SEO BIRDLIFE

LIFE Olivares Vivos

Logo Olivares vivos

THE LIFE OLIVARES VIVOS PROJECT

This LIFE project is financed by the European Commission and co-financed by the Olive Oil Community Heritage Foundation and the Spanish Olive Oil Interprofessional Association, with a total budget of €2,856,005. It is coordinated by SEO BirdLife and has the participation as partners of the Provincial Council of Jaén, the University of Jaén and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).
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Name

LIFE14 NAT/EN/001094. Living olive groves. Towards the design and certification of olive groves reconciled with biodiversity.

Project acronym

LIFE Olivares Vivos

Start date

1/10/2015

End date

30/09/2020

Coordinating beneficiary

Spanish Society of Omitology. SEO/BirdLife

Associated beneficiaries

Provincial Council of Jaén. University of Jaén. Department of Animal Biology, Plant Biology and Ecology. PAIDI RNM-354 Group. University of Jaén. Department of Business Organisation, Marketing and Sociology. PAIDI SEJ-315 Group. Experimental Station of Arid Zones of the Spanish National Research Council.

Co-financiers

Foundation for the olive communal heritage. Interprofesional del aceite de oliva español.

Total budget of the project

2.856.005€

EU contribution

1.713.603€ (60%)
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1. To define on a scientific basis an innovative and highly demonstrative model of olive growing, viable from an agronomic, economic and social point of view, which will contribute in an effective and proven way to halt the loss of biodiversity in the EU until 2020.

2. Establish formulas for profitability in olive growing based on an added value appreciated by consumers (biodiversity) that contribute to slowing down the abandonment of traditional olive groves or their reintensification, avoiding their environmental costs (erosion, carbon footprint, pollution, overexploitation of water and loss of biodiversity).

3. Develop a system of agri-food certification with scientific backing, which can be used to establish a verifiable link between oil production and the recovery of biodiversity and differentiate it from other initiatives that are based on a purely theoretical relationship between food and biodiversity.

4. Demonstrate that the entrepreneurship of the actors involved, especially farmers, has a fundamental role in the EU biodiversity strategy, and encourage their integration and active participation in this strategy.

5. To provide an effective solution to the economic and environmental crisis of the traditional olive grove that occupies most of the olive lands in Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal.

6. To improve the ecosystem services of the olive grove through restoration actions and the creation of green infrastructure in demonstrative olive groves and to define restoration strategies that are technically, environmentally and economically viable and effective.

7. Contribute to the integration of biodiversity in EU agriculture and demonstrate that it is possible to harmonise environment, economy and agriculture.

8. To provide useful information to implement the objectives of the CAP 2014-2020, the payment for environmental services and the design of agri-environmental measures.

9. To make citizens aware of the socio-economic and environmental importance of olive groves in the EU.

10. Demonstrate the role that citizens can play as consumers in strategies to halt biodiversity loss in the EU.

11. To demonstrate that the integration of socio-cultural values into environmental values is a step towards the multifunctionality of agrosystems and a reinforcement of conservation strategies based on the appreciation of their externalities by consumers.

12. Establish a path of development cooperation with other olive-growing regions outside the EU.

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A1 Selection of demonstration olive groves

Description

In the first months of the project, a selection of 20 demonstration orchards was made throughout the range of olive groves in Andalusia. The criteria for their selection were based on the representativeness of the different types of Andalusian olive groves in terms of size, landscape complexity and type of exploitation.

Status

Completed.

Twenty demonstration olive groves totalling 3 604 ha were selected, spread over six of the eight Andalusian provinces: Ardachel, Siles (Jaén); Benzalá, Torredonjimeno (Jaén); Buenavista, Moraleda de Zafayona (Granada); Casa del Duque, Espejo (Córdoba); Cortijo de Guadiana I -traditional morphology-, Úbeda (Jáen); Cortijo de Guadiana II -intensive morphology-, Úbeda (Jaén); El Puerto, Pegalajar (Jaén); Finca la Torre, Bobadilla, Antequera (Málaga); Gascón, Marchena (Sevilla); La Tosquilla, Nueva Carteya (Córdoba); Llanos de Vanda, Castro del Río (Córdoba); Los Ojuelos, Marchena (Seville); Olivar de la Luna, Pozoblanco (Córdoba); Peña del Gallo, Puerto Serrano (Cádiz); Piedras Cucas, Torredonjimeno (Jaén); Quinta San José, Linares (Jaén); Rambla Llana, Quesada (Jaén); Rancho del Herrador, Prado del Rey (Cádiz); Virgen de los Milagros, Mancha Real (Jaén).

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

Description

This action assessed the baseline state of biodiversity (both species and functional) in the demonstration olive groves, prior to the application of conservation actions aimed at landscape diversification and agricultural management. Birds were used as the main ecological indicators, extending the analysis to flora (hedgerow-forming trees and shrubs and arvense flora) and insects (ants and pollinating insects). This action was carried out jointly by the Department of Ecology of the University of Jaén and the Experimental Station of Arid Zones of the CSIC.

As a result of these studies, the following indices were obtained:

  1. Indices of species diversity and functional diversity for each indicator group considered (birds, ants, pollinating insects, woody vegetation, herbaceous vegetation).
  2. Combined biodiversity indices (CBI) in the pre-operational state of each pilot orchard.
  3. Landscape diversity and connectivity indices (LDI) in the pre-operational state of each pilot orchard.
  4. Biodiversity Conservation Status Index (CI) (result of the integration of the DCI and the PPI). .

Status

Completed.

Biodiversity has been measured in the twenty demonstration olive groves and in another twenty that have served as controls, over the course of a whole year. For this purpose, different indicators have been analysed, and 165 bird species have been found (more than a quarter of those in Spain), 58 ant species (a fifth of those in the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands, including the Aphaenogaster gemella, a species that was considered extinct in Spain since the 1960s), 119 pollinators (in 8 of the 40 olive groves surveyed), 549 herbaceous plants and 137 woody plants (17% of the vascular flora of Andalusia and 8% of that of the Iberian Peninsula, including Linaria qartobensis, a new species discovered by science).

A very important biodiversity which, however, is marred by the great difference between olive groves, depending on the management of the vegetation cover and the location in which it is found (whether they are in homogeneous landscapes, where there are mainly olive groves and no compensation areas, or heterogeneous ones), with up to one in three species having been lost between them.

A3 Design of the integral communication plan and creation of the project's image

Description

The Communication Plan is proving to be a very useful tool for planning the strategy based on the project’s objective, establishing the messages and specifying the recipients and target audiences. Also to establish the lines of work and communication actions, both internally, to strengthen the project partners, and externally to inform, raise awareness and provide maximum visualisation of the project’s actions. It is also serving to optimise resources and plan all the work with efficiency criteria.

Status

Completed.

The project’s corporate image has been designed and implemented in an application manual, the project’s Communication Plan has been drawn up and updated, and continues to be adjusted as the project progresses, in order to optimise and exceed the expected results as far as possible.

In order to carry it out, work has been coordinated with the communication managers of the different entities involved in the project. Likewise, the first databases of journalists, communicators and disseminators have been drawn up in order to reach the project’s target audience.

A4: Action plans for the promotion of biodiversity in demonstration olive groves

Description

Based on the results obtained in the study of the pre-operational situation of each of the demonstration olive groves, which were obtained through action A2, specific action plans were drawn up in which the different measures to be implemented to improve biodiversity in each of the farms were established. In the plans for each of the demonstration olive groves, the pre-operational situation was detailed, based on the indicators studied; the intervention objectives were established; the actions to be carried out were detailed; it was determined in which specific location on the farm they would be developed (including the production of detailed plans); the measurement of each action was determined (linear metres of hedgerow, area of habitat restoration, number and dimensions of water troughs, etc.); the methodology to be used was described. ); the methodology for the implementation of the action was described; a concrete budget for the action was defined and a timeframe for the execution of the measure was established.

Status

Completed. 

The action plans for the twenty demonstration olive groves were drawn up, compiling information during visits to the farms, thematic cartography and orthophotographs. This information has been crossed with the results of action A2 and the design of the restoration actions was agreed with the partners UJA-E and EEZA.

A GIS database was elaborated with the available cartographic information and another thematic cartography was developed, specific for each unproductive area of each demonstrative olive grove and the potential areas for action. All the potential sites for biodiversity restoration and recovery actions were selected, and it was determined which action or actions were the most appropriate for each of the selected areas, depending on their different conservation objectives. Finally, the actions to be carried out within the timeframe of the LIFE project were selected from all the potential actions.

The preliminary proposal of the conservation plans was discussed with the different managers of the demonstration olive groves in order to explain the planned interventions. In the course of these consultations, the suitability of the actions was assessed from the point of view of possible interference with agricultural work, and the interventions that a priori aroused most interest among the farmers were sounded out. The meetings were also useful for gathering information on the possible locations of points of interest for restoration that were not identified in the mapping phase or during the field visits, such as water points or areas suitable for the construction of ponds. The owners also provided information on the use given to the different buildings and irrigation ponds, since, depending on their use, they may or may not be suitable for the implementation of conservation actions.

The main adjustments that were made following these consultations were in relation to some of the initial plans for the roads inside the farms. These presented problems of interference with the passage of machinery or with harvesting work. In these cases, the planned actions were modified or adapted to avoid these problems. Some of the proposals related to the restoration of the water network were also adjusted, especially when the actions were planned in gullies or areas with erosion problems in the interior of the cultivated areas.

A5: Preparation of volunteer camps for the implementation of concrete conservation actions

Description

This action has served to prepare the general volunteer programme of the Olivares Vivos project and to undertake all the preliminary work necessary for the organisation and development of the volunteer camps foreseen in Action C9.

Status

Completed.  

During the first year of project implementation, information was collected for the preparation of the volunteer camps to be implemented within the framework of Action C9.

Available accommodations in the different areas of action were reviewed and the most suitable ones were selected, considering the location, the available facilities and the quality/price ratio. Meetings were held with several of these accommodations in order to get the best possible prices.

In the areas of action, places and activities of interest were reviewed in order to draw up the programmes of complementary activities for the different volunteer camps, mainly places of historical and artistic interest, sites of natural interest and visits to facilities related to olive growing (olive-growing museums, olive oil mills, EVOO tasting).

The general volunteer programme was completed in December 2016.

Subsequently, the first call for participation in the volunteering camps was launched through the Project’s website, the SEO/BirdLife website and through social networks (Facebook and Twitter). Eleven volunteer camps were organised between October 2016 and February 2017, with a total of 72 places. The call for applications was very well received (more than 300 applications) and all the places offered were filled.

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C1 Herbaceous canopy management in demonstration olive groves

Description

The maintenance of herbaceous cover in olive groves plays an important role in maintaining biodiversity, as well as providing ecosystem services, both at environmental and agronomic level. Through this action, the herbaceous cover of the demonstration olive groves is being managed to promote biodiversity thanks to its positive action on the flora and associated fauna, mainly arthropod fauna, which in turn has a positive impact on birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Management of the herbaceous cover is being carried out with a view to regenerating the natural vegetation present in the soil seed bank. To this end, chemical mowing with herbicides has been suspended in those demonstration farms where this practice was used before joining the project, and it was estimated in which of the farms it is necessary to carry out an initial tillage to favour the germination of the seeds present in the soil of the olive grove.

Progress achieved

In the stewardship contracts signed with the olive growers, they undertook to manage the vegetation cover on their farms in an appropriate manner.

Throughout the project, actions have been taken to improve the biodiversity of these canopies:

Changes in the general canopy management system. It has been proposed to abandon tillage and the application of herbicides and to adopt a management system based on mechanical weeding.

Shallow ploughing in some olive grove alleys, thus allowing species to germinate that would otherwise remain dormant.

Maintenance of small patches without ploughing, mowing or grazing. Late-seeded species reach the end of their cycle and produce seeds that can be dispersed around the farm.

Maintenance of arvense vegetation on some olive trees.

Sowing of native herbaceous species in the productive area of the olive grove. The herbaceous cover is enriched with groups of species that provide different ecological functions depending on the deficiencies observed in each olive grove, such as soil retaining species, pollinator attractors, pest controllers, species of interest to birds, etc.

Band sowing of cereals in olive grove lanes. This activity has been limited to a single demonstration olive grove (Cortijo Guadiana “extensive”). The farm is in an area traditionally suitable for steppe birds. This favours the habitat of these species, which despite the generalised changes in crops in the region, still maintain interesting populations in the area.

Status

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 herbaceous cover in the olive grove for 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:

  • Changes in the management of the herbaceous cover.
  • Shallow ploughing in certain areas.
  • Maintaining certain patches without clearing, ploughing or grazing.
  • Maintaining grasses under some olive trees.
  • Planting native grasses in productive areas of the olive grove.
  • Sow native species in olive grove borders.
  • Sow cereal strips in olive grove lanes.

C2 Creation of landscape diversification units in the demonstration olive groves.

Description

This action is creating landscape diversification units by planting, recovering and restoring natural vegetation in the demonstration olive groves.

These units have been created in unproductive areas of the olive grove, so that they do not interfere with the usual agricultural work on the farm. These are areas that maintained a varied plant community in structure and composition, but which with the mechanisation and intensification of the field were relegated to increasingly smaller spaces and in many cases disappeared as a result of a dynamic that became obsessed with “cleaning” the field, based on erroneous ideas such as these areas being a refuge for harmful animals (vermin) or that they were the breeding habitat and shelter for species that are a pest for the crop. The main unproductive areas to be found in the demonstration olive groves consist of boundaries between farms, boundaries between areas of the same farm with different planting patterns, roadsides, slopes and stream banks, slopes, steeply sloping areas, rocky formations unsuitable for cultivation, the immediate vicinity of houses or huts and strips along walls or fences. On some farms there are still small patches of uncultivated woodland, both high and low woodland.

These units have been planted with shrub species, fruit trees, herbaceous plants or regeneration and restoration of existing vegetation.

Specifically, the following actions are being carried out:

  • Recovery of boundaries with herbaceous species.
  • Restoration of boundaries with woody species.
  • Planting hedges.
  • Planting of copses.
  • Restoration of habitats in patches of natural vegetation.

These units are the basis for the establishment of an important faunal community: insects, spiders and other arthropods, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals will find shelter, food and breeding places in the new structures created in the demonstration olive groves. The herbaceous borders are of great importance mainly for arthropods, as a refuge for reptiles and as a nesting place for certain ground-nesting bird species, such as aludids.

The shrub borders, hedgerows and copses provide a suitable refuge and breeding area for micromammals (voles to shrews), reptiles (lizards, lizards and snakes) and a varied bird community, allowing the nesting of species adapted to shrub vegetation such as warblers or fringillids and serving as a feeding ground for both frugivorous species that consume the fruits of the planted shrubs and insectivorous species and birds of prey. The restoration of patches of Mediterranean scrub provides an important reinforcement of the functions of the previous structures, and also facilitates the possibility of their use by species that are less specialised in agricultural environments, or that require a different vegetation structure, as well as facilitating the function of the olive grove as a connection zone between areas of natural vegetation.

Progress achieved

Plantations with autochthonous species have been carried out in the twenty demonstration olive groves -as well as in the informative olive grove that the Project manages in the Parque Científico y Tecnológico del Olivar, Geolit-, as established in each of the Action Plans. These have been carried out both through the volunteer camps and with the team that has been hired for this purpose.

By mid-2020, they had been carried out:

  • Restoration of natural vegetation patches on 51 794 m2, where 6 728 specimens have been planted.
  • Revegetation of 32 301 m2 of boundaries, where 9 508 specimens of woody species have been planted.
  • Planting of 7 920 m2 of linear boundaries with autochthonous herbaceous species.

Status

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 shallow ploughing to shallow harrowing.

C3 Restoration of rural roadsides in the demonstration olive groves

Description

Restoration of roadsides has been carried out, based on the revegetation of their sides and slopes with native vegetation of herbaceous species and, mainly, shrubs and trees.

On the selected paths and sections, plantings have been made, mainly of shrub species and trees similar to those used in the hedges described in action C2: Rosa spp, Crategus monogyna, Quercus spp, Rhamnus spp, Phillyrea angustifolia, Retama spp, Capparis spinosa, Jasminum fruticans, Osyris alba, etc. A smaller number of fruit species have also been planted, such as cherry trees (Prunus avium), almond trees (Prunus dulcis) and apple trees (Malus domestica), where conditions have allowed.

The recovery of these roadsides has provided valuable structures for biodiversity, in the same way as hedges or boundaries, as they are similar vegetation structures that are in turn attracting a similar faunal community. To this positive function must be added the restoration or improvement of their connecting effect between different areas of the olive groves, and the possibility that the diversifying structures have a greater linear dimension than in other cases, due to the length of the paths. In short, their revegetation provides diversification and connectivity at a landscape scale, to which birds and mammals are expected to be particularly sensitive.

Progress achieved

By mid-2020, restoration activities totalled 34 756 m2 of roadsides, where 5 410 specimens of woody species have been planted and 4 935 linear metres have been planted with seeds.

Plantings have been carried out in one or more rows, depending on the width of the work area, leaving a variable distance between plants depending on the soil conditions and the potential size of the different species used. In accordance with the Action Plans, on occasions the planting was intermittent, leaving parts without revegetation, where the planting could interfere with the farm’s agricultural work.

The restoration work on the edges of rural roads has been carried out in all the demonstration olive groves, with the exception of El Tobazo, Piedras Cucas, Casa del Duque, La Tosquilla and Los Ojuelos, due to the absence of roads inside the estate (Los Ojuelos), the incompatibility of the possible work on the roads with the agricultural work and the regular traffic of machinery or the close proximity of the olive trees to the edges of the roads, which interferes with the olive harvesting work.

Status

Completed.

Restoration work has been carried out on 34,756 m2 of rural roadsides where 5,410 specimens of woody species have been planted. In addition, 4,935 linear metres of roadsides have been planted with herbaceous species.

Planting was carried out in one or more rows, depending on the width of the working 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.

C4 Revegetation of the water network in the demonstration olive groves.

Description

This action has been carried out in the rivers, streams, gullies and watercourses of the demonstration olive groves. The margins of these fluvial and/or erosive formations constitute unproductive areas within the olive grove and, therefore, areas susceptible to harbouring natural vegetation that contributes to diversifying the landscape and increasing biodiversity. In addition to fulfilling the general objective of introducing diversifying elements that increase the biodiversity of the olive grove landscape, this action also contributes to reducing diffuse erosion.

In the watercourses, vegetation covers made up of annual species and low perennial species have been installed. The installation, in the form of barriers perpendicular to the flow of water, has been carried out intermittently, so that the barriers slow down the speed of the water in episodes of heavy rainfall. Species such as Plantago albicans, which forms a thick, very fibrous vine that branches out to form lawns, Plantago laceolata, a hemicryptophyte that forms a basal rosette, or Oryzopsis miliacea, which is distributed in clumps that can be mowed repeatedly and is probably the best species for the areas at greatest risk of erosion, have been used.

Shrub species with strong, deep roots have been planted in the gullies. Different species have been used depending on whether it is the gully slope or the bottom, differentiating between wet and dry bottoms. On the slopes, species such as Jasminun fruticans, Rhamnus lycioides, Rosmarinus officinalis, Osyris alba, Capparis spinosa, Plumbago europea, Coronilla juncea, etc. have been planted. On dry bottoms, Pistacea terebinthus, Spartium junceum, Prunus spinosa, Colutea arborescens or Retama sphaerocarpa have been used in preference. On wet bottoms, species such as Bupleurum fruticosum, Glycyrrhiza galbra, Rubus fruticosum, Nerium oleander, Clematis flammula, Dorycnium hirsutum, Rhamnus alaternus, Sambucus nigra or Hypericum tomentosum have been used.

On the slopes, planting has been carried out by opening up horizontal hollows in the slope, which allow water to be retained in the first weeks after planting. The location of the plants has been determined by the size and geometry of the slope, mainly by its gradient.

In streams and permanent watercourses, riparian species such as Salix alba, S. fragilis, Populus alba, Populus nigra, Fraxinus angustifolia, Nerium oleander or Tamarix spp. have been planted.
In all the interventions foreseen in this action, special attention has been paid to using only plant species native to the area in which work is being carried out.

Progress achieved

By mid-2020, work had been carried out on 43,165 m2 in which 10,480 specimens of woody species had been planted.

These plantations had been adapted to the particular conditions of each area of action, which are highly conditioned by the terrain, which in some gullies is particularly rugged.

The planting points were chosen so as not to compromise the stability of the banks or slopes, while at the same time allowing the modelling of a small cork for water retention. Both in the selection of species and in the spatial distribution of the planting, the aim was to promote biodiversity and reduce erosion.

In some incipient gullies that run through productive areas in the olive groves, intermittent revegetation has been carried out, so that they fulfil their dual function of improving biodiversity and controlling erosion.

In addition, in four demonstration olive groves, native herbaceous species were sown on an ad hoc basis on a total of 5,723 m2 .

Status

Completed.

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.

C5 Adaptation of infrastructures of demonstration olive groves to increase biodiversity.

Description

This action has been carried out in the rivers, streams, gullies and gullies of the olive groves. This action proposes the implementation of a range of measures aimed at facilitating the reproduction of certain species of fauna on the demonstration farms. These are species which are well adapted to the olive grove agrosystem, but which are currently finding it very difficult to establish and breed because of the absence of buildings and other infrastructures which were common in the past, which has considerably reduced their populations and even led to their disappearance in large areas. The following measures have been implemented:
  • Installation of nest boxes for barn owls (Tyto alba)
  • Installation of nest boxes for lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni)
  • Installation of nest boxes for caracaras (Coracias garrulus) and little owls (Athene noctua)
  • Installation of nesting boxes for small passerines
  • Installation of bat nesting boxes
  • Installation of insect hotels
  • Construction of walls
  • Laying of stone mounds

Progress achieved

Until mid-2020, they have been carried out:
Installation of nest boxes for birds. Nest boxes of different types have been installed, mostly for passerines and small birds of prey. The nest boxes have been installed in areas where little availability of nesting places for these groups of birds has been observed.

Installation of bat roosts. Bat roosts of two different sizes have been installed. They have been placed in buildings located in the demonstration farms and in the roosting posts installed in the productive areas.

Installation of perches for birds of prey. Perching posts have been installed for birds of prey. These posts provide a perch that serves as a perch for locating prey or for safely consuming it once it has been captured. They have been installed in areas with a lack of trees of sufficient height to fulfil this function. The installation of the posts has been used to install nest boxes for small birds of prey and shelters for bats.

Construction and placement of nest boxes for insects. This restoration activity has been carried out in coordination with action A2 and has been executed both by UJA-E and EEZA technicians (A2), as well as by volunteers (C9) and SEO technicians in charge of action C5. This action has had a dual purpose. On the one hand, to estimate the presence and abundance of different groups of insects, mainly solitary bees, based on the occupancy rate of these nests. On the other hand, as a specific measure to increase biodiversity by favouring the presence and abundance of these insects and thus enhancing their important ecological functions.

Therefore, in order to compare the results at the different sampling points, each nest had two identical sections (same availability of nesting substrates, number of available holes and size of the holes drilled), with respect to each other and to the rest of the nest sites. After the laying period, one of the sections was removed for study in the laboratory (to identify the nesting species), while the other section was left in the demonstration olive groves to increase the availability of breeding habitat for these insects.

Construction of stone walls. Small dry stone walls have been built using rocky materials from the surroundings of the demonstration olive grove. Preferably, locations have been chosen in border areas (between productive and unproductive), areas close to water points (which can serve as a refuge for amphibian species), or plantation areas with erosion protection needs.

On the other hand, a hacking or field breeding project was carried out for barn owls (Tyto alba), a small bird of prey that is suffering from the loss or deterioration of buildings suitable for its reproduction, conservation problems related to the quantity and quality of the prey available, etc. To this end, an old haystack in the Cortijo de Conde de Guadiana was adapted and thirteen baby owls were released from Species Recovery Centres in Jaén, Seville and Madrid, which were fed and monitored through camera traps for months, until they decided to take the leap outdoors. Even later, this monitoring continued, mainly through the study of their pellets.

In 2019, an old electrical transformer was rehabilitated to convert it into a living house. This action was carried out in the Virgen de los Milagros demonstration olive grove, located in Mancha Real (Jaén). Its interior was adapted and numerous nest boxes of different sizes were introduced, adapted for different species of birds, in which owls, owlets and kestrels from CREA Quiebrajano (Jaén) were cared for a few days before being released to reinforce their population in this olive grove.

Actions

Nesting boxes for small raptors

Nesting insectivorous birds

Innkeepers

Bat roosts

Walls

Mounds

Insect nests

Realised

40

91

18

37

5

0

95

State

Completed.

Adaptation of irrigation ponds and construction of ponds and drinking troughs

Description

Through this action, water points will be adapted or constructed so that they can be easily used by different species of birds, mammals, amphibians and invertebrates. These water points are of key value in the olive grove ecosystem, as water is often one of the main limiting factors, as is normally the case in Mediterranean environments.

Two types of actions will be carried out:

  • Adaptation of irrigation ponds
  • Construction of ponds and drinking troughs

Progress achieved

Construction of ponds. Ten ponds were constructed in eight demonstration olive groves. Eight of these ponds were constructed using 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. The waterproof membrane has been covered with gravel, concrete and stones and/or earth material to facilitate and accelerate its naturalisation. The water supply was provided from the nearest available water supply point. A minimum water level is maintained by supplementary water supply.

Two of the ponds were constructed without the use of waterproofing membranes. They are located in a small temporary watercourse, where the water table remains high for most of the year. These ponds dry up during the summer, as many natural ponds do, when the inhabitants adopt different strategies to overcome this period. Some species, especially amphibians, bury themselves, others hide in small holes or among stones. Many organisms adopt other forms of resistance such as laying resistant eggs or burying themselves in quiescent phases.

Placement of troughs. The selected drinking troughs are made of concrete, about 45 cm long and 20 cm wide. They are connected to a 200-litre tank and the water supply is regulated by a buoy system. They have been placed at strategic points, away from other water points in the environment, and in the vicinity of potential bird breeding areas.

Adaptation of irrigation ponds. These have been carried out in the three demonstration olive groves with this type of infrastructure: Cortijo de Guadiana, Virgen de los Milagros and Finca la Torre. The edges of Finca la Torre and Cortijo de Guadiana have been revegetated (due to the characteristics of the pond, this action is not possible in Virgen de los Milagros) and a series of floating islands have been built, for the time being, in Cortijo de Guadiana.

Status

Completed.

Construction of ponds. Ten ponds were constructed in eight demonstration olive groves. Eight of these ponds were constructed using 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. The waterproof membrane has been covered with gravel, concrete and stones and/or earth material to facilitate and accelerate its naturalisation. The water supply was provided from the nearest available water supply point. A minimum water level is maintained by supplementary water supply.

Two of the ponds were constructed without the use of waterproofing membranes. They are located in a small temporary watercourse, where the water table remains high for most of the year. These ponds dry up during the summer, as many natural ponds do, when the inhabitants adopt different strategies to overcome this period.

Some species, especially amphibians, bury themselves, others hide in small holes or among stones. Many organisms adopt other forms of resistance such as laying resistant eggs or burying themselves in quiescent phases. Placement of troughs. The selected drinking troughs are made of concrete, about 45 cm long and 20 cm wide. They are connected to a 200-litre tank and the water supply is regulated by a buoy system. They have been placed at strategic points, away from other water points in the environment, and in the vicinity of potential bird breeding areas.

Adaptation of irrigation ponds. These have been carried out in the three demonstration olive groves with this type of infrastructure: Cortijo de Guadiana, Virgen de los Milagros and Finca la Torre. The edges of Finca la Torre and Cortijo de Guadiana have been revegetated (due to the characteristics of the pond, this action is not possible in Virgen de los Milagros) and a series of floating islands have been built, for the time being, in Cortijo de Guadiana.

C7 Assistance in the production and marketing of Olivares Vivos oils

Description

This action has a twofold objective: on the one hand, to ensure the profitability of the brand through an appropriate production and marketing strategy and, on the other hand, to facilitate and improve the production and marketing process of the oil produced in the pilot olive groves certified as Olivares Vivos.

Olivares Vivos reinforces the response to the growing demand for a quality product with added environmental values. Therefore, in order to ensure profitability and a demonstrative effect, it is essential to guarantee the quality of Olivares Vivos oils, as this added value will reach a wider public if it is linked to quality oils. It is therefore necessary that the oils under this brand are also associated with quality oils which, in addition, contribute to halting the loss of biodiversity.

For this reason, it is essential that consumers not only identify living olive oil with the recovery of biodiversity, but also with quality EVOO. A quality oil produced in olive groves that preserve life would be a novel product in demand by a much wider public.

The introduction of quality standards in Olivares Vivos is not a disadvantage for olive growers who want to convert their olive groves into living olive groves, but rather an advantage, since the initiative of olive growers who have gone from being olive producers to oil producers (a prior step for the certification of living olive groves) has always been aimed at the production of high quality EVOO. In addition, olive growers will always appreciate that the oils that will share the guarantee mark with theirs meet these quality standards.

With regard to the marketing strategy to ensure profitability, an adequate promotion strategy is needed to define the strategic marketing and communication lines necessary to successfully introduce Olivares Vivos in the market and increase its demand. In order to develop this strategic framework, it is necessary to define the product well, identify potential consumer groups, analyse their needs in order to know them better and meet their demands.

The following marketing actions will be carried out to implement this action:

Design and launch of the Olivares Vivos guarantee brand.

Specifically, this action will involve the graphic design of the brand and the selection of the symbol and/or logo, as well as the analysis and selection of the most appropriate content in accordance with the message to be evoked through Olivares Vivos.

Ad hoc market research to analyse consumer behaviour

The aim of this action is to analyse the degree of knowledge and preferences of the target public in relation to olive oils by carrying out various market research studies. In general, as basic studies, various surveys will be carried out to study the preferences and best ways of marketing the product (purchase intention, preferred place of purchase, willingness to pay, etc.). This information will be the knowledge base to guide all strategic and operational marketing in the launch of the oil produced under the Olivares Vivos olive growing model.

Advisory actions for the launch and marketing of the Olivares Vivos product.

Periodic conferences and seminars will be held where the marketing problems will be presented at round tables and the actions (market studies, promotion and communication campaigns, lobbying of the Administration, etc.) and strategies to be followed will be determined. Given the contingent nature of this type of action, the specific nature of these actions will be established according to the problems and opportunities that arise during the launching of the initiative. Likewise, the possibility of having the collaboration of experts in the strategic field of agri-food product marketing who can serve as a reference for the Olivares Vivos project will be assessed. It should be made clear that the aim of the Olivares Vivos guarantee mark is for olive oil producers to contribute to the recovery of biodiversity thanks to the changes in the production model proposed by the project, and to do so by means of the added value incentive that certification will provide. All economic benefits derived from the sale of olive oil certified as “Olivares Vivos” will return exclusively to the olive oil producers.

Under no circumstances will the project benefit financially from these sales.

Defining a Business Strategy and contingency plans
Depending on the monitoring of the evolution of the impact of the guarantee mark on the market and the results of the market studies, a Contingency Plan will be drawn up containing a list of possible problems that could affect the sustainability of the model in the post-LIFE period and strategies for responding to them.

Progress achieved

During the first half of 2017, a Seminar/Workshop was held with researchers specialising 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 responsible for 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 the company during the third quarter of 2017 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 in these countries.

The aim of this empirical study is twofold: on the one hand, to select the guarantee seal most highly 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, of biodiversity, a novel methodology of data categorisation was applied to identify possible associations between biodiversity and other concepts or issues 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 the production of EVOO: when is the best time to do it, how to mill the olives, 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.

Status

Completed.

C8 Determination of certification criteria and procedure

Description

The Olivares Vivos brand will certify those olive groves that are making an active, effective and proven contribution to halting and reversing the loss of biodiversity in the EU. To this end, the oil labelled with this mark must come from olive groves that are making (in conversion to Olivares Vivos) or have made an effort to recover biodiversity and have increased it by a certain proportion. In other words, the mark does not certify olive groves that already have a certain level of biodiversity, but those that have recovered biodiversity through a percentage increase in the number of indicator species that live in the grove or use it to complete their life cycle.

The aim of this criterion is to increase the effectiveness of Olivares Vivos in halting the loss of biodiversity, since in any case the award of the mark will actually involve recovering biodiversity.

The effort required will be variable and established objectively and quantitatively on the basis of a biodiversity potential established for each type of olive grove on the basis of the results of actions A2 and D1 and which is determined by unmanageable factors (i.e. not dependent on agricultural management) such as its geographical location, its location in the mountains, countryside or valley, the context of general landscape complexity in which it is found, its size, etc. Thus, poorly conserved olive groves with low levels of biodiversity (relative to their potential) in the pre-operational state will require a higher percentage increase for certification than those that have been better conserved and have a higher biodiversity. In any case, both must increase their biodiversity so that the oils produced in Olivares Vivos have unequivocally contributed to the rescue of flora and fauna species and to the conservation of these species for as long as they are certified as such.

On the other hand, it is necessary to establish the necessary procedure and protocols for the conversion to live olive groves and subsequent certification. Initially, it will consist of the following phases that will be reviewed and detailed according to the results obtained in the different actions that will have been implemented in the demonstration olive groves.

Application for conversion to live olive groves
Developing a restoration plan to achieve the biodiversity target
Implementation of the restoration plan
Monitoring of indicators
Once the minimum biodiversity threshold set for the olive grove is reached, the Olivares Vivos certification will be granted.

Biodiversity reviews. As a minimum, the biodiversity threshold at which certification was achieved (number of species, density and reproductive success) shall be maintained.

In addition to the oil being produced in olive groves that meet the required criteria in terms of increased biodiversity, the procedure will also lay down the quality criteria that the oil produced must meet.

The Olivares Vivos guarantee brand will be registered at the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (OEPM) and the procedure will be published in the form of a regulation, which will be submitted to the approval process required by the OEPM for guarantee brands.

Progress achieved

Work on the establishment of the certification criteria and procedures started on schedule, which involved a thorough review of the main international sustainability standards as well as best practice manuals on standardisation.

The analysis of the results of action D1 allowed:

Establish the criteria for biodiversity restoration in order to obtain certification.

Select indicators that best reflect this recovery, combining effectiveness 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.

Status

Completed.

C9 Development of volunteer camps for the implementation of conservation actions C2, C3, C4, C5 and C6

Description

The specific conservation actions contemplated in actions C2, C3, C4, C5 and C6 have been implemented through this action, which has transversally developed volunteer camps whose main activities have consisted in the implementation of the measures set by these actions. The volunteering activities were carried out between 2016 and 2018.

Status

Completed.

The volunteer camps took place between October 2016 and April 2018, with a total of 19 work camps out of the 20 scheduled. Volunteer work camp no. 15, planned to take place at the Rancho del Herrador and Peña del Gallo farms between 4 and 9 June, was cancelled due to weather conditions that prevented the restoration work from being carried out successfully.

In each of the shifts, 8 volunteers participated and the duration varied from 11 to 5 days, except for shifts 10 and 11, which lasted two days (weekend) and in which the volunteers were trainees from the University of Jaén (partner of the project) who wanted to participate in the project through the volunteer programme of the Aula Verde of this university.

The activities carried out in the volunteer camps were divided between restoration work in the mornings and complementary activities in the afternoons. The environmental restoration work consisted of planting, sowing, placing nesting boxes, building stone walls and piles, installing perches, building ponds and installing drinking troughs. During the afternoons, the volunteer programme included cultural and environmental activities.

These fields were complemented with some specific volunteering activities. In the first of these, during several days in March 2017, work was carried out in the experimental garden of the UJA on the construction of insect nest boxes that were subsequently placed in the project’s olive groves as part of the biodiversity monitoring (A2 and D1) and conservation (C5) actions.

On 21 April 2017, 50 students of Biology and Environmental Sciences of the UJA participated in the planting of woody plants in the demonstration olive grove of Piedras Cucas. This activity was organised jointly with the Ecology and Environmental Restoration subjects, as part of the practicals of these subjects.

On Saturday 13 May, a plantation was organised in the informative olive grove that the project has in the Geolit technology park. Twelve volunteers collaborated in this planting. This work was part of the actions carried out in this informative olive grove, provided by Geolit, to replicate the restoration actions that we carry out in the demonstration olive groves (C1-C6).

Adding up all the actions carried out in the volunteer camps and in the specific work days, a total of 8138 plants have been planted and more than 120 metres of hunting netting has been installed to protect these plants in places where their success could be compromised by wild or domestic animals.

Likewise, 3 ponds have been created to improve the reproduction of amphibious species in the olive grove, 14 drinking troughs for birds and mammals have been installed, 1227 m2 of native herbaceous species have been planted, 84 nesting boxes for passerines have been placed, 4 nesting boxes for owls and 4 nesting boxes for owls have been installed, 4 nesting boxes for owls, 14 roosts for birds of prey including a nesting box for owls or kestrels, installed 12 shelter boxes for bats, erected 88 m of stone walls and built and placed 186 nesting boxes for insects.

A total of 226 people took part in the volunteer programme, including those who participated in one-off activities.
Most of the volunteers came from Andalusia.

However, there were also volunteers from 10 other autonomous communities. Similarly, volunteers from 10 other countries (Serbia, Ukraine, Italy, Belgium, Colombia, England, Equatorial Guinea, Armenia, Brazil and the Netherlands) participated.

All volunteering camps were evaluated by the participants through satisfaction surveys, with the exception of shifts 10 and 11, whose level of satisfaction was not possible to know since the evaluation provided by Aula Verde (UJA) referred to its entire volunteering programme). These surveys assessed various issues (timetables, workload, accommodation, meals, complementary activities, dealing with the project staff, etc.) and served to know the participants’ opinion about the LIFE Olivares Vivos volunteering and, above all, to improve those aspects that were worst rated. This seems to have been achieved, as the average score went from 8.94 in the first eight areas evaluated to 9.40 in the following eight.

Between 14 and 16 February, a special volunteer camp was held in the demonstration olive groves of Benzalá and Rambla Llana, in which about 6 volunteers participated.

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D1 Monitoring of biodiversity indicators in demonstration olive groves

Description

This action aims, on the one hand, to evaluate the achievements and improvements in biodiversity obtained from the conservation actions carried out in the demonstration olive groves and, on the other, to provide the scientific basis for drawing up certification protocols for olive oils that contribute to halting the loss of biodiversity. In short, the aim is to answer the questions:

  • The extent to which conservation actions C are effective in restoring biodiversity (functional and species).
  • To what extent the effectiveness of such actions depends on the landscape context, size and farm management of the farm.
  • What levels of biodiversity recovery are necessary to obtain certification of living olive groves.

To this end, the following questions will be addressed:

Diversity, complexity and connectivity of the landscape, with special attention to the changes achieved after 4 years in the pilot plots as a consequence of the actions carried out.

We intend to compile this GIS information, as in previous actions, provided that orthophotos were available from Andalusia after 3 or 4 years of the landscape diversification actions (estimated for 2019-2020). In any case, the transverse and height growth of hedges, boundaries, etc., that have been installed, as well as the cover in the case of island copses, will be assessed.

  • Biodiversity of woody and arvenous flora, birds, ants and pollinating insects.
  • Breeding success of birds.
  • Pollination and seed dispersal networks with special attention to the changes that occur as a result of the actions.

Progress achieved

In April 2019, field work began to monitor biodiversity indicators (D1). In addition to replicating all A2 work in the post-operational phase, new biodiversity sampling not originally planned was carried out to assess the effects of 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.

Status

Completed.

D2 Monitoring of the development and profitability of demonstration olive groves

Description

Throughout the process of converting the demonstration farms to Olivares Vivos, their balance sheets will be monitored to determine the evolution of the farm’s profitability, from the period prior to the start of the project to the last year of operation.

Progress achieved

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 strengthen the analysis of the economic and social impact of the project.

An external assistance collaboration 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, referring 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, 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.

Status

Completed.

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

Description

Through this action, information will be collected that will be used to carry out an initial monitoring of the notoriety of the Olivares Vivos certification and the degree of consumer satisfaction with the product. Similarly, the evolution of this indicator will serve to optimise the business strategy and guarantee the sustainability of the Olivares Vivos model in the post-LIFE period.

Progress achieved

This action began in December 2018, once the EVOOs produced in the demonstration olive groves during that season were on the market. Since then, the collection of the information needed 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 label 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 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 UK, Germany and Denmark.

Status

Completed.

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

Description

All aspects of the project that have an impact on the local population will be monitored and information will be collected in order to assess its social and economic impact.

Social impact:

Organisation of activities and events. The activities organised will be recorded and the participation of the local population in them will be counted.

Economic impact:

The expenditure incurred by the project on professionals and companies in the different project areas, through the different external assistance planned, will be accounted for. An estimate will also be made of the future economic impact of this work based on different scenarios for the growth of olive groves subscribed to OOVV. The project will at all times seek to prioritise local contracting for external assistance.

Progress achieved

The different actions carried out in the LIFE Olivares Vivos project have had an impact on various sectors of the local population, such as trade, awareness-raising among target groups, job creation or specialised training.

In order to assess this impact in the different areas of project implementation, specific objectives were identified, answering 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 project’s contribution 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 regard, 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 the sustainable management of agricultural land and the development of environmental restoration plans.

The social impact on the different target audiences has been significant. The awareness-raising campaigns have reached a large audience, 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 the work strategies of Olivares Vivos in the areas of environmental restoration, use of the ecosystem services of biodiversity and 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.

Status

Completed.

D5 Assessment of the impact of the project on the restoration of ecosystem functions

Description

An estimation of ecosystem functions will be made from a human-interaction point of view, understanding this interaction between the ecosystem function and its use by humans, directly or indirectly, as an “ecosystem service”. Ecosystem services are defined as the direct or indirect contributions of the ecosystem to human well-being.

Progress achieved

The ecosystem functions and services analysed were:

(i) Productivity of the herbaceous cover and its protective role against erosion.

ii) Improving 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 olive landscapes.

iv) Pollination of flowering plants by insects that promotes 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 considers the homogenisation and simplification of landscapes due to olive grove 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 scale, recover rapidly after the implementation of the Olivares Vivos restoration plans.

(2) This recovery is more pronounced on 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 the remnants of native vegetation would improve significantly (up to 4 times) with the recovery 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 the seed dispersal service and to improve connectivity in olive landscapes.

(6) Insect-mediated pollination of wild flowering plants is an important service in olive groves 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 groves 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, which are 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.

Status

Completed.

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

Description

This action will serve as a guide to optimise the dissemination of the project’s objectives, actions and results at local, national and international level and to ensure that the public communication, dissemination, awareness raising and participation actions necessary for the achievement of the project’s objectives are implemented in a coordinated, complementary and cost-effective manner.

Progress achieved

Una vez finalizado el Plan de Comunicación, se celebró una rueda de prensa en la Universidad de Jaén en abril de 2016, y se lanzó oficialmente el proyecto. Este evento reunió a todos los socios y cofinanciadores del proyecto y fue cubierto por varios medios de comunicación.
De acuerdo con el Plan de Comunicación, se llevaron a cabo diferentes actividades de comunicación. En una primera fase, se preparó y difundió información sobre el proyecto, sus objetivos y los problemas a los que se dirige. A continuación, la comunicación se centró en transmitir lo que se estaba haciendo (acciones del proyecto) tanto a los interesados como al público en general.
En total, se difundieron veintisiete notas de prensa, cumpliendo los objetivos establecidos en la propuesta (seis notas de prensa anuales). Además, la página web de Olivares Vivos incluyó 78 noticias originales y 50 boletines electrónicos en formato html.
Además, se llevaron a cabo actividades de difusión a través de los diferentes canales de los socios. En este sentido, el proyecto ha sido objeto de tres artículos en la revista «Aves y Naturaleza», que SEO/BirdLife distribuye a todos sus 12.000 socios y a numerosos actores de renombre del ámbito medioambiental. En la misma línea, aparecimos en la revista Vår Fågelvärld, repartida por BirdLife Sverige, nuestro socio de BirdLife en Suecia. Se han publicado varios reportajes y boletines periódicos en la web de SEO/BirdLife -que tiene más de un millón de visitas al año-. Asimismo, se han publicado informaciones a través de los canales propios de los socios (UJA, EEZA-CSIC y DIPUJAEN).
Los socios han establecido un sistema coordinado para atender todas las solicitudes espontáneas de información relacionada con el proyecto que realizan los medios de comunicación. Además, han diseñado un protocolo de comunicación interna para favorecer la difusión.

La labor de difusión ha tenido una notable repercusión en medios de comunicación como la cadena de televisión pública regional Canal Sur. El periódico internacional The Guardian, los nacionales El País o Público y los regionales Diario Jaén o Ideal han realizado reportajes sobre Olivares Vivos. También la agencia de noticias EFE, Europa Press o Associated Press han venido a visitarnos. Otros ejemplos podrían ser la radio y televisión pública española RTVE, la radio y televisión pública italiana RAI, la cadena SER o la televisión Antena 3.

Asimismo, se llevó a cabo difusión en redes sociales (Facebook y Twitter), logrando un claro ritmo de crecimiento de interacciones y número de seguidores. Por ejemplo, si se compara enero de 2017 y enero de 2018, el número de impresiones en Twitter ha pasado de 21.200 a57.200.

Además, el proyecto ha sido presentado y debatido en la reunión de comunicadores de la Federación BirdLife Europa, integrada por todas las organizaciones socias de SEO/BirdLife en los estados miembros de la UE. Se está trabajando para abrir nuevas vías de colaboración y promover la difusión del proyecto en otros países, así como para establecer sinergias con otras iniciativas en curso
También se presentó el proyecto en ferias y encuentros sectoriales nacionales e internacionales, especialmente en Expoliva 2017 y Expoliva, 2019, Feria del Olivo de Montoro, en Montoro (Córdoba); Futuroliva, en Baeza (Jaén), feria de maquinaria agrícola de Úbeda, en Úbeda (Jaén) y OleoCarteya, en Carteya (Córdoba). Además, hemos participado en Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, en Turín (Italia), como único proyecto LIFE invitado a este evento.

En cuanto a la preparación y el diseño del material promocional, se han diseñado y producido los siguientes artículos:
– 5 banners roll-up generales sobre el proyecto
– 1 banner roll-up sobre la publicación «Buenas ‘malas’ hierbas del olivar
– 2 photocalls (4×3 m)
– 2 pancartas enrollables sobre la campaña escolar
– Camisetas
– Sombreros de Olivares Vivos
– Gorras Olivares Vivos
– Bolígrafo tipo 1
– Bolígrafo tipo 2
– Bolígrafo tipo 3
– Bolsas de algodón (dos tipos)
– Bidones de agua de fibra de bambú
– Cuadernos de notas
– Folleto «Resumen del proyecto LIFE» en español
– Folleto «Resumen del proyecto LIFE» en inglés
– «Resumen del proyecto LIFE» folleto en italiano
– Folleto «OlivaresVivos en acción junio de 2017»
– Folleto «OlivaresVivos en acción diciembre 2017»
– Folleto «OlivaresVivos en acción junio de 2018»
– Folleto «OlivaresVivos en acción diciembre 2018»
– Folleto «OlivaresVivos en acción junio 2019»
– Folleto «OlivaresVivos en acción diciembre 2019»
– Folleto «OlivaresVivos en acción junio 2020»
– Folleto resumen del proyecto en español
– Folleto resumen del proyecto en inglés
– Folleto resumen del proyecto en francés
– Folleto de la campaña de voluntariado 1
– Folleto de la campaña de voluntariado 2
– Kit de prensa en español
– Caja de herramientas para la prensa en inglés

Status

Finalizado.

E2 Paneles informativos en los olivares piloto

Description

Installation of 16 large-format wooden outdoor information panels with key information on the project’s objectives and actions at strategic points in the pilot olive groves. The installation of the panels will be carried out in the third year, so that they reflect the evolution and achievements of the project. One panel will be installed for each demonstration olive grove (20 panels). The installed panels will also include the information to download the interactive routes designed in the framework of action E10.

Status

Finished.

An information panel has been installed in each of the demonstration olive groves and in the informative olive grove that the Project manages in Geolit.

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

Description

A series of informative and demonstrative sessions will be organised, in which the farmers responsible for the demonstration olive groves, together with the project technicians, will present the Olivares Vivos project and tell, in first person, their experiences throughout the development process of the project. The sessions will be aimed at the olive sector, and will be structured in such a way that the participation of the audience is as active as possible, both in terms of raising questions or doubts, and in terms of obtaining their opinion on the different aspects that will be dealt with.

On the other hand, perception surveys will be carried out to evaluate the receptiveness to the change of production model that this project aims to bring about. These surveys will be carried out at the beginning (1st year) and at the end of the project (last year) in order to determine whether the implementation and dissemination of the OLIVARES VIVOS project is promoting a change in this receptiveness.

Progress achieved

This action covers two distinct activities. On the one hand, surveys aimed at measuring the perception of the project in general and of its approach and objectives by the olive sector and, on the other, 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 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.

The results can be seen by clicking here.

On the other hand, with regard to the informative and demonstrative 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.

Likewise, we have been invited and have participated in multiple conferences organised by associations such as “No solo olivos”, the City Council of Cabra (Córdoba), the Protected Designation of Origin of Olive Oil Oli de Mallorca and APAEMA or ASAJA-Sevilla.

Status

Finished.

E4 Recovery and dissemination of olive tree culture in the project area

Description

This action proposes a series of actions aimed at halting the deterioration and loss of the agrarian culture of the olive grove, which underpins the traditional uses and the sustainable and multifunctional management attitudes that made the olive grove a more biodiverse environment.

The recovery and revaluation of these elements of traditional rural culture necessarily involves the recovery of the cultural memory of the olive grove. To this end, it is necessary to provide initiatives and tools that serve as a seed so that, after the end of the project, it will be the inhabitants of the olive-growing regions themselves who, through a bottom-up participatory process, will continue this process of recovery, revaluation and dissemination of their rural culture.

In order to develop this demonstrative action, four representative regions will be selected from different traditional olive-growing regions: the Sierra de Segura, in Jaén; the countryside of Jaén; the countryside of Cordoba; and the Sierra de Grazalema. This was later joined by the region of Valle de los Pedroches, in Cordoba.

Once the municipalities have been selected, the action will be structured in two phases:

In the first phase, the sources of knowledge on the culture of the olive grove related to the traditional uses of this environment will be identified.
In the second phase, the school campaign “A very close adventure” will be launched.

Progress achieved

Four counties where this action is being developed were selected. The selection criteria were aimed at optimising the demonstration and dissemination value of their results, based on (1) achieving the greatest possible representativeness of the olive-growing landscapes of the study area, (2) their proximity to the demonstration 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.

Olive-growing regionLocationsDemonstrative Olive Groves
Sierra de SeguraArroyo del Ojanco, Torres de Albanchez, Beas de Segura, Puente de Génave, Orcera, Siles, La Puerta de Segura, Cortijos Nuevos, Santiago de la Espada, Agrupación de Mogón, Chilluévar, Hornos, Mogón y Villacarrillo.Ardachel
Campiña de JaénTorredonjimeno, Martos, Torredelcampo, Alcaudete, Jamilena, Santiago de Calatrava, Higuera de Calatrava, La Bobadilla, Las Casillas, Noguerones, Villardompardo, Porcuna, Escañuela, Fuerte del Rey, Fuensanta de Martos, Monte Lope Álvarez y Cazalilla.Piedras Cucas, Cañada del Duz
Campiña de CórdobaBaena, Castro del Río, Albendín, Llano del Espinar, Espejo, Nueva Carteya, Luque, Zuheros, Doña Mencía, Montilla, La Rambla y Montemayor.La Tosquilla, Casa del Duque
Sierra de GrazalemaZahara de la Sierra, Puerto Serrano, Prado del Rey, Algodonales, La Muela, Olvera y Setenil de la Bodegas.Rancho del Herrador, Peña del Gallo

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.

Status

Finished.

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

Description

A guide will be published that compiles the most relevant results of the work carried out during the 5 years of implementation of the LIFE project, with conclusions and recommendations aimed at the managers of the agricultural policies of the different administrations.

The recommendations will be based on the results obtained in the conservation actions implemented through the specific conservation actions, the effects of these actions on biodiversity (Action D1), the profitability of olive farms (Action D2) and the economy of the study areas (Action D4). By carrying out an integrated analysis of this whole set of results, recommendations for olive orchard management for biodiversity recovery will be formulated.

The guide will also analyse how the different conservation actions recommended can be encouraged through different mechanisms and how public administrations can support them by adapting the different lines of aid and subsidies available.

Progress achieved

Olivares Vivos Guide.

Status

Finished.

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

Description

The results of the project, and especially the recommendations contained in the guide (action E5), will be disseminated to the technical and political decision-makers of the administrations responsible for agricultural policy and rural development, as well as for environmental matters where appropriate.

Progress achieved

As 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 take this seat. In this way 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 farming and environmental organisations in the platform “For another CAP”.

Status

Finished.

E7 Network of municipalities for Olivares Vivos

Description

It will consist of the creation and implementation of a network of municipalities working together to improve the environment in olive-growing areas, focusing their efforts on the following priority objectives:

Promotion of olive grove management systems compatible with the conservation and recovery of biodiversity.
Promotion of the cultural and social values of the rural olive grove environment.
Promoting the tourism potential of the olive grove, focusing on its cultural knowledge and biodiversity.
Facilitating the dissemination of the project results.
Facilitating the organisation of project actions in their municipalities.

For the creation of the Network, the structure of the Network of Municipalities for Sustainability (RMS) of the province of Jaén, coordinated by the Provincial Council of Jaén, will be used. Through the RMS, the project will be presented to its members and the objectives of the action will be explained in detail. The members of the RMS will be invited to join the Network of Municipalities for Living Olive Groves (REMOV). Subsequently, in a second phase, other olive-growing municipalities in the rest of the Andalusian provinces will be invited to join the Network.

Finally, a commitment document will be signed in which the municipalities commit themselves to the aforementioned objectives. The project undertakes to advise the municipalities in the event that they launch initiatives related to olive groves and biodiversity.

Progress achieved

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 in 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. A prize was awarded and the Diputación de Jaén has been commissioned to print a volume with the winning stories.

Status

Finished.

E8 Getting to know the culture of the olive grove. Experiential tourism in Olivares Vivos

Description

The aim of this action is to provide the opportunity to get to know the culture of the olive grove at first hand.

It will consist of a demonstrative experience that will be organised jointly with rural accommodation in the olive-growing areas. It will be organised during the third, fourth and fifth year of the project, each year in a different area of the Andalusian olive grove, always in the vicinity of one of the pilot farms participating in the project.

In each of these years, during the busiest season in the olive groves, the olive harvesting period, a programme of activities for tourists will be drawn up. The collaborating accommodations will include these activities in their accommodation offer. Several different accommodations will work with the aim of achieving the participation of 10 tourists for each edition. The programme of activities will include participation in some of the traditional olive harvesting activities, learning about the olive growing cycle and the olive oil production process, and experiencing some of the traditions surrounding this activity.

Progress achieved

This action began with previous meetings between the coordinator and project technicians (DIPUJAEN and SEO) and 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. The event took place in a demonstration olive grove and was attended by project technicians and volunteers, who valued the experience very highly.

Status

Finished.

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

Description

The first step in disseminating the results will be to present them at some of the main scientific conferences and technical seminars on related topics. For example, specific congresses such as the International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture, Environment and Forestry (ICSAEF) or general ecology congresses where related topics are represented, such as the International Association for Ecology (INTECOL) which, for example, included in 2013 the sessions “Applying ecological science to increase agricultural yield and sustainability” and “Biodiversity, ecosystem services and multifunctional landscapes”, or the annual congress of the British Ecological Society, which in 2012 included sessions dedicated to “Insect pollination: land use, disease, pesticides and ecosystem services” and “Balancing food security and environmental concenrs: chagenlles of sustainable intensification on land and sea”. Preliminary results obtained mainly from actions A2 and D1 would be presented at such conferences.

Once final results from these actions have been obtained, the aim will be to publish them in scientific journals. The planning of the studies described in these actions responds to sampling designs that meet the necessary requirements for a scientific analysis of the data obtained. Furthermore, the type of questions that these actions aim to answer are highly topical in the field of research in Agriculture and the Environment.

Progress achieved

The following contributions have been made:

Tarifa, R., Martínez Núñez, C; Valera, F; González-Varo, J. P.; Salido, T.; Rey, P.J. (2021). Agricultural intensification erodes taxonomic and functional diversity in Mediterranean olive groves by filtering out rare species. Journal of Applied Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.13970
Mario Díaz, Elena D Concepción, Manuel B Morales, Juan Carlos Alonso, Francisco M Azcárate, Ignacio Bartomeus, Gérard Bota, Lluis Brotons, Daniel García, David Giralt, José Eugenio Gutiérrez, José Vicente López-Bao, Santiago Mañosa, Rubén Milla, Marcos Miñarro, Alberto Navarro, Pedro P Olea, Carlos Palacín, Begoña Peco, Pedro J Rey, Javier Seoane, Susana Suárez-Seoane, Christian Schöb, Rocío Tarjuelo, Juan Traba, Francisco Valera, Elena Velado-Alonso. 2021. Environmental Objective s of Spanish Agriculture: Scientific Guidelines for their Effective Implementation under the Common Agricultural Policy 2023-2030. Ardeola, 68, 445-460.
Martínez‐Núñez, C., Rey, P.J. (2021). Hybrid networks reveal contrasting effects of agricultural intensification on antagonistic and mutualistic motifs. Functional Ecology, 35,1341–1352.
Martínez-Núñez, C., Rey, P. J., Salido, T., Manzaneda, A. J., Camacho, F. M., & Isla, J. (2021). Ant community potential for pest control in olive groves: Management and landscape effects. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 305, 107185.
Martínez-Núñez, C., Rey, P. J., Manzaneda, A. J., Tarifa, R., Salido, T., Isla, J., … & Molina, J. L. (2020). Direct and indirect effects of agricultural practices, landscape complexity and climate on insectivorous birds, pest abundance and damage in olive groves. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 304, 107145.
Martínez-Núñez, C., Manzaneda, A. J., & Rey, P. J. (2020). Plant-solitary bee networks have stable cores but variable peripheries under differing agricultural management: Bioindicator nodes unveiled. Ecological Indicators, 115, 106422.
Martínez‐Núñez, C., Manzaneda, A. J., Isla, J., Tarifa, R., Calvo, G., Molina, J. L., … & Rey, P. J. (2020). Low‐intensity management benefits solitary bees in olive groves. Journal of Applied Ecology, 57(1), 111-120.
Martínez‐Núñez, C., Manzaneda, A. J., Lendínez, S., Pérez, A. J., Ruiz‐Valenzuela, L., & Rey, P. J. (2019). Interacting effects of landscape and management on plant–solitary bee networks in olive orchards. Functional Ecology, 33(12), 2316-2326.
Rey, P. J., Manzaneda, A. J., Valera, F., Alcantara, J. M., Tarifa, R., Isla, J., … & Ruiz, C. (2019). Landscape-moderated biodiversity effects of ground herb cover in olive groves: Implications for regional biodiversity conservation. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 277, 61-73.
Bajo revisión:

C Martínez-Núñez, PJ Rey (2020) Assessing the predation function via quantitative and qualitative interaction components BioRxiv 1
C Martínez-Núñez, PJ Rey, AJ Manzaneda, D García, R Tarifa, JL Molina, … Landscape drivers and effectiveness of pest control by insectivorous birds in a landscape-dominant woody crop BioRxiv. Currently in second revision in Basic and Applied Ecology
Vicente García-Navas, Carlos Martínez-Núñez, Rubén Tarifa, Antonio J. Manzaneda, Francisco Valera, Teresa Salido, Francisco M. Camacho, Jorge Isla & Pedro J. Rey. Agricultural extensification enhances functional diversity but not phylogenetic diversity in Mediterranean olive groves: a case study with ant and bird communities. Currently submitted to Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment.
Vicente García-Navas, Carlos Martínez-Núñez, Rubén Tarifa, José L. Molina-Pardo, Francisco Valera, Teresa Salido, Francisco M. Camacho & Pedro J. Rey. Partitioning beta diversity to untangle mechanisms underlying the assembly of bird communities in Mediterranean olive groves. Currently submitted to Diversity and Distributions.
Pedro J. Rey, Rubén Tarifa, Francisco M. Camacho, , Teresa Salido, Antonio J. Pérez, Daniel García, Carlos Martínez-Núñez. Effect of habitat fragmentation and intensive agriculture on avian frugivore abundance, frugivory levels and seed arrival in olive-dominated landscapes. Currently submitted to Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.
Presentaciones orales, pósters y conferencias

Francisco Valera, Pedro J. Rey, Antonio J. Manzaneda, Julio M. Alcántara, Jose L. Molina-Pardo, Rubén Tarifa, Jorge Isla, Teresa Salido, Gemma Calvo, Carlos Martínez-Núñez, Carlos Ruiz, José E. Gutiérrez (2020). Biodiversity in Andalusian olive orchards: assessing the effect of agricultural management and landscape simplification. Pages 76, 79 in Gabriel del Barrio y Roberto Lázaro, eds. EcoDesert. Geoecology and Desertification- from physical to human factors. Proceedings of the International Symposium in memory of Prof Juan Puigdefábregas. ISBN: 978-84-09-12447-3.
Carlos Ruiz, Eva Murgado, José Eugenio Gutiérrez, Pedro J. Rey, Francisco Valera, Sonia Bermúdez. (2019). Olivares Vivos. La biodiversidad como valor añadido en agricultura. Desde Los servicios ecosistémicos a la diferenciación comercial. Pags. 397 a 400 en: La sostenibilidad Agro-territorial desde la Europa Atlántica. Actas del XII Congreso de la Asociación de Economía Agraria. ISBN: 978-84-09-12764-1. Asociación Española de Economía Agraria.
José E. Gutiérrez, Pedro J. Rey, Carlos Ruiz, Francisco Valera, Eva Murgado, Sonia Bermúdez, María Cano Parra, Jesús Pinilla-Infiesta, Carlos Molina-Angulo (2017). LIFE Olivares Vivos. Incrementar la rentabilidad del olivar recuperando su biodiversidad. Primeros resultados. Comunicaciones Científicas. Simposium Expoliva 2017. ISBN. 978-84-946839-1-6.
PJ Rey, F Valera, AJ Manzaneda, JM Alcántara, JL Molina, R Tarifa, J Isla, … (2017). Evaluando la biodiversidad de flora y fauna en los paisajes de olivar de Andalucía. Comunicaciones Científicas Simposium Expoliva 2017. ISBN 978-84-946839-1-6.
Oral presentation: “LIFE Olivares Vivos. Increasing profitability of the olive grove by restoring biodiversity. Preliminary results” [in Spanish]. Simposium Expoliva 2017. Jaén, 12 May 2017
“Assessing flora and fauna biodiversity of the olive landscapes of Andalousia” [in Spanish]. Scientific presentations at Expoliva Scientific and Technical Symposium 2017. Jaén, 10- 12 May 2017. Pedro J. Rey, Francisco Valera, Antonio J. Manzaneda, Julio M. Alcántara, José L. Molina, Rubén Tarifa, Jorge Isla, Teresa Salido, Carlos Ruiz and José E.Gutiérrez.
Poster: “LIFE Olivares Vivos: bringing biodiversity back to olive groves”. LIFE Platform meeting on ecosystem services “Costing the Earth? – translating the ecosystem services concept into practical decision making”. Tallin Estonia, 10-12 May 2017.
Oral presentation: “Olive Alive: Toward the design and certification of biodiversity friendly olive groves”. Climate Changing Agriculture International Conference. Chania, Crete (Greece), 29 August – 2 September 2017. José E. Gutiérrez, Carlos Ruiz, María Cano, Pedro J. Rey, Eva M. Murgado, Francisco Valera and Sonia Bermúdez.
Oral presentation: “Assessing biodiversity and its ecosystem services in Andalusian olive orchards through the landscape moderation hypothesis approach”. Climate Changing Agriculture International Conference. Chania, Crete (Greece), 29 August – 2 September 2017. Pedro J. Rey, Francisco Valera, Antonio J. Manzaneda, Julio M. Alcántara, José L. Molina-Pardo, Rubén Tarifa, Jorge Isla, Teresa Salido, Gemma Calvo, Carlos Martínez- Núñez, Carlos Ruiz y José E. Gutiérrez.
Poster: “LIFE Olivares Vivos. An innovative strategy for the restoration of biodiversity in the olive grove through the improvement of profitability” [in Spanish]. 23rd Spanish Ornithological Conference. Badajoz, 2 – 5 November 2017. José E. Gutiérrez, Carlos Ruiz, Pedro J. Rey, Francisco Valera, Eva M. Murgado and Sonia Bermúdez.
Oral presentation “Exploring the hypothesis of landscape moderation of biodiversity patterns and processes in stable tree crops: the case of Andalusian olive groves” [in Spanish]. 23rd Spanish Ornithological Conference. Badajoz, 2 – 5 November 2017. Pedro J. Rey, Rubén Tarifa, José L. Molina, Francisco Valera, Teresa Salido, Jorge Isla and José E. Gutiérrez.
Oral presentation: “Ants as biological indicators in Andalusian olive groves: a test of the hypothesis of landscape moderation of biodiversity patterns in stable tree crops” [in Spanish]. 33rd Scientific Days of the Spanish Entomological Association. Almería, 14-17 November 2017. Teresa Salido, Jorge Isla, Antonio J. Manzaneda, José Luis Molina-Pardo, Gemma Calvo, Rubén Tarifa, Francisco Camacho, Julio M. Alcántara, Francisco Valera and Pedro J. Rey.
Rey, P.J., Gutiérrez, J.E., Ruiz, C., Valera, F., Galiano, S., Martin, F. 2018. LIFE-project OLIVE-ALIVE: designing an olive cultivation to recover biodiversity and profitability. I Iberian Meeting on Agroecological Research – Establishing the ecological basis for sustainable agriculture, Évora (Portugal). 22-23 November 2018.
Camacho, F.M., Tarifa, R., Valera, F., Molina-Pardo, J.L., Ruiz, C., Rey, P.J. 2019. Paisaje y prácticas agroambientales en olivar: importancia para la gestión de especies de aves amenazadas, cinegéticas y migradoras. Congreso VII Ibérico y XXIV español de Ornitología. Cádiz (Spain), 13-17 noviembre 2019.
Tarifa, R., Camacho, F.M., Valera, F., Molina-Pardo, J.L., Gutiérrez, J.E., Rey, P.J. 2019. ¿Es el contraste ecológico generado por las prácticas agroambientales clave para la conservación de las aves agrarias? Congreso VII Ibérico y XXIV español de Ornitología. Cádiz (Spain), 13-17 noviembre 2019.
Jose Eugenio Gutiérrez. El Proyecto LIFE Olivares Vivos. En “La arquitectura verde de la PAC post 2020. Profundizando en ecoesquemas” 29, 30 y 31 de mayo de 2019. Zafra. Badajoz
Carlos Ruiz. EL proyecto LIFE Olivares Vivos. Experiencias de revitalización del medio rural. CONAMA Local Toledo 2019. Campo y Ciudad, Agenda Global.
Comunicaciones orales y pósters aceptados, pero no presentados aún

Oral presentation Ecología versus biodiversidad. Buscando un término nuclear para las campañas de comunicación medioambientales. Murgado Armenteros, Eva María; Valdelomar Muñoz, Sergio; Torres Ruiz, Francisco José (Accepted). XXXII Congreso Internacional de Marketing. Jaén 2020
Oral presentation La biodiversidad como atributo para diferenciar los AOVES en el mercado: valores y creencias de los consumidores. Valdelomar-Muñoz, Sergio., Murgado-Armenteros, Eva María., Torres-Ruiz, Francisco José (Accepted). XX Simposio científico-técnico de Expoliva 2021.Eva 1 y 2
Oral presentation abstract: Ruben Tarifa, Juan P. González-Varo, FranciscoM. Camacho, Antonio J. Pérez, Teresa Salido, Pedro J. Rey (2021). Avian seed dispersal in olive groves: An ecosystem service at risk by landscape homogenization. XV Congreso Nacional de la AEET, 18- 22 octubre 2021
Poster abstract: Domingo Cano, Carlos Martínez-Núñez, Antonio J. Pérez, Teresa Salido, Pedro J. Rey (2021). Las áreas seminaturales son reservorios resistentes para el mantenimiento de polinizadores silvestres en paisajes de olivar. XV Congreso Nacional de la AEET, 18-22 octubre 2021
Organización de eventos científicos y técnicos

Organisation of the Scientific Workshop on the Profitability of the Olive Plantations. April 2016. University of Jaén.
Organisation of the Scientific seminar “Assessment, conservation and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystem services provided by fauna in Iberian tree-based agrosystems. Experiences from the Andalusian olive grove and the Asturian apple orchards”. University of Jaén, 19 September 2017. Oral presentations “Effects of the landscape complexity gradients and farming practices on animal biodiversity and its ecosystem services on the olive grove agrosystem of Andalusia” [in Spanish]. Pedro J. Rey, and “Olivares Vivos. Methodology and preliminary results” [in Spanish]. Carlos Ruiz. Participation at the roundtable on the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services onthe production models of tree crops.
Scientific seminar within the framework Action D1 and action F5 (Networking with other LIFE conservation and olive-grove related projects) and with the collaboration of AGRABIES project (National R&D&I Plan, Challenges Call 2015). “Assessment, conservation and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystem services provided by fauna in Iberian tree-based agrosystems. Experiences from the Andalusian olive grove and the Asturian apple orchards”. Representatives of the organisations in charge of both AGRABIES and Olivares Vivos. University of Jaén. September 2017.
Presentación de los resultados de seguimiento de biodiversidad. Jardín Botánico de Madrid. 9 de octubre de 2018
Seminario práctico sobre evaluación y conservación de biodiversidad de quirópteros en olivar: efectos de la intensificación agrícola. Universidad de Jaén. Julio de 2019.
I Jornadas “Conectando agricultura y biodiversidad: una perspectiva desde los cultivos leñosos a través del LIFE Olivares Vivos”. Jornadas online. 27 y 28 de mayo de 2021.
Jornada “Estrategias para la comercialización del aceite de oliva Olivares Vivos”. Universidad de Jaén, 14 de mayo de 2019.
Divulgación

Gutiérrez, J.E., Ruiz, C., Galiano, S., Carretero, A., Rey, P.J., Valera, F., Murgado, E.M., y Bermúdez, S. (2021) LIFE Olivares Vivos. Olivares reconciliados con la vida. Quercus 425. Suplemento.
Martínez-Núñez, C., Rey, P.J., Ruiz, C., Gutiérrez, J.E. (2020). La pérdida de biodiversidad en los olivares intensivos. Quercus, 410, 32-32.
Martínez-Núñez, C., Manzaneda, A. J., & Rey, P. J. (2019). Revisando el uso de nidales artificiales para insectos en estudios de redes de interacción en agroecosistemas: enseñanzas derivadas de su aplicación en olivar. Ecosistemas, 28(3), 3-12.
Valera, F., Rey, P.J., Gutiérrez, J.E., Ruíz, C., Galiano, S. (2019). Conservar los olivares, un esfuerzo rentable. The Conversation, España 2019/5/21.
PJ Rey, JE Gutiérrez, F Valera, C Ruiz (2017). El olivar andaluz, ¿un bosque humanizado? Aldaba 41, 113-120.
Francisco Valera-Hernández, Rey-Zamora Pedro J, Ruiz Carlos, Gutiérrez-Ureña J. Eugenio (2018). Olivares Vivos: diseño y certificación de olivares preservadores de biodiversidad. Pags. 87-93 en: Investigación hecha en Almería. CIENCIAjazz-Tertulias sobre ciencia en Clasijazz. Universidad de Almería
Participación en eventos divulgativos

Conference: “Olivares Vivos: Towards the design and certification of biodiversity friendly olive groves” [in Spanish]. III International Bird Fair of Doñana. 22-24 April 2016. Sevilla.
Conference: “LIFE Olivares Vivos: Technical and Scientific aspects of the diagnosis and restoration of biodiversity in olive plantations” [in Spanish]. Futuroliva. 2-4 June 2016. Baeza (Jaén).
Science café: “Green infrastructure for citizens: increasing biodiversity in our immediate environment” [in Spanish]. Science Week. Experimental Station of Arid Zones, Almería, November 2017.
Conference: “Olive plantations, biodiversity and landscape: towards a new environmentally sustainable olive growing model” [in Spanish]. III Technical sessions of the Cooperative Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación. 4-5 November 2016. Peal de Becerro (Jaén).
Roundtable: “Challenges and opportunities of the mountain olive orchards” [in Spanish]. II Days “Mundo Rural”. Rural Mediterránea Association. 7-9 July 2016. Puente Génave (Jaén).
Lecture: “LIFE Olivares Vivos for the restoration of biodiversity in olive groves of Andalusia” [in Spanish], and participation in the roundtable “Fostering biodiversity and profitability in olive groves” [in Spanish]. Session on biodiversity in the olive grove, Peñallana Visitor Centre, Andújar, 12 February 2017.
Lecture: “Olivares Vivos: fostering biodiversity and improving profitability of the olive grove” [in Spanish], at the workshop on best practice in Corporate Social Responsibility “Giving life to Natura 2000 Network”. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 19 May 2017.
Roundtable: “Organic olive farming (+). An environmental, social and health value” [in Spanish]. Biosegura 2017, 21 June 2017.
Lecture: “The LIFE Olivares Vivos project: improving profitability by restoring biodiversity” [in Spanish]. 13th Scientific Marathon of the Experimental Station of Arid Zones. 6 October 2017. Almería.
Lecture: “Olivares Vivos” [in Spanish]. “Oil and its nature” course. Villacarrillo, 11 October 2017.
Lecture: “Olivares Vivos” [in Spanish]. Traditional Mountain Olive Grove Days. SCA San Francisco. Villanueva del Arzobispo, Jaén, 17 October 2017.
Lecture: “Olivares Vivos” [in Spanish]. CienciaJazz, science talks at Clasijazz. Almería, 9 Novembre 2017.
Workshop: “Restore the fauna in your town and revive the olive grove” [in Spanish]. Science Week. Experimental Station of Arid Zones, Almería, November 2017.
Science café: “Green infrastructure for citizens: increasing biodiversity in our immediate environment” [in Spanish]. Science Week. Experimental Station of Arid Zones, Almería, November 2017.
Lecture: “Olivares Vivos: Una estrategia para la restauración y conservación de la biodiversidad en agrosistemas”. En el Máster Universitario en Conservación de la Biodiversidad y Restauración del Medio Marino y Terrestre . Universidad de Alicante. 21 de enero de 2019
Lecture “Olivares Vivos: conectando la rentabilidad y la recuperación de la biodiversidad en los olivares”. VI Jornadas de Conservación de la Biodiversidad. Universidad de Salamanca. 1, 2, y 3 de marzo de 2019.
Lecture: “La avifauna del olivar andaluz: situación actual, tendencias y recuperación a través del Proyecto LIFE Olivares Vivos”. XI Jornadas Ornitológicas de la Universidad Complutense. Madrid. 26 de marzo de 2019.

In September 2018, within the framework of this action and also of action F5 (Networking with other LIFE and olive grove conservation projects), and in collaboration with the AGRABIES project (National R&D&I Plan project, 2015 Challenges call), a seminar was organised entitled “Evaluation, conservation and recovery of biodiversity and ecosystem services provided by fauna in Iberian arboreal agrosystems. Experiences from the Andalusian olive grove and the Asturian pomaradas” The seminar was attended by representatives of the different entities responsible for both the AGRABIES project and Olivares Vivos, as well as experts from other initiatives, and ended with a round table with the participation of experts in the different sectors involved: Administration, agricultural and environmental research and development entities, producers and entities participating in the projects that convened the seminar.

Also in conjunction with action F5, at the end of August and beginning of September 2017, a project team travelled to Crete to attend the Climate Changing Agriculture International Conference and to visit and learn about various conservation projects related to olive groves. In the course of this conference, two oral communications were presented (already referred to in the previous list) and one of the scientific sessions of the conference, focused on environmental certification, was moderated.

Status

Finished.

E10 Interactive route design using e-applications

Description

Interpretative routes will be designed in the project’s demonstration olive groves. The routes will visit elements of naturalistic and ethnographic interest, illustrative examples of the project’s actions and places representative of outstanding aspects of olive grove culture. The routes will be of low technical and physical demand.

Once the routes have been decided, they will be geo-referenced using GPS and the interpretative contents will be designed. These will consist of short explanatory texts combined with other somewhat more extensive texts, which will be recorded so that a sound file with the content of the text will be available at a later date. In addition, for those points along the route where it is necessary to point out elements of the landscape, photographs will be taken and edited to include the location of the points of interest.

Subsequently, through external assistance, an application will be developed for mobile phones, incorporating all these elements.

Progress achieved

Nine routes can be navigated and downloaded via a mobile-friendly website 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.

Status

Finished.

E11 Project website

Description

This action includes the design, development and implementation of a multimedia web platform based on content management systems subject to EUPL license (free software) to disseminate information and encourage participation and networking among the groups interested in the project. The website offers updated information on the project, dynamic informative content in Spanish and English, the possibility of carrying out online procedures and downloading information in text, audio and video format; spaces for communication and collaborative work.

Progress achieved

The website is available and offers general information on the project and the problems it addresses, as well as providing details on the latest news and informative and dynamic web articles, such as “Seen in the olive grove”, which shows examples of the biodiversity found in the farms participating in the project. Olive growers interested in taking part in the project also have a space reserved for them with a form they can fill in so that we can get in touch with them.

Status

Finished.

E12 Publication of the Olivares Vivos Guide

Description

The Olivares vivos guide will be a guide aimed at the olive sector. It will explain what the Olivares vivos certification is, the advantages of obtaining the certification and the commitments required from the farmer.

The procedures for applying for certification will be detailed and each of the necessary steps will be explained in different sections:

Pre-sampling. The need for sampling of biodiversity indicators will be justified in order to establish the pre-operational status of the farm to be certified and the need for this sampling to be carried out by the certifying body (Olivares Vivos Stewardship Body), in order to guarantee its independence and objectivity.
Drawing up action plans. An explanation will be given of what an action plan is and what objectives these plans should pursue. The different recommended actions will be described, the effects achieved with each of them and the best way to implement them depending on the different types of olive grove. The conditions for the content and format of the action plan will be established, so that both the farmer and the independent consultants are clear about what type of document they should present. The process of analysis and approval of the action plan will be described.
Implementation phase of the action plan. The process of reviewing the work described in the action plan will be described.
Sampling of results. The timing of the next sampling of biodiversity indicators shall be described.
Traceability analysis. It shall be described how the traceability of the products produced by the farm shall be ensured, so that the origin of the certified product can be guaranteed.

Progress achieved

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.

Status

Finished.

E13 Promotion of the Olivares Vivos brand

Description

The achievement of a large part of the objectives and the demonstrative value of the project depends on both the oil market and the general public being aware of the project and the added value of oils certified as Olivares Vivos. Therefore, apart from the dissemination of the project through the website (E11) and the demonstrative and communication actions aimed at the olive sector (E3), an action is needed to define and implement the best strategies, techniques and applications to successfully promote Olivares Vivos oils on the market and increase their demand. This action will support and complement action C7 and will contribute conclusively to ensure the profitability of the oils produced in the pilot olive groves and the demonstrative value of the project.

This action is complementary to action E1 (Development of the general communication plan). While E1 is focused on the general dissemination of the project, the coordination of the actions E for the promotion of the olive grove culture and the promotion of the demonstrative experience in the olive growing sector, this action is focused on the promotion of the products produced under the Olivares vivos guarantee brand as a necessary tool to ensure its commercial success and, therefore, the profitability of the olive grove management that preserves and recovers biodiversity.

Progress achieved

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 question and design the empirical study on consumer behaviour and marketing of Olivares Vivos oils that has been 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.

Status

Finished.

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F1 Project management

Description

The project was managed by the project manager and the project coordinator.

The project manager set the general guidelines for the operation of the project and the execution of the actions, was in charge of the project monitoring committee, established the coordination mechanisms with other projects in which the project partners were involved, represented the project in the signing of land stewardship agreements and commercial agreements with olive oil processing or distribution companies, supervised the reports sent to the European Commission and represented the project in different forums (meetings, commissions, working groups, etc.).

The coordinator’s tasks included coordination between the different project partners, coordination in the preparation of reports for the European Commission, assistance to the project management, support for the drafting and signing of collaboration agreements or land stewardship agreements. It was also responsible for the supervision of the work entrusted to external assistance, the permanent relationship with the holders of land stewardship agreements, advice to the beneficiary partners in the execution of their actions and the drafting of technical and financial reports. The coordination of all the conservation actions, the supervision of the dissemination, communication and awareness-raising work and assistance to the rest of the project’s technical staff were also under his responsibility.

Progress achieved

After the signature of 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.

Status

Finished.

F2 Project monitoring and evaluation. Indicators and monitoring

Description

This action identified and compiled the indicators and other information needed to complete the indicator tables to be included in the project reports. These indicators were used for the proper monitoring and evaluation of the project. For this purpose, the partners identified the most suitable indicators to evaluate their respective actions and submitted them to the project coordination during the first 3 months of project implementation. The project coordination established, depending on the typology of indicators chosen, the periodicity with which these indicators were revised in order to maintain a correct evaluation of the project.

Progress achieved

With the participation of all partners, progress indicators were established for each action. The review date for each indicator and, where appropriate, the expected results were established. The system of indicators and the review programme established made it possible to meet the objectives of this action. In addition, the monitoring of these indicators allowed the project results to be updated and were very useful in the communication strategy.

Status

Finished.

F3 Financial audit

Description

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.

Status

Finished.

F4 Post-LIFE Plan

Description

A post-LIFE plan was drafted, in Spanish and English, which described and established how, at the end of the project, the dissemination and dissemination 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.

Status

Finished.

F5 Networking with other LIFE and olive grove conservation projects

Description

There was fluid contact and exchange of information with other projects on olive grove management and conservation, or with the main objective of integrating elements of biodiversity restoration in agricultural environments. In addition, it became clear that the achievements of the project can be transferred to other agro-ecosystems widely spread in the EU, especially other woody crops. Probably the most immediate case of application due to its mainly Mediterranean location, its extension and cultural, social and economic importance in the EU, and its long historical tradition, along with that of the olive tree, is that of vineyards and wine production. The change in the production model that reconciles biodiversity and production and its transfer to certification and labelling that confers added value is thus fully exportable to biodiversity and wine production. Other examples of replication can be orchards, cherry, almond, and orange orchards, etc., in some of which scientific studies and initiatives are already underway to rescue and conserve biodiversity and demonstrate that biodiversity is key to boosting ecosystem services (especially pest and disease control and soil retention and fertility).

Progress achieved

Prior work was carried out to search for projects or initiatives related to the objectives of LIFE Olivares Vivos. The aim of this work was to identify projects whose results or lessons learned could be useful for optimising the actions of the project and also to study the possibility of establishing synergies to increase their demonstrative value and replicability. Within the LIFE Programme, the database of financed projects was reviewed, paying special attention to those related to the conservation of biodiversity in agrosystems. The objectives and results of the projects were reviewed: LIFE07 NAT/IT/000450 -Centolimed-; LIFE06 NAT/P/00019 -Lince Moura/Barros- and LIFE03 NAT/E/000052 – Albuera Extremadura-. All these projects were related to the enhancement of the biodiversity of olive groves and some restoration actions. The analysis of these projects (some of them already reviewed in the proposal preparation phase) indicates that, although the approach to biodiversity measurement actions in LIFE Olivares Vivos is original and maintains a differentiated and targeted approach, the results and lessons learned from these projects, as well as their methodological approaches served as a reference to compare results, improve the demonstration value of this project and optimise the approach and development of preparatory and conservation actions.

Projects funded by research and innovation funds (FP7), now Horizon 2020, were also reviewed. The CORDIS (Community Research and Development Information Service) tool of the European Commission was used for this purpose. Following this search, some completed and ongoing projects (AGFORWARD; OLITREVA, OVIPE; ENVIEVAL; GEOLAND) were considered of interest and more detailed information on their results was collected.

Subsequently, contact was established with other projects, sometimes following a search for projects dealing with a specific topic, and sometimes after learning about them through different means:

OLIVE4CLIMATE LIFE project (LIFE15 CCM/IT/000141). Contact was made with the project manager to discuss in greater detail the objectives set and to propose mutual collaboration in the joint dissemination of results.

Activate your real wealth. Natura 2000 Network (LIFE11 INF/ES/000665) and the activities and projects derived from it in the post-LIFE phase. In addition to maintaining continuous contact with those responsible for the project, as it has been a project coordinated, like Olivares Vivos, by SEO/BirdLife, we participate in the project “Promotion of sustainable agriculture models in the Natura 2000 Network for the conservation of biodiversity”. During the Natura 2000 network day (21 May), open days were organised in agricultural and livestock farms located in RN2000. One of the 4 farms participating in this day in Spain was one of the demonstration olive groves located in RN2000.

Commonland (http://www.commonland.com). We established contact with those responsible for the restoration project in the Altiplano steppe of Spain and maintained contact to exchange information of interest on a reciprocal basis.

FIRE Foundation (www.fundacionfire.org). We shared information between the organisations and collaborated in the project “Sustentándonos”, from the Emplea Verde call for proposals (grants from the Fundación Biodiversidad). The project included courses on adapting farms towards more profitable and environmentally sustainable development models. In several of these courses, practical visits to learn about ongoing initiatives took place in our demonstration olive groves. The courses were organised during the spring of 2018 in Almeria, Granada, Cordoba and Jaen. In addition, some farms in Ciudad Real were also visited, where they implemented restoration actions in olive groves as part of their “Campos de Vida” project.

LANDS CARE (http://www.landscare.org). This initiative was contacted in the proposal drafting phase and in the early stages of project implementation with the idea of collaborating in the development of the application for the self-guided routes of action E10. The evolution of the application that was initially thought of as a possible tool to implement the routes was not developed in accordance with the needs of the project, so it was finally decided to develop the application independently. However, we maintained contact and the possibility of incorporating both applications was considered.

Spanish Association of Conservation Agriculture (http://www.agriculturadeconservacion.org). We participated with this organisation in the herbaceous cover task force and had their support in the demonstration sessions that took place during years 4 and 5 of the project (within action E3).

SIECE (http://www.siece.org). We maintain continuous contact and we have their collaboration for the organisation of the release of owls (Tyto alba) using the hacking technique in the “Cortijo Guadiana” demonstration olive grove, initially planned for the spring of 2018. It also collaborated in other releases carried out in the summers of 2019 and 2020 in the “Cortijo Virgen de los Milagros” demonstration olive grove; in this case, owls (Tyto alba), little owls (Athene noctua) and kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) were released. They also collaborated in the placement of nest boxes for lesser kestrels (Falco naumanni) and in the adaptation of certain infrastructures in the demonstration olive groves. Both actions were part of action C5.

CREAs of Andalusia. In May 2017, a request was made for a new release of barn owl chicks for the release programme described above. Although the request was accepted, in the end no release took place because the chicks were already juveniles and hacking requires younger individuals to stay in the nest for several days. An extension of the agreement was requested in January 2016. Work was carried out with them in the summers of 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Grupo de Rehabilitación de la Fauna Autóctona y su Hábitat (GREFA). Contact has been established to collaborate in the release of barn owls within the framework of action C5. To this end, a collaboration agreement is being prepared whereby GREFA will undertake to provide barn owl chicks bred in captivity from irrecoverable specimens that it keeps in its facilities. Olivares Vivos, through action C5 of the LIFE project, will release them using hacking techniques. The action served to draw attention to the problem of the deterioration of the rural infrastructures of the olive grove and to disseminate the adaptation measures that can be undertaken in the buildings.

Coordinadora de Organizaciones de Agricultores y Ganaderos (COAG) – FEAL Project: This is a project funded by the Erasmus+ programme, which showcases examples of successful projects in relation to European agricultural landscapes. Through one of its partners COAG, we provided information on some of the farms participating in Olivares Vivos which they presented as one of the case studies at the project meeting held in Naklo Slovenia in 2017 between 12-14 November 2017.

Food Standards Initiative and LIFE Biodiversity in Standards and Labels for the Food Industry. This project promoted the inclusion of biodiversity criteria in labels, standards or certifications in the agri-food sector. We held a meeting with the person in charge of the project in Spain, Amanda del Río, from the Global Nature Foundation, who informed us of the process of analysing numerous certification standards, from which 54 have been selected and subjected to an exhaustive study on how each of these standards or private norms promote the protection of biodiversity. There was a commitment to reciprocal information between projects and advice on certification issues (Food Standards) and Biodiversity (Olivares Vivos).

Macrotour. A collaboration was established with this company specialised in the design and management of tourism packages and the organisation of events. It advised the project on the development of tourist packages (action E8) and participated in the joint development of the tourist package to be offered within the framework of this action.

Astroandalus. This is a company specialised in astronomical tourism and the certification of Starlight Reserves (areas with favourable conditions for astronomical observation). We collaborated in the elaboration of some of the activities of the tourist packages that will be tested in the framework of action E8.

Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research and Training (IFAPA). A collaboration was established to participate in the Agri-Food Training courses in the speciality of olive growing. The form of collaboration and the expected results are detailed in Action E3.

Agro-ecology classroom of the Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development of the Andalusian Regional Government. Collaboration took place through the joint organisation of information sessions for farmers. The first of these sessions took place in March 2018. More details on this issue can be found in action E3.

Green classroom of the University of Jaén. This is a tool of the Ecocampus project, which raises awareness and promotes new, more environmentally sustainable behaviours among the university community. They helped us to disseminate the activities of the project, mainly those related to volunteering. In addition, we offered volunteering activities exclusively for Aula Verde.

GEOLIT Technology Park. The park gave the project the use of an olive grove that was used as a Divulgative Olive Grove (see action A1). In addition, the main office and warehouse of the project are located in this technology park, also on loan. Thanks to our presence in GEOLIT, we were in contact with different institutions that are also based in the park, many of them related to the olive grove, with whom we exchanged information. Occasionally, collaborations arose with the CITOLIVA Foundation, the plant health laboratory of the Andalusian Regional Government, the Terra Oleum Museum, the IFAPA, etc.

Olive Grove Foundation and Terra Oleum Museum. We maintained collaboration with the Terra Oleum Museum, managed by the Fundación del Olivar. As a result of this collaboration, we gave a series of talks to groups of schoolchildren who visited the museum, thus combining the museum visit activity with the workshops planned within the framework of Action E4. In addition, visits to the museum were made as part of the volunteering activities organised in the province of Jaén, activities in which a discount was applied and an exclusive guided tour was provided.

1st Scientific-School Congress in Úbeda. We collaborated with the entities in charge of its organisation (Úbeda City Council and the company Te Kiero Verde). During the activities prior to the congress, the secondary schools participating in the congress visited the experimental olive grove that Olivares Vivos has in the vicinity of the Geolit office and received a talk on the olive grove, its environmental implications and the Olivares Vivos project. More information on this activity can be found in action E4.

NASSTEC Project (http://nasstec.eu). We participated in the annual meeting of the programme held between 31 January and 3 February 2017, in Cordoba, where we presented the Olivares Vivos project. We were in contact with the company Semillas Silvestres SL, one of the project partners, which also advised us on the use of native seeds of herbaceous species.

LIFE bioDehesa. The networking with this LIFE took shape with a meeting at the Department of Animal Production of the University of Cordoba, on 16 January 2018, which was attended by several technicians and the coordinators of both projects. The purpose of this working day was to share the indicators used in the LIFE bioDehesa and Olivares Vivos projects to measure biodiversity (Annex F5-1). The results of this collaboration were published in the journal Quercus. The two projects were working on the development and measurement of biodiversity indicators in the collaborating farms, maintaining contact and sharing their reflections in order to transfer these reflections to the results reports.

Terra Vida. This company provided us, free of charge, with its product “Terracottem”; a soil conditioner that facilitates the survival of seedlings, improving the use of water in the soil by means of hydro-absorbent polymers. The product was used selectively in some plantations, through a scientific sampling approach. In return, Terra Vida obtained comparative data between plantations that used it and those that did not, planted under similar conditions and in the same locations.

LUSH Ltd. is a cosmetics company that, as part of its environmental and corporate social responsibility policy, selects its suppliers according to strict environmental criteria. They contacted the coordinating partner SEO/BirdLife asking for suppliers of extra virgin olive oil for the production of their products. The supplier’s requirements included that the oil should come from an organic farm, preferably a cooperative, and that it should participate in environmental projects that would give the product added value. We provided the list of demonstration olive groves in the project that met these requirements and finally they selected one of them (Rambla Llana demonstration olive grove, from the “La Olivilla” Cooperative) as the supplier of oil for their production plants in the United Kingdom and Germany. This collaboration is a demonstrative example of other types of commercial outlets for oil, and a clear example that there is a market sector that rewards the environmental added value that Olivares Vivos means for its products.

CUvREN. The participation with the coordinating partner of this group allowed us to learn first-hand about the progress of this project, as well as to share the biodiversity monitoring methodology developed by Olivares Vivos.

University of Cordoba (UCO). As a result of the contacts established in collaboration with the CUvEN project, the possibilities for joint work with the UCO increased. This led to the preparation and granting of an Operational Group to continue working on demonstrative experiences of herbaceous canopy management. The DCOOP cooperative and companies such as AGRESTA and Semillas Cantueso also joined this collaboration.

Citoliva and Interóleo. Together with these two organisations, the coordinating partner (SEO/BirdLife) and one of the partners (Diputación de Jaén) of Olivares Vivos has submitted a proposal to create an Operational Group for the Rural Development Programme.

HOS. This organisation is a partner of Birdlife in Greece and we exchanged information about our respective projects on agriculture. We visited their premises during a visit to Greece in 2017 to meet and present LIFE Living Olive Groves in detail.

University of Évora. Several meetings were held with the heads of the Centro de Investigaҫao em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos (CIBIO). They participated in a seminar on olive groves and bats and joined the proposal of the new LIFE project, submitted and awarded in the LIFE 2020 Call.

Particular attention was paid to the Rural Development Programme and the constitution of its Operational Groups. Those that shared objectives with Olivares Vivos were identified and the project’s coordinating organisation (SEO/BirdLife) participated in the preparation of a proposal for the constitution of an operational group on herbaceous cover in the olive grove. The proposal was approved and was implemented during 2018 and 2019. The general objective of this task force was to test different types of herbaceous cover in olive groves (including a mixture of different native species compatible with the crop) to determine their impact on aspects such as: biodiversity, crop production, different soil parameters, fertilisation needs and the use of other phytosanitary products, energy balance, biomass production (carbon sequestration). It also included an important series of training and information transfer actions aimed at olive growers. This was an excellent opportunity to complement the work of the LIFE Olivares Vivos project with additional data on different possibilities for the implementation of herbaceous canopies. It was also a way to multiply the dissemination possibilities of the project by jointly organising dissemination activities in the agricultural sector.

Project visits to Crete and Athens (Greece)

In September 2017, a trip was made to Crete, where we participated in the international congress on agriculture and climate change held in Chania, and visited two projects that had been previously contacted. We met with their managers and visited some of the work plots to learn more about the different initiatives they are carrying out. A commitment of reciprocal information between projects and future advice was established.

LIFE Olive Clima. Project completed. It tested different agricultural techniques to combat climate change and adapt crops to the new climate scenario in an economically feasible way.
LIFE Agroclimawater. This project is testing efficient techniques in the use of irrigation water in woody crops, specifically in olive groves, citrus crops and peach trees, as a tool for adapting these crops to climate change.

In addition, a meeting was held with representatives of these projects and other institutions such as Rodax Agro Ltd., Soil and Water Institute of Greece, Università degli Studi della Basilicata, Institute of Olive, Subtropical Plants and Viticulture of the Hellenic Agricultural Organisation and the Bank of Piraeus, in order to discuss the possible replication of the project on farms in Greece and Italy and to assess the possibility of applying for a joint LIFE project in the next call.

Taking advantage of the stopover in Athens, a meeting was held with the Greek Ornithological Society (Ornithologiki/BirdLife). At this meeting, the content and development of Olivares Vivos was reported and a collaboration framework was established for the dissemination of the project results in Greece, as well as for the future replication of the project. Annex F5-1 details in a report all the work carried out during this trip to Crete and Athens.

Visit to projects in Italy

Taking advantage of the fact that we were invited to participate in the Terra Madre Fair, held by Slow Food Italy in Turin, being the only LIFE project invited to one of the conferences that took place during the Salone del Gusto, we were in contact with LIFE Granatha, which is coordinated by D.R.E.AM Italy; the “Frantoio del Parco” project and LIFE VITISOM. D.R.E.AM Italy joined the proposal of the new LIFE Project that was submitted and awarded in the LIFE 2020 Call.

In 2019, we participated in the “LIFE Platform Meeting: Nature restoration in intensified agriculture: innovations and best practices from the LIFE programme” (Lhee, The Netherlands). There, we learned from the many experiences in restoration of agricultural areas and presented our actions and results.

In addition, through the partner UJA-E, we participated in the AGRABIES project, of the National R&D&I Plan, which is studying the influence of landscape complexity and fauna on the ecosystem services of olive groves and other tree crops in Spain.

Finally, it should be noted that the objectives of Olivares Vivos gave significant added value to the LIFE programme thanks to its originality, demonstration potential and replicability. Moreover, combining biodiversity and profitability is an innovative idea that is raising high expectations in the agri-food sector.

Status

Finished.

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

Description

Creation of a monitoring committee to act as a participatory body in which the coordinating partner, the beneficiary partners, the co-financiers and the owners of the demonstration olive groves are represented.

Progress achieved

The project participation and monitoring committee was established 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.

Status

Finished.

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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.

 

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CONÓCENOS

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+.