External assistance was established with the certification and standardisation company AENOR.
Together with AENOR, work was carried out to establish the certification procedure.
Following this work and a process of cross-checking, the first version of the certification regulation was drafted.

C9. Development of volunteer camps

Action completed. In October 2016, the first camps began and ran until April 2018, with 20 work camps and several specific volunteer actions in which 226 people from 10 Autonomous Communities and 11 countries took part. The level of satisfaction of the participants with the Olivares Vivos volunteering programme has been very high, with an average score of 9.4 out of 10.

D1. Monitoring of biodiversity indicators in demonstration olive groves

Action completed. In April 2019, the field work for the monitoring of biodiversity indicators (D1) started. In addition to replicating all A2 work in the post-operational stage, new biodiversity sampling not originally planned was carried out to assess the effects of the restoration actions. The information from these surveys has complemented the information obtained on biodiversity recovery and informed the small-scale impact of the restoration actions. The fieldwork was completed in the first quarter of 2020, at which point the data obtained was analysed. These data were passed through different recovery indices, based on the difference between post-operational and pre-operational biodiversity for each demonstration farm and its control. These were calculated separately for the two main components of biodiversity (species richness and abundance). Absolute and standardised recovery indices (RI and Std RI) were constructed, the latter being truly comparable between groups of organisms, and we examined: (i) whether recorded recovery depended on the agricultural practices (intensive, extensive and extensive ecological management of herbaceous cover) that each farm was implementing prior to the implementation of the restoration plans and (ii) the influence of landscape heterogeneity and intensification on recorded recovery. The main results, conclusions and messages of this action are (1) Overall, the Andalusian olive grove continues to host a wide biodiversity – 10% of the Iberian flora, 30% of bird species and 20% of ant and bee species – and therefore remains an important refuge for Mediterranean biodiversity. (2) If properly managed, this agro-ecosystem would significantly improve local and regional biodiversity. Despite the short time elapsed since the implementation of the Olivares Vivos restoration plans (three years), a rapid recovery of species richness and abundance was scientifically demonstrated (on average 7% increase in species richness and 18% increase in abundance in only three years). (3) Olive groves severely degraded by intensive agricultural practices show the greatest short-term improvements, with an average of 12% recovery in species richness and 70% in abundance. (4) Landscape homogenisation and loss of agricultural mosaics due to olive grove expansion hinder biodiversity recovery. (5) Recovery of each group of organisms is highly scale-dependent (e.g. ants respond positively to small-scale restoration actions, whereas birds are strongly influenced by farm-scale changes. The component of biodiversity (abundance or richness) favoured also varies substantially between organisms. (6) Simple indicators such as richness and abundance of birds (and of specific groups: insectivorous, farm and common birds), grass cover and rate of nest colonisation by solitary bees achieve the best recovery scores in olive groves.

D2. Monitoring of the evolution and profitability of the demonstration olive groves.

Action completed. A questionnaire was sent to the managers of the demonstration olive groves to collect information on the different practices involving operating costs in each grove, estimates of average production in recent years and estimates of production costs per hectare. The economic benefit provided by the operation was also questioned, in subjective terms. After analysing the results of this previous work, a procedure was established to determine this evolution. Additional work was carried out in collaboration with the Carlos III University of Madrid, which will reinforce the analysis of the economic and social impact of the project. Collaboration through external assistance was agreed with a prestigious company specialising in international olive growing. This facilitated the analysis of the project’s profitability indicators and included comparisons of the indicators of the different farms with reference values in neighbouring farms. These values, which refer to harvest volume, fat yield, input costs and selling prices, made it possible to determine not only the evolution of these figures over the course of the project, but also their situation in relation to nearby competitors. This made it possible to identify the main strengths and weaknesses of each farm. Most of the farms increased their production, while maintaining costs or increasing them slightly, but to a lesser extent than production. Therefore, the productivity of the farms was not negatively affected by the implementation of the Olivares Vivos model. The analysis indicated that being part of Olivares Vivos offers a competitive advantage and generates a higher profit margin due to the differentiation of Olivares Vivos oils and because of the added value of the final product, which is directly related to the sustainable production of olives and the active restoration work that effectively increases biodiversity on these farms.

D3. Monitoring the impact of the Olivares Vivos / Olive Alive certification mark on the olive oil market.

Action completed. This action started in December 2018, once the EVOO produced in the demonstration olive groves during that season was on the market. Since then, the collection of the necessary information to measure the impact of the OV certification on the market and the degree of consumer satisfaction has been planned and a company has been selected to analyse these issues with the EVOOs produced in the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 campaigns that have already begun to distinguish themselves as «participants», with the OV seal. Prior to carrying out this study, a first market test was designed in February 2019 to analyse the influence of the seal on EVOO consumer behaviour in real marketing situations (specialised shops, online platforms and large supermarkets). The test began in May 2019 and ended in September 2019. Its objective was to analyse the degree of recognition and notoriety of the Olivares Vivos seal, as well as the effectiveness of the communication strategy implemented. To this end, an online form was created consisting of a series of questions in 6 different categories: recognition of the seal, knowledge of the seal, preference for the seal, consumer opinion on the importance of caring for the environment and consuming products that preserve it, consumer understanding of the messages transmitted through the Olivares Vivos communication channels, and consumer assessment of the communication of the Olivares Vivos seal. A total of 1,242 responses were obtained, of which 999 were valid, in Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany and Denmark.

D4. Assessment of the socio-economic impact of the project on the local economy.

Action completed.

The different actions carried out in the LIFE Olivares Vivos project have had an impact on several sectors of the local population, such as trade, awareness-raising of the target groups, job creation or specialised training.
In order to assess this impact in the different areas of project implementation, specific objectives were identified to answer the following questions

How have the costs incurred in the areas of implementation been distributed?
What has been the scope of dissemination and awareness-raising actions?
How many jobs have been created through the implementation of the project?
What has been the contribution of the project to specialised technical training?
What has been the reaction of the olive sector?

The results obtained indicated that the economic impact has been limited, mainly due to the dispersion of the geographical areas of the project. In this respect, the study identified the main business sectors that will be influenced by the extension of the project. Specifically, the environmental restoration field work sector (plantations, installation of wildlife structures, etc.) will benefit the most, followed by the hotel and catering industry and forest plant nurseries. The replication of the project will increase the number of farms joining the certification procedure and will also improve the implementation of the Olivares Vivos Agri-environmental Plan. Furthermore, the replication will foster the creation of green jobs in different fields of expertise, such as sustainable agricultural land management and the development of environmental restoration plans.
The social impact on the different target audiences has been significant. The awareness campaigns have reached a large public, especially through the school campaign. More than 2,700 pupils have participated in this campaign and, in addition, more than 86,000 pupils have received information about the project. The demand for these activities has been very high throughout the implementation of the project.
Likewise, the results obtained with the university community have been remarkable. Olivares Vivos has participated in the training of specialised professionals with a high potential for disseminating Olivares Vivos’ work strategies on environmental restoration, the use of ecosystem services of biodiversity and the development of biodiversity-friendly agricultural models.
Finally, the great interest in the project among the olive sector is probably one of the most remarkable results of the project, as it indicates the great potential for replication of all the above-mentioned impacts. The number of olive producers who have expressed their interest and willingness to join the Olivares Vivos cultivation model has steadily increased, reaching more than 700 by the end of the project.

D5. Assessment of the impact of the project on the recovery of ecosystem functions.

Action completed. The ecosystem functions and services analysed were:

(i) Productivity of herbaceous cover and its protective role against erosion.
ii) Improvement of the functional connectivity of the olive grove landscape.
iii) Seed dispersal by birds and mobility across the olive landscape, as mobile links between semi-natural patches in the olive landscapes.
iv) Insect pollination of flowering plants promoting herbaceous cover and fertilisation of woody plants.
Most of these functions were examined considering two scales of land use intensification: i) local scale, which considers the impact of agricultural practices within each demonstration olive farm, and ii) landscape scale, which addresses the homogenisation and simplification of landscapes due to olive orchard expansion.
The main conclusions and messages derived from all these analyses are:
(1) The productivity of the herbaceous stratum and ground cover, as well as the connectivity of natural elements at farm and landscape scales, recover rapidly after the implementation of the Olivares Vivos restoration plans.
(2) This recovery is more pronounced in intensive agriculture demonstration farms.
(3) Bird-mediated seed dispersal and its associated services (landscape connectivity and natural vegetation restoration) are at risk in olive-dominated landscapes.
(4) The seed dispersal service among remnants of native vegetation would be greatly enhanced (up to 4-fold) by the restoration of unproductive forest patches in olive landscapes.
(5) Maintenance, restoration and promotion of forest patches should be a mandatory ecological scheme for the conservation of seed dispersal service and to improve connectivity in olive landscapes.
(6) Insect-mediated pollination of wild flowering plants is an important service in olive orchards, as it is the starting point for self-regeneration and maintenance of native vegetation covers, which in turn are key to the sustainability of olive orchard productivity, given their multiple functions.
(7) Olive orchards continue to support a diverse assemblage of insects that actively pollinate the herbaceous canopy of olive groves.
(8) Pollination service seems to be more influenced by the quality of the flowering plot than by local management and landscape simplification.
(9) Some solitary bee species, easy to detect and quantify/estimate with nest boxes, are favoured by extensive and ecological practices and could be used as bio-indicators of the impact of agricultural practices on pollination networks.

E1. Development of the comprehensive communication, dissemination and awareness raising plan.

Action completed. Once the Communication Plan was finalised, a press conference was held at the University of Jaén in April 2016, and the project was officially launched. This event gathered all the partners and co-funders of the project and was covered by several media. According to the Communication Plan, different communication activities were carried out. In a first phase, information about the project, its objectives and the problems it addresses was prepared and disseminated. Then, communication focused on communicating what was being done (project actions) to both stakeholders and the general public. In total, 27 press releases were disseminated, meeting the objectives set out in the proposal (six press releases per year). In addition, the Olivares Vivos website included 78 original news items and 50 e-newsletters in html format. In addition, dissemination activities were carried out through the different channels of the partners. In this sense, the project has been the subject of three articles in the magazine «Aves y Naturaleza», which SEO/BirdLife distributes to all its 12,000 members and to numerous renowned actors in the environmental field. In the same vein, we were featured in Vår Fågelvärld magazine, distributed by BirdLife Sverige, our BirdLife partner in Sweden. Several regular reports and newsletters have been published on the SEO/BirdLife website, which has more than one million hits per year. Information has also been published through the partners’ own channels (UJA, EEZA-CSIC and DIPUJAEN).
The partners have established a coordinated system to deal with all spontaneous requests for information related to the project from the media. In addition, they have designed an internal communication protocol to favour dissemination. The dissemination work has had a significant impact on media such as the regional public television channel Canal Sur. The international newspaper The Guardian, the national newspapers El País and Público and the regional newspapers Diario Jaén and Ideal have carried out reports on Olivares Vivos. Also the news agency EFE, Europa Press or Associated Press have come to visit us. Other examples could be the Spanish public radio and television RTVE, the Italian public radio and television RAI, the SER channel or Antena 3 television. Likewise, dissemination was carried out on social networks (Facebook and Twitter), achieving a clear rate of growth in interactions and number of followers. For example, if we compare January 2017 and January 2018, the number of impressions on Twitter has increased from 21,200 to 57,200. In addition, the project has been presented and discussed at the BirdLife Europe Federation communicators’ meeting, made up of all SEO/BirdLife partner organisations in the EU member states. Work is underway to open new avenues of collaboration and to promote the dissemination of the project in other countries, as well as to establish synergies with other ongoing initiatives. The project was also presented at national and international trade fairs and sectoral meetings, especially at Expoliva 2017 and Expoliva, 2019, Montoro Olive Tree Fair, in Montoro (Córdoba); Futuroliva, in Baeza (Jaén), Úbeda Agricultural Machinery Fair, in Úbeda (Jaén) and OleoCarteya, in Carteya (Córdoba). In addition, we have participated in Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, in Turin (Italy), as the only LIFE project invited to this event. As for the preparation and design of promotional material, a large number of articles have been designed and produced.

E2 Information panels in the pilot olive groves.

Action completed. An information panel has been installed in each of the demonstration olive groves and in the informative olive grove managed by the Project in Geolit.

E3. Informative and demonstrative actions and perception surveys aimed at the olive sector.

Action completed. This action covers two different activities. On the one hand, the surveys aimed at measuring the perception of the project in general and its approach and objectives by the olive sector and, on the other hand, the informative and demonstrative actions aimed at the olive sector. With regard to the perception surveys, companies were sought that carried out public opinion polls and that had knowledge of and experience with the olive sector. The interviews were carried out in 6 of the 8 provinces of Andalusia (Jaén, Granada, Córdoba, Seville, Málaga and Almería), during 6 weeks (from 13 February to 30 March 2017), completing a total of 640 surveys in 88 municipalities in the aforementioned provinces. The results obtained have provided information that was compared with that obtained from other surveys carried out in the final phase of the project, mainly regarding the degree of knowledge of the project in the sector. Information was also collected on the olive growers’ perception of the environmental problems of the olive grove and on their willingness to adopt changes in certain aspects of the agricultural management of their farms in different scenarios. On the other hand, with regard to information and demonstration actions aimed at the sector, more than 400 requests have been received for advice on the adoption of measures to increase biodiversity in their olive groves beyond the project. In this regard, an informative olive grove has been created at the Geolit Technology Park facilities, where the main actions carried out in the demonstration olive groves are replicated. Given this interest, an information day was held in February 2019, to which all interested olive growers were invited, at the Geolit Science and Technology Park, which was attended by fifty farmers, who were informed about the progress of Olivares Vivos or were able to express any doubts they had. We have also taken advantage of the interest shown by other training programmes in the contents of Olivares Vivos. In this sense, we have held conferences with the Agroecology Classroom of the Andalusian Regional Government’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development. A collaboration has also been established with the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research and Training (IFAPA) of the Andalusian Regional Government to include the content of LIFE Olivares Vivos in their olive growing courses. A total of nine of these courses were held in 2018 and five in 2019, in which some 350 olive growers participated. Similarly, we have been invited to and have participated in multiple conferences organised by associations such as «No solo olivos», the Cabra Town Council (Córdoba), the Protected Designation of Origin of Olive Oil Oli de Mallorca and APAEMA or ASAJA-Sevilla.

E4. Recovery and dissemination of olive tree culture within the scope of the project.

Action completed. Four counties were selected where this action is being developed. The selection criteria were aimed at optimising the demonstrative and dissemination value of its results, based on (1) achieving the greatest possible representativeness of the olive-growing landscapes of the study area, (2) its proximity to the demonstrative olive groves selected in action A1 and (3) the existence of previous actions or local initiatives in the municipality related to the objectives of this action.

In each region, a search and compilation of information on rural culture related to the olive grove was carried out, contacting people and associations in each of these regions who provided first-hand information on traditional work, harvesting, crafts, folklore, biodiversity and other aspects related to the multifunctionality of the traditional olive grove. This information forms part of the Guide «Sources for the knowledge of culture in the traditional olive grove», and has been key to defining the contents of the didactic notebook and proposing new proposals for olive oil tourism (E8).

On the other hand, the educational booklet «Olivares Vivos, una aventura muy cercana» (Living olive groves, a very close adventure) has been produced. It consists of four chapters (history, cultivation, biodiversity and culture) and its learning is led by two characters, «Olivio», a boy who comes from the past and learnt all about the biodiversity and multifunctionality of the olive grove, and «H-Tuna», a very modern olive who dreams of being a great gourmet EVOO. Throughout the unit, both discuss the olive grove of the past and the olive grove of today, concluding at the end that the olive grove of the future will have to generate services to society and quality products with great added value. The contents have been reviewed by numerous teachers and schoolchildren and their final assessment was very satisfactory. For the development of this action, the great experience and dissemination capacity of the partner DIPUJAEN in school campaigns related to the environment was particularly important. Once the contents were established and the didactic booklet was ready, the «Olive Grove Stories» School Campaign was launched. To this end, intensive contact work was carried out with the schools in the selected regions, informing them about the LIFE programme, the project and its objectives and the contents to be taught to schoolchildren. In the 2017/2018 school year, 24 visits were made to schools in which 51 training sessions were given to some 1,275 schoolchildren. In 2018/2019, 26 schools in 27 localities were visited, with 64 training sessions for almost 1,500 children. In the 2019/2020 academic year, more schools have been visited and another activity has been launched, aimed at infant schoolchildren (3, 4 and 5 years old), in which a story is told about the biodiversity of the olive grove. This activity has already been carried out in two schools in the province of Jaén. In total, 46 schools in 37 locations in 4 Andalusian provinces have been visited during the school campaign. This campaign in schools has been complemented with visits to demonstrative olive groves, where the treasure hunts designed by the project «The secrets of the olive grove» have been carried out. Over the last few years, five have taken place, with the participation of some 250 infant, primary and secondary school pupils. Apart from the planned school campaign, the development of this action has served to introduce the educational objectives of the LIFE Olivares Vivos in other educational campaigns outside the LIFE. For example, in the III School Week of Olive Oil and its Worlds (https://goo.gl/85WbhS), developed by the partner DIPUJAEN with its own resources and in collaboration with the Andalusian Regional Government; the XIX Environment Award organised by the partner Dipujaén, which in 2018 was dedicated to the olive grove and its biodiversity, based on the LIFE Olivares Vivos; or the First Scientific School Congress on Olive and EVOO Culture (https://goo.gl/XuMvvk), an initiative promoted by the production company Tekiero Verde and organised by the Úbeda Town Council. Workshops have also been held in different municipalities such as Torredonjimeno, Villanueva de la Reina and Martos, in the province of Jaén. In November 2017, a first training session was held with the teachers in charge of guiding the work of the students who, after participating in the training sessions, will present the results of their research in May 2018. As part of this action, three editions of the «stories of the olive grove and olive oil» short story prize were scheduled. However, the health situation caused by the pandemic made the presentation and the contact with children and teachers, necessary to carry out this activity, very difficult. For this reason, the prize was reformed, on the one hand by reducing the number of editions to just one, but also by changing the name of the prize to «Stay in the nest» (which was also intended to raise awareness of the need to stay at home). The competition was also open to the entire primary school community, from any school in Spain. Over a period of several weeks, stories were received from different school levels. The best stories were published in a book and the winners received a school prize package.
Almost at the same time as the short story competition was launched, the rules for an olive grove photography award were published. Divided into five categories, any photographer could submit images of the birds, fauna, flora, landscape and traditions of olive growing. The deadline for submitting photographs was late spring 2020. We received several dozen of them. Subsequently, a jury chose the winners.
The prize of the competition was a route through Sierra Morena, to observe Iberian lynxes and other fauna of the area. It took place in the spring of 2021. Throughout the project, resources were recorded to produce the documentary that tells the story of Olivares Vivos. In addition, other images were recorded specifically for the documentary. Among others, videos of the visits to the demonstration olive groves at different times of the year, during the restoration work or interviews with the participating farmers or the project’s technicians. It has two versions, one in Spanish and the other with English subtitles.

E5. Publication of a guide of recommendations based on the scientific results of the project.

Action completed. Once the data from the post-operational study were obtained and their analysis was completed, the drafting of this Guide began and is available on the Olivares Vivos website, both in Spanish and English.

E6. Dissemination and proposal for the inclusion of recommendations derived from the project in the CAP 2014-2020 and in the European Agricultural Funds for Rural Development.

Action completed. Given that BirdLife Europe has a seat in the Civil Dialogue Group «Olives» of the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development (CDG Olives), we have had the possibility to occupy this seat. We have been attending these meetings since May 2016. At the May 2017 meeting, the LIFE Olivares Vivos project was presented to the CDG Olives, arousing the interest of various representatives of European organisations in the sector, who valued it as an important alternative for the differentiation of certain olive groves in the oil market. A first proposal of recommendations for the CAP post-2020 was presented in May 2019 at the International Congress «The CAP Green Architecture: deepening into eco-schemes», which was attended at the invitation of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the Government of Spain, and where the paper «LIFE OV: key aspects for the design of eco-schemes in the olive grove» was presented. This Congress was attended by the Director of Natural Capital, DGMA and the Director of Strategy, Simplification and Policy Analysis of the EC Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (a report on these proposals was submitted together with this report to the EASME). The lessons learned so far have also been used to contribute our experience to the Forum «Synergies between LIFE and EAFRD rural development programmes», organised in March 2019 by the Ministry for Ecological Transition of the Spanish Government. The replication of these results is also being promoted through our participation in the development of the Ecological Connectivity Master Plan of the Junta de Andalucía and in the draft of the Order approving the regulatory bases for the support of non-productive investments for the conservation of biodiversity in agricultural areas (PDR Junta de Andalucía). A final version -in Spanish and English- was published in 2021 (Annex E5-1.1 and Annex E5-1.2), with the final data obtained in the LIFE project (biodiversity recovery, production, cost, etc.). It was sent to different public bodies and the main conclusions were explained in a virtual presentation in June 2021. Members of DG GROW, DG SANTE, DG ENV and DG AGRI attended this presentation and asked questions about the project and the conclusions obtained.
The presentation of the objectives and approach of the LIFE project in these fora was an innovative step forward in establishing synergies with other actors in the sector by considering the direct link between the environmental externalities of olive groves (i.e. biodiversity) and their profitability. This approach has served to gain further attention. Our networking activities with other projects (F5) and our participation in the operational groups of the Rural Development Programme have helped us to disseminate the demonstrative value of the project. LIFE Olivares Vivos has worked with agricultural and environmental organisations in the platform «For another CAP».

E7. Network of municipalities for living olive groves

Action completed. In an initial phase, the mechanism for the creation of the Network of Municipalities for Living Olive Groves (REMOV) was established and the «Manifesto of Support for REMOV» was drawn up and sent to the 97 municipalities of the province of Jaén. On 17 January 2017, the presentation of REMOV took place, during which the Manifestos were signed by the representatives of the municipalities interested in joining the Network. This event was widely covered by the media and was attended by a large number of local and regional government representatives. The network is currently made up of 57 municipalities in the province of Jaén. Throughout 2017, several talks were held in some of the municipalities of the network to explain the details of the Olivares Vivos project and the importance of joining REMOV. The contents of Olivares Vivos were also included in several workshops of its «Recrea en Verde» programme (https://goo.gl/TAo3US), one of them (called «Olivares Vivos») dealt specifically with the project, although LIFE contents were also taught in other workshops such as «Our oil and its nature», «Biodiversity and birds of prey» or «Beekeeping». These workshops are aimed at any sector of the population that requests them. The «Draw your living olive grove» competition has been organised for both 2018 and 2019, aimed at all primary schoolchildren in the 57 municipalities of REMOV. A plaque has also been designed so that the different town councils can show that they form part of the Network of Municipalities for the Living Olive Groves, which was presented to them during the REMOV commemorative day. A day in which more than 60 mayors and councillors took part, in which different issues related to the added value of olive oil were addressed and in which the Network was opened to other Andalusian provinces, with the adhesion of Baza (Granada), Cabra (Córdoba) and Cuevas del Becerro (Málaga). In addition to all this, there was the short story competition «#QuédateEnElNido: the stories of the countryside and the olive grove» which took place throughout the spring of 2020 and in which schoolchildren from all over Spain took part. The prize was awarded and the Diputación de Jaén has been commissioned to print a volume with the winning stories.

E8. Experiential tourism in living olive groves

Action completed. This action started with previous meetings of the coordinator and project technicians (DIPUJAEN and SEO) with the heads of tourism of the partner DIPUJAEN, the Diputación de Jaén being precisely the administration with the greatest knowledge and experience in olive oil tourism through its Oleotur programme. After these first meetings, other meetings took place with the participation of project technicians, tour operators, technicians of the Tourism Department of the Provincial Council, among them, the person in charge of the «Oleotur» programme. The most relevant conclusions of this preliminary work pointed out, on the one hand, that the biodiversity of the olive grove was not present in any tourist package so far and that it could represent a very important asset to promote olive oil tourism. Following this line of work, work is being carried out on the design of a tourist package called «Olivares Vivos» (Living Olive Groves), of which a first brochure has been published and which was to be tested in one of the demonstration olive groves at the beginning of 2019, but which had to be suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Different trials of novel natural heritage experiences were prepared to make these tourism packages attractive. In the first one, the activity «The oil of the stars» was evaluated, in collaboration with the company «Astroandalus», which combines a hedonistic tasting of top quality oils, the night-time atmosphere of the olive grove and astronomical observation. It took place in a demonstration olive grove and was attended by project technicians and volunteers, who valued the experience very positively.

E9. Dissemination of the results of the project in scientific congresses and publications and in technical seminars.

Action completed. Various congresses, seminars and conferences were attended, at which the results obtained were presented. Likewise, scientific articles were published in different publications.

E10. Design of interactive routes

Action completed. Nine routes can be navigated and downloaded through a web page, adapted to the use of mobile phones, without the need to download and install a specific application. The page offers a menu with access to the routes, the real-time display of a map showing the user’s position, the route and the different points of interest along the route. By clicking on the points of interest, the information is displayed as a text and the option is given to listen to a narration of the text, as an audio-guide (www.rutasolivaresvivos.com ).

For the first three routes designed, the demonstration olive groves of Virgen de los Milagros and Cortijo Guadiana, both in Jaén, and Finca La Torre, in Málaga, were selected. These olive groves were selected not only for their natural and scenic values, but also for their proximity to places of tourist interest such as Jaén (Virgen de los Milagros), Úbeda and Baeza (Virgen de los Milagros and Cortijo Guadiana) and Antequera, Málaga (Finca la Torre).

Subsequently, the routes through Ardachel (Siles, Jaén), El Tobazo (Alcaudete, Jaén), El Puerto (Pegalajar, Jaén), Casa del Duque (Espejo, Córdoba), Gascón (Marchena, Seville) and La Tosquilla (Nueva Carteya, Córdoba) were added.

E11. Project website

Action completed. The project website is active and forms an essential part of the project’s communication strategy. It is regularly updated and its dissemination is supported by social networks.

E12. Publication of the Olivares Vivos guide.

Through all the information obtained throughout the project, a guide has been designed and published with the aim of responding to the main concerns expressed by olive growers in relation to biodiversity, the LIFE Olivares Vivos project and the certification process. For this reason, the guide is divided into different sections, as some of the farmers only want to know about biodiversity, ecosystem services and how to recover them. But others also want to certify their production and take advantage of biodiversity by recovering the added value. In the first part of the guide, the farmer can find the reason why it has been written and published. But probably the most important part of this section is the definitions of some terms. It explains what biodiversity is, why it is important to protect or recover it and what are the main problems of the traditional olive grove. It also explains what added value is.
The second section of the guide deals with biodiversity in the olive grove, focusing on this crop. It describes how much fauna and flora has been found in the demonstration olive groves during the studies carried out by Olivares Vivos. In addition, the farmer can find out what determines whether there is more or less biodiversity in the olive grove. The third section is one of the most important, because it describes the eco-scheme proposed in this new model of olive growing. Thus, by reading it, farmers can understand what they have to do, in order to recover biodiversity in their plots. In the first part, they can find out how they have to manage the herbaceous cover, why it is important to maintain it (to reduce some ecological problems, such as erosion) or what they can do to improve it. The second step in restoring biodiversity is the revegetation of unproductive areas, such as riverbanks, streams or roadsides. In this part of the guide, you can understand which plant to use (according to your soil, bioclimatic zone or ombroclimate). In addition, the guide gives some tips on how to improve the monitoring of plants. Finally, the third part of this section is about helping to increase wildlife shelter. Thus, with a few steps and many photos, it explains how and where to install nest boxes or bat boxes or how to build water ponds. The fourth section tells how to turn biodiversity into profitability. It explains the different current certifications and how they can help to improve the profitability of the grove, through added value. But it also explains how to get the Olivares Vivos certification or an approximation of its cost. Finally, the last part of the guide deals with how to take advantage of the recovery of biodiversity and Olivares Vivos certified oils. This section explains the differences between consumers in four European countries when buying olive oil. In addition, the farmer can find very brief summaries on how to develop online promotion strategies to achieve their sales objectives. This guide concludes with an Annex, where the different plants and seeds that the LIFE Olivares Vivos project has used to recover biodiversity can be found. They are divided into different categories (trees, shrubs, seeds, etc.) and where they should be planted (roads, rivers, streams, etc.). They are also classified according to their bioclimatic region, their ombroclimate or the type of soil where the plant grows. The guide is written and published in Spanish and English and can be found in the resources sections of the Olivares Vivos website.

E13. Promotion of the Olivares Vivos guarantee brand.

Action completed. Prior work was carried out to search for documentation and previous work related to the objectives of this action (biodiversity, consumer behaviour and communication), which made it possible to develop the state of the art and design the empirical study on consumer behaviour and marketing of Olivares Vivos oils explained in Action C7. The report on the key aspects of consumer behaviour of olive oil consumers involved with biodiversity will be key to define the promotion strategy for EVOOs produced under the Olivares Vivos guarantee brand. On the other hand, the seminar/workshop with experts and researchers on the environment and olive groves that was held in the first half of 2017, also provided an opportunity to learn about experiences and exchange ideas on the communication strategy carried out by agri-food companies that try to differentiate their product with strategies based on environmental externalities. Within the framework of the multi-country studies, experimental research was carried out with the aim of evaluating the impact of the Olivares Vivos guarantee brand and its valuation by consumers. To this end, two possible logos were tested: the Olivares Vivos project logo (OV1) and the winning logo in the Ideas Competition organised for the graphic design of the Olivares Vivos guarantee brand (OV2). The «Communication Manual for the promotion of OV EVOO» was produced, and promotional materials were designed and produced. Furthermore, working sessions on marketing were held with exporters and managers of EVOO points of sale. Simultaneously, the procedure for contracting external assistance to support the development of this action was carried out. In May 2019, within the framework of the Expoliva Fair, the image of the Olivares Vivos guarantee brand was presented. A logo designed by CabelloxMure that represents an owl, one of the most characteristic birds of this agricultural environment. In the same month, the seminar «Strategies for the commercialisation of Olivares Vivos olive oil» was also held, in which some of the olive growers participating in the project, as well as professionals from the sector, took part and discussed strategies to improve the sales of EVOO certified by Olivares Vivos in the future. At the end of 2019, the participating bottled olive oils began to bear the «Olivares Vivos» seal identifying them as participants in the project. This, with the aim of measuring the impact of the seal on the consumer. Thus, two types of stickers were made, to adapt it to the needs of each of the brands, and a hang tag, in four languages (Spanish, English, French and German). The oils identified as participating in Olivares Vivos were shown, for example, at the XXIV Spanish and VII Iberian Ornithology Congress, but the brand and the EVOOs were to be presented and shown at different national and international fairs, which was suspended due to the situation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. In June 2020, the presentation of the Olivares Vivos seal and the participating oils took place in the Aula Magna of the University of Jaén. The event was attended by all the project partners, as well as the participating olive growers. The event served as the launch of the advertising campaign, mainly on social networks, which has been carried out since then, to publicise the seal and EVOOs, by a specialised company. To publicise the seal and differentiate it in the market from other existing seals, a communication plan was designed for the Olivares Vivos EVOO. This plan defined the communication objectives, the target audience, the message and the communication actions to be carried out. The communication actions carried out included the creation of the Olivares Vivos EVOO website, the production of promotional spots and mini-videos of the demonstration olive groves, the insertion of advertising and reports in specialised magazines, the generation of content and advertising actions on social networks, and the promotion of EVOO through digital marketing campaigns. Due to the health emergency caused by COVID-19, digital marketing and social media actions have been particularly relevant. Thus, intense digital communication activity has been carried out on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, from September 2020 to May 2021. The content generated for the social networks has been very diverse (general pieces promoting the Olivares Vivos seal, ‘D’ days related to the environment and biodiversity, promotion of each of the brands, testimonials from olive growers participating in the project, mini-videos of the demonstration olive groves, pieces on the animal and plant species existing in each olive grove, pieces to raise consumer awareness of the importance of preserving biodiversity and the environment, etc.). Among the most important communication actions, the communication campaign with influencers that was carried out in the last stage of the project stands out. The main objective of this campaign was to improve the notoriety of the Olivares Vivos brand on social networks (mainly Instagram) by carrying out communication actions with influencers. All the influencers collaborated altruistically with this initiative, which resulted in an estimated saving of 28,000 euros. In total, 20 influencers participated, divided into two categories: macro-influencers with a minimum number of followers of 40,000 and micro-influencers, with a number of followers between 2,000 and 25,000, but with very positive engagement rates. Both received: a pack of Olivares Vivos EVOO with the Olivares Vivos seal and label, packaged in kraft paper, hemp rope and shavings for the filling, following a natural and sustainable design; a leaflet with key information about Olivares Vivos to share with their followers; and a personalised, handwritten thank you card. The influencers carried out a promotional action for Olivares Vivos on their networks, which consisted, for the most part, of stories that lasted 24 hours. In addition, in some specific cases, a video was published in the Feed (Instagram) or on TikTok. In addition to these collaborations, a good number of the influencers (a total of 12, 6 macroinfluencers and 6 microinfluencers) agreed to be interviewed to find out their perception of the project and the communication strategy used. Among the conclusions obtained, it is worth highlighting, on the one hand, the very positive assessment of the project, as well as the design, the brand image and the packaging used. On the other hand, they also suggest the need to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity to preserve the environment and the health of the planet, due to the lack of knowledge that they detect among their followers. In this sense, they suggest using visual content, with images that show the effects of biodiversity loss and the benefits of its preservation.

F1. Project management

Action completed.

After signing the Grant Agreement, the project was thoroughly reviewed and the most relevant actions and the approved budget were shared with all partners. The agreements between the partners and the co-financing agreements with Patrimonio Comunal Olivarero and Interprofesional were also processed.

A management chart for the management of this LIFE project was established and approved by all the partners in the second coordination meeting.

Numerous coordination meetings were held. In total, seven general meetings and more than fifty meetings between SEO, UJA-E and EEZA; between SEO, UJA-E and UJA-M and bilateral meetings between SEO and the rest of the partners. Likewise, there were meetings with the co-financiers, including the delivery of a report on the development of the project, which was presented on 12/01/18 at the offices of the Interprofessional and which was highly valued by its board of directors.

In April 2016, June 2017, February 2019, April 2020 and May 2021, the monitoring team (NEEMO) organised visits (in June 2018, accompanied by the EASME technician), while eight evaluation communications were received from EASME. With regard to the assessments and letters, the information contained in them was immediately shared with partners and co-financiers, analysing their content and establishing the appropriate measures following their instructions.

Then, the declaration of the state of alarm due to covid-19, the mobility restrictions and the ban on public events, made it necessary to ask for an extension due to the consequences on some actions. The actions directly affected were E3, C7, D3, E13 and E8. In addition, during the visit of the monitoring team in April 2020, it was already proposed to extend the data collection of action D1 until September to improve the information on pollinators and their associated ecosystem services. Finally, an extension of 8 months was requested and accepted by EASME on 26/08/2020.

F2. Monitoring and evaluation of the project. Indicators and monitoring

Action completed. With the participation of all partners, progress indicators were established for each action. The review date for each indicator was established and, where appropriate, the forecast of results. The system of indicators and the established review schedule allowed the objectives of this action to be met. Moreover, the monitoring of these indicators allowed updating the results of the project and were very useful in the communication strategy.

F3. Financial audit

Action completed. The financial audit of the project was approached through external assistance. A partial audit was carried out at the time of the mid-term report and a full audit at the end of the fifth year.

F4. Post-LIFE Plan

Action completed. A post-LIFE plan was drafted, in Spanish and English, which described and established how, at the end of the project, the actions of dissemination and diffusion of the results will continue. Likewise, so that this experience can be replicated in other territorial, agronomic and social contexts, specific indications were given on how to join Olivares Vivos and the basis was established for active campaigns to achieve adhesion to the programme throughout Andalusia and in other producer countries (Portugal, Italy, Greece, France). The main backbone of the post-LIFE plan will be the creation of a land stewardship entity made up of the project partners and the owners or managers of the pilot olive groves involved in the project.

F5. Networking with other LIFE and olive grove conservation projects.

Action completed. This work began with a search for projects or initiatives related to the objectives of LIFE Olivares Vivos. The aim was either to identify projects whose results or lessons learned could be useful for optimising the actions of the project, or for the possibility of establishing synergies to increase their demonstrative value and replicability. Some LIFE projects, already completed or underway, have been identified with which relationships have been established in this regard. Also with Horizon 2020 projects. The results and lessons learned from these projects, as well as their methodological approaches are a reference to compare results, improve the demonstrative value of this project, and optimise the approach and development of preparatory and conservation actions.

F6. Creation and coordination of a project participation and monitoring committee.

Action completed.

The project participation and monitoring committee was set up in April 2016. The project partners and co-financiers are represented in the committee, each with one representative. The coordinating partner has three representatives: the project manager, the technical coordinator and the technician responsible for the implementation of this action and of the F2 monitoring and evaluation of the project, who also acts as secretary of the committee.

The presence of the co-financiers was particularly relevant, beyond their financial participation in the project. They are two organisations totally linked to the olive grove, with a lot of influence in the sector and important communication and dissemination resources. They played an important role in disseminating the project for replication.

The «Patrimonio Comunal Olivarero» Foundation is a private, non-profit organisation that collaborates with the authorities to ensure compliance with the sector’s regulatory standards, contributes to the promotion and dissemination of the properties of olive oil, produces numerous publications and promotes research.

Interprofesional del aceite de oliva español is an interprofessional organisation of the agri-food sector, made up of all the groups involved in the production and commercialisation of olive oil: farmers, mills, distributors, refineries, bottling companies, exporters, etc.

The first meeting was held on 20 April 2016, coinciding with the official presentation of the project to the media. From the second meeting, which was held on 20 December 2016, the representatives of the 20 demonstration olive groves participating in the project became members of the committee. The third meeting of the committee took place on 29 June 2017, while the fourth meeting was held on 14 December 2017. In October 2018, the fifth meeting was held, while the sixth was held in July 2019 and the seventh in June and July 2020. The meetings served to discuss the status and development of the project.


La Sociedad Española de Ornitología es la entidad conservacionista decana de España. Desde 1954, sigue teniendo como misión conservar la biodiversidad, con la participación e implicación de la sociedad, siempre con las aves como bandera.

SEO/BirdLife es la representante en España de BirdLife International, una federación que agrupa a las asociaciones dedicadas a la conservación de las aves y sus hábitats en todo el mundo, con representación en más de 100 países y más de 13 millones de socios.

Es el socio coordinador del LIFE Olivares Vivos+.