LIFE OLIVARES VIVOS +
THE LIFE OLIVARES VIVOS + PROJECT
After the excellent results of biodiversity recovery obtained with the LIFE OOVV Project, after having verified that Olivares Vivos sequester twice as much carbon dioxide as those that keep the soil bare, and after discovering the possibilities that the model offers to alleviate the environmental and economic crisis of the traditional olive grove, we have asked ourselves…
Imagine all that could be achieved in the Mediterranean basin as a whole and the CO 2 sink that the 5.37 million hectares of olive groves in the European Union could become and the advantages it would bring to oil compared to other vegetable fats.
What about replicating and extending this model of olive growing to the rest of the Mediterranean?
This is one of the objectives of the LIFE Olivares Vivos + project.
Total project budget
1. To increase the impact of Olivares Vivos on the objectives of the LIFE Programme and, in particular, on the strategies followed by the European Union to halt biodiversity loss.
2. To achieve a better integration of the results and lessons learned from the previous project, LIFE Living Olive Groves, into the European green policies, the requirements of enhanced cross-compliance and the development of the eco-schemes for climate change and environment of the new CAP.
3. To better understand the medium-term effects of restoration measures on biodiversity.
4. To prepare and develop the expansion of the olive growing model proposed by Olivares Vivos to the main olive growing regions of the European Union.
5. Increase the replication of the Olivares Vivos model from Andalusia to other regions of Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy.
6. Ensuring the replicability of the model in climate change sensitive environments
7. Promote the creation of green jobs as a result of the new market niches generated by the Olivares Vivos model.
8. Expand the model to other sectors of olive growing, such as table olives.
9. Strengthen the capacities of olive growers through training on the advantages of ecosystem services and their benefits for profitability.
10. Improve the training of technical staff in environmental advice and certification to meet the demand for the Olivares Vivos seal.
11. Expand the production and distribution options for Olivares Vivos oils to facilitate their added value of environmental care to reach the market and consumers.
12. Improve the competitiveness of the olive oil sector and increase its resilience, through differentiation strategies based on added value.
13. Improve farmers’ knowledge and awareness of biodiversity conservation and sustainable management methods.
14. To make Olivares Vivos a benchmark for consumers in terms of biodiversity conservation.
15. Design a strategy to replicate the Olivares Vivos model in other EU countries located in the Mediterranean area.
16. Design a strategy for transferring the Olivares Vivos model to other woody crops, with vineyards being of particular interest.
A1. Design of the communication plan
A global communication, dissemination and awareness-raising plan will be developed to ensure the coherence, appropriateness and correct execution of all communication activities, which will be implemented through Action E1. In addition, an adequate public image of the LIFE Olivares Vivos+ project and the maximum social impact of our project in the four countries of application will be ensured.
The Communication Plan:
(i) set out the strategy for achieving the project's objectives,
(ii) specify the key messages,
(iii) identify the target audience,
(iv) establish a timetable for the work of the different communication actions
(v) optimise resources and schedule all work efficiently.
A2. Selection of Training Olive Groves (TOG) and Demonstration Olive Groves in Areas Particularly Sensitive to Climate Change (DOG-CC)
16 Training Olive Groves (TOG) will be selected in the 4 partner countries, 3 Demonstration Olive Groves in areas particularly sensitive to Climate Change (DOG-CC) in south-eastern Spain and their respective control olive groves (not subject to any LIFE OV+ action). The TOG and DOG-CC will complete the existing network of Andalusian Demonstration Olive Groves (DOG) created by the previous LIFE OV.
A3. Pre-operational biodiversity assessment of TOGs and DOG-CCs
With this action we will assess biodiversity prior to the implementation of the Conservation/Restoration Action Plans (pre-operational status) in the Training Olive Groves (TOG) and in the Demonstration Olive Groves in areas particularly sensitive to Climate Change (DOG-CC).
The action is divided into two sub-actions:
- A3.1 Pre-operational assessment of TOG biodiversity.
- A3.2 Pre-operational assessment of biodiversity in the DOG-CC.
In both cases, several groups of animals (birds, ants, pollinating insects and spiders) and plants (herbaceous and woody species) will be used as biodiversity indicators for the assessment.
Subsequently, during data processing, both taxonomic (i.e. species) and functional group diversity will be considered, the latter as an indicator of ecosystem functions and services in the olive groves. In addition, for each study site, metrics of configurational and compositional heterogeneity of the landscape will also be assessed.
A4. Design of action plans to enhance biodiversity in TOGs and DOG-CCs
Specific Action Plans will be drawn up for the 19 olive groves (16 TOG and 3 DOG-CC) in which biodiversity restoration actions will be carried out, through action C1.
These plans will provide the main guidance for the implementation of biodiversity restoration activities in order to achieve the Olivares Vivos certification.
Each Action Plan:
i) detail biodiversity issues in the pre-operational phase, compiling cartographic and bibliographic information to be combined with data collected in the field, including the results of biodiversity indicator monitoring (A3),
ii) identify intervention areas, in particular non-productive areas (e.g. farm margins, streams or roadsides),
iii) identify and describe potential activities to enhance biodiversity,
iv) select the most appropriate activities for each area of intervention,
(v) determine the dimensions of each action, (vi) establish a system of indicators to monitor the development and effectiveness of the Plan and (vii) establish a timetable for the implementation of the proposed activities.
Biodiversity restoration activities will primarily include those evaluated during the previous LIFE Olivares Vivos, as they have demonstrated their effectiveness and feasibility of implementation, which include:
- Activities to improve grass cover management.
- Revegetation of non-productive areas.
- Placement of nest boxes, posts for birds of prey and shelters for insectivorous birds and bats.
- Adaptation of infrastructures that favour wildlife.
- Construction of dry stone walls.
- Creation of ponds.
- Creation and development of other water points (mainly water troughs).
- Adequacy of irrigation ponds (artificial islands and structures to avoid drowning of fauna).
A5. Design of virtual training programmes for Olivares Vivos producers and certifiers
The best training methods and strategies will be designed to carry out capacity building and training activities in Action C2.
The courses will address the main stakeholders of the Olivares Vivos model. To this end, we will deliver 4 types of courses that will address:
- Biodiversity, ecosystem services and olive growing (for farmers and managers).
- Implementation of the Olivares Vivos Biodiversity Restoration Action Plan (for ecological restoration consultants).
- Olivares Vivos certification procedure (for auditing companies and conservation consultants).
- Marketing of olive oil and table olives (for farmers and retailers).
C1. Implementation of TOG and DOG-CC Action Plans
The biodiversity restoration actions set out in the Action Plans developed under Action A4 will be implemented for each TOG and DOG-CC.
To this end, the purchase of restoration materials and field visits will be carried out at the beginning of the restoration work, and the materials will be distributed.
Subsequently, the biodiversity recovery actions included in each Plan will be implemented. This work will be carried out through external assistance and will be implemented under the supervision of those responsible for the project.
Each Plan will include:
1. Activities to improve the management of the herbaceous cover. If the herbaceous cover of the olive farm is not maintained for most of the year, due to the application of herbicides or tillage, agricultural practices will be changed, in agreement with the landowner. Clearing will be recommended and should be carried out at the right time, avoiding competition with the crop. In addition, small areas should be left unweeded so that the later blooms can reach their final stage and seeds can be dispersed. Shallow ploughing can be carried out in specific areas to activate the seed bank. Finally, species of special interest for biodiversity, mainly entomophilous, can be planted in small patches.
2. Restoration work in unproductive areas. The aim of these activities is to restore natural plant formations by planting woody and herbaceous species in unproductive areas of olive groves. The design of these plantations will be adapted to the characteristics of each site and the selection of species will take into account the diversity of plant species, their phenology and the improvement of ecosystem services.
3. Actions to support fauna. These include the installation of breeding, resting or watering sites for wild animals in the olive grove. For each farm, the needs will have been identified through Action A4 and could be:
- Placement of nesting boxes for different bird species.
- Posting of posts for birds of prey. A nesting box can be added on top to fulfil a double function.
- Installation of drinking troughs for birds, mammals and reptiles.
- Construction of ponds, which will be a breeding place for amphibians and insects and a watering place for birds, mammals or reptiles.
- Dry stone wall constructions.
- Installation of shelter boxes for bats.
- Placement of insect hotels.
- Installation of floating islands in irrigation ponds for waterfowl.
- Beetle bank.
C2. Training and education of Olivares Vivos producers and certifiers
Implementation of training courses to support the expansion of the Olivares Vivos model. The content and structure of the courses will be established in action A5.
The expansion of the Olivares Vivos model in the main olive growing regions of the Mediterranean requires specific skills and presents unique challenges that practitioners need to address. This action will target four key actors:
Farmers and farm managers.
Certification companies interested in carrying out the different stages of the audit process.
Ecological restoration consultants.
Distributors or distribution platforms interested in marketing Olivares Vivos certified olive oils and table olives.
Calls for applications will be made outlining the competences required, course objectives, programmes and learner profile for each type of course. All courses will include distance learning sessions and a face-to-face session.
C3. Establishment of agreements, certification of the chain of custody and creation of the Olivares Vivos cooperative node.
This strategy will be based on the "Farm to Table" concept, which has already been promoted during LIFE Olivares Vivos. In this sense, we will stimulate the chain logistics of the olive and table olive sector, to help farmers who are part of LIFE Olivares Vivos+ and those who are getting certified to produce and market certified oils and other products.
This action involves three lines of work:
i) Elaboration of specific collaboration agreements, along the olive value chain.
ii) Establishment of chain of custody certification for Olivares Vivos products.
iii) Encouraging collaborative work within the olive sector.
This action is aimed at members of the olive value chain, both for Extra Virgin Olive Oils and table olives:
Distribution platforms and procurement services
The action is divided into three sub-actions:
C3.1. Establishment of agreements along the entire value chain.
In which specific information material will be prepared or briefings will be scheduled and agreements will be signed with the different members of the value chain.
C3.2. Certification of the Olivares Vivos Chain of Custody.
The operators will undergo the Olivares Vivos Chain of Custody certification process, which will guarantee the traceability of the product from the olive grove to the points of sale.
C3.3. Creation of the Olivares Vivos cooperative node.
A network will be created to enable key stakeholders to connect, discuss and learn. This network will be established on the Olivares Vivos website (Action A5), which will also be used to deliver the training activities (C2). It will propose different thematic discussion forums that will be moderated by the LIFE Olivares Vivos+ communication team.
C4. Development of marketing strategy and adaptation to replication areas
This action will support the profitability of the certification label by optimising the marketing strategy that was developed during LIFE Olivares Vivos. In addition, it will be adapted to the environments of the other regions and countries where the strategy will be replicated.
During LIFE Olivares Vivos a marketing strategy was designed, through:
1. Design and launch of the Olivares Vivos seal and certification.
2. Study of the profile of potential consumers in Spain, Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom.
3. Advice to producers on the marketing of Olivares Vivos oils, through various conferences and seminars.
Optimisation of marketing strategy
The continuous improvement of the marketing strategy is essential to guarantee the profitability of Olivares Vivos products, allowing it to access the market under the best conditions. To this end, different quantitative and qualitative studies will be carried out, both in the countries where LIFE Olivares Vivos+ is being developed and in other countries in Europe as a whole.
Adapting the marketing strategy to the areas of replication
The characteristics of the producers in the areas where the Olivares Vivos model will be replicated and the limitations of their geographical context may require adaptations to the marketing strategy. To this end, both the farmers and the profile of the potential consumers of these products will be studied, and a "Guide for the international marketing strategy of Olivares Vivos" will be drawn up.
C5. Adaptation of the business model to the areas of replication.
This action will ensure that each element of the production chain understands the advantages of the Olivares Vivos business model and will offer each of them the means and mechanisms to be part of it, which will be adapted according to the needs and socio-economic characteristics of each region or state.
To this end, it will be examined and customised to the different situations in each replication area, so as to make the most of Olivares Vivos' competitive advantages.
D1. Post-operational monitoring of biodiversity indicators in TOG and DOG-CC and long-term monitoring for estimation of restoration debt in DOG.
We will assess biodiversity after three years of implementation (post-operational status) of the Conservation/Restoration Actions and ultimately develop biodiversity recovery indices considering:Sub-Action D1.1. Training olive groves for the expansion/replication of the Olivares Vivos (TOG) model.
Sub-Action D1.2. Demonstration olive groves in areas particularly sensitive to climate change, used as references to observe the feasibility of the Olivares Vivos model in a climate change stress scenario.
Likewise, in Sub-Action D1.3, we will assess the biodiversity restoration debt and biogeochemical functions that occur during ecosystem recovery in the medium term, by means of studies carried out 8 years after the implementation of the Olivares Vivos model in the Andalusian DOGs.
D2. Monitoring of profitability indicators and medium-term impact on the local economy of Olivares Vivos holdings.
In general, this action refers to the operational area of LIFE Olivares Vivos Vivos+. However, it will be extended to any other locality where the Olivares Vivos certification procedure can be applied for. In more detail:
Andalusia: in the localities of the 20 DOGs that were subject to restoration actions in the previous LIFE OV and the current biodiversity monitoring after the operation.
Replication areas: in the localities of the 16 DOGs and 3 DOG-CCs.
Other areas: any area with farmers willing to switch to the Olivares Vivos model and requesting the certification procedure.
To assess the impacts of the project, three objectives are foreseen:
(i) In the DOG areas: Assess the evolution of medium-term indices to quantify the profitability of the farms, or any subsequent changes in oil sales or selling prices. The costs of maintenance tasks and their impact on the local economy will also be measured.
ii) In the TOG and DOG-CC areas: The evolution of profitability. Similarly, the investment of Olivares Vivos in each of these areas and its economic impact (e.g. jobs) on the local population will be measured.
iii) In other areas: Obtain useful data such as the number of jobs created by the restoration action plans (elaboration and implementation phases) or whether neighbouring farmers are interested in or change their attitude towards the Olivares Vivos model.
These objectives will be implemented through two sub-actions.
Sub-Action D2.1. Monitoring the profitability of olive farms participating in the project.
Sub-Action D2.2. Monitoring the socio-economic impact of the project on the local community.
D3. Analysis of the effectiveness of the Olivares VIvos communication strategy and its application in the areas of replication.
Through this action, information will be collected to monitor the communication strategy of the Olivares Vivos certification and the degree of consumer satisfaction with the product. The evolution of this indicator will also help to optimise the business strategy and guarantee the sustainability of the Olivares Vivos model in the post-LIFE period.
Already during LIFE Olivares Vivos, a communication strategy was designed and different works were carried out:
1. Design of the Olivares Vivos brand.
2. Design of the website (olivaresvivos.com/aove), as well as profiles on social networks.
3. Olivares Vivos communication plan.
4. Measuring the effectiveness of the communication strategy, through a survey.
During LIFE Olivares Vivos+, information will be collected to learn about:
Public awareness of Olivares Vivos certification and the effectiveness of the communication strategy used. To this end, a study will be carried out.
Consumer satisfaction. A study will be carried out on the basis of the information provided by the companies that market Extra Virgin Olive Oils and Olivares Vivos table olives. Indicators related to commercial activity such as percentage of sales, price, loyalty rate, repurchase rate, etc. will be used.
Monitoring of the communication strategy
The following studies and actions will be carried out to analyse consumers' knowledge of certification and their perception of the label, as well as its communication:
i) Monitoring of the effectiveness of the communication strategy implemented in the countries where it was developed during LIFE Olivares Vivos (Spain, Denmark, United Kingdom and Germany).
ii) Extraction of information from websites and social networks: metrics related to the growing interest in biodiversity, olive oils, Olivares Vivos olive groves and sustainability.
iii) Pre-testing of advertising in the countries where the model is being replicated (Portugal, Greece and Italy), in order to ascertain the perception of the Olivares Vivos seal and guide the communication strategy.
iv) Overall analysis of the effectiveness of Olivares Vivos' communication strategy.
E1. Development of the comprehensive communication, dissemination and awareness-raising planThis action foresees the implementation of a global communication, dissemination and awareness-raising plan to disseminate the key messages of LIFE Olivares Vivos Vivos+, its actions and results. The plan will be addressed to those target audiences identified in action A1 and to the general public. Action E1 will provide guidance to maximise the dissemination of the project at local, national and international level. Furthermore, it will ensure that the activities related to the general public, necessary to achieve the project objectives, will be implemented in a joint and complementary way, always considering the best cost-benefit ratio. Throughout this action, the implementation of the Communication Plan will be supervised and the development of the other communication activities included in Actions E2, E3 and E4 will be coordinated. This will ensure: i) the coherence and relevance of each of the project activities within the project timetable, ii) the transmission of an appropriate public image (objectives, actions and results) and iii) the maximum dissemination and social impact. The action is divided into:
- Communication, dissemination and awareness-raising activities
- Project website
- Information panels
- Sectoral fairs
E2. Dissemination of project results to stakeholders in the olive sector and in scientific publications and conferences.Through this action, we will inform, educate and communicate the actions and results of the project to raise awareness and interest in this crop and the Olivares Vivos model. To this end, we will develop two specific lines of work to be implemented in accordance with the Communication Plan of Action E1 (e.g. social networks and project website) and using the support of the Network of Municipalities for Living Olive Groves (E5). This action is divided into the following sub-actions: E.2.1. Organisation of open days. E.2.2. Participation in scientific conferences and technical seminars. Publication in journals. E.2.3. Organisation of a conference on biodiversity, agrosystems and value-added formulas.
E3. Promotion of the Olivares Vivos certification labelThe achievement of many objectives and the demonstrative value of the project depends on the oil market and the general public becoming aware of Olivares Vivos and appreciating the added value of its certified products. Action is needed to define and apply the best strategies, techniques and applications to successfully promote Olivares Vivos oils and olives in the market and increase their demand. This action will be complemented by: i) dissemination of the project through the website (E1), ii) demonstration actions (E1), and iii) communication activities aimed at the olive sector (E2). These efforts will improve the profitability of Olivares Vivos certified products, which in turn will increase the area managed under the Olivares Vivos model and lead to a consequent recovery of biodiversity. This Action will be implemented through two sub-actions. E3.1. Promotion of the certification mark and certified products E3.2. Organisation of advisory events for the different actors in the chain of custody.
E4. Development of the Olivares Vivos replication and transfer planSub-Action E4.1. Olivares Vivos replication plan: evaluation, updating and adaptation. LIFE Olivares Vivos+ takes place in 8 replication sites, located in the 4 countries with the largest olive grove area in the EU. It will provide a wealth of information on how to carry out the replication process and reveal the key aspects for its success. It will also provide information for adapting the model to areas particularly sensitive to climate change, such as arid areas. Sub-Action E4.2. Design of the Plan for the Transfer of Live Olive Groves to other crops. A Transfer Plan will be designed to adapt the Olivares Vivos model to other woody crops. This will include a case study to apply the model to a vineyard and wine processing and marketing facilities.
E5. NetworkingThe creation of a network between different projects will be at the heart of LIFE Olivares Vivos+ with a double objective: to disseminate the Olivares Vivos model and good agricultural practices in the replication areas and to improve the potential transfer to other crops. We will enhance the replication of Olivares Vivos through the extension of the Network of Municipalities for Olivares Vivos (REMOV) by the EU and through networking with other projects or entities that share objectives with Olivares Vivos. In general, it will be carried out in combination with other actions (C3 and E), promoting the achievements of the project at national and international level. The Action is divided into two sub-actions: E5.1. Network of Municipalities for Living Olive Groves (REMOV) E5.2. Networking with other projects.
E.6. Improving the CAP, sectoral policies and green infrastructure through the results of LIFE Olivares Vivos +.There are clear synergies between Olivares Vivos, the Green Infrastructure (GI) strategy and environmental policies, especially with regard to regional and rural development, climate change, agriculture and the environment. The new GI strategy calls for its full integration into these policies, so that it becomes a standard component of territorial development across the EU. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the most important policy directly affecting olive growing, has introduced important greening elements to develop a more coherent IV across the rural landscape. Most Member States have made little effort to apply the environmental measures of the CAP to olive growing, despite its considerable potential to reduce environmental impacts and enhance the conservation benefits of this land use. In the previous LIFE Olivares Vivos we have shown that olive growing could be a model of sustainable land use, producing high value food products and environmental benefits. In this context, in 2018 we delivered a document entitled "The post-2020 CAP in relation to olive growing" to different national and regional authorities, to provide arguments during the post-2020 CAP negotiations. This report included key recommendations for designing eco-schemes based on proper management of herbaceous cover and increasing landscape heterogeneity. This document is a good starting point to develop a specific line of work in the framework of LIFE Olivares Vivos+. During this, we will carry out different activities to promote the Olivares Vivos model among relevant EU policies for olive growing (e.g. CAP) and the Green Infrastructure strategy. Our aim is to provide decision-makers with relevant information to implement sectoral policies more effectively. To this end: i) we will communicate our most relevant findings and recommendations to sectoral policy makers, ii) we will develop proposals to integrate the Olivares Vivos agro-scheme into relevant sectoral policies and support their implementation, iii) we will contribute to raising awareness of the potential of olive groves as Green Infrastructure and iv) we will create synergies between LIFE Olivares Vivos Vivos+ and the different sectoral policies. This action also aims to ensure that key EU policies and/or strategies and accompanying financial instruments can enhance biodiversity by supporting or incorporating the Living Olive Tree model.
F1. Project managementFor this LIFE Olivares Vivos+, SEO/BirdLife has a director, a coordinator and an assistant coordinator. The project director will establish the general guidelines for the overall functioning of LIFE Olivares Vivos+ and the correct execution of all actions. Each of the project partners will be responsible for the coordination and development of certain actions. The project partners will hold regular coordination meetings, mainly by videoconference. The different partners will be invited, depending on the agenda item of each meeting. Regular general coordination meetings will be held to prepare the Participation and Monitoring Committee (F2). In addition, two specific coordination meetings will be organised in Jaén with HAO-Demeter, DREAm Italy and the University of Évora during the first months of the project and in the middle of the project.
F2. Project monitoring and evaluationSub-Action F2.1 Project Monitoring Indicators The proper monitoring and evaluation of the project will be assessed through monitoring indicators which will be identified and compiled (together with any other relevant information) in the indicator tables included in the project reports. Sub-Action F2.2 Project monitoring and participation committee A Monitoring and Participation Committee will be set up. It will be composed of the different actors of the project:
- Coordinating and associated partners.
- Farmers owning olive groves participating in the project: TOG, DOG and DOG-CC.
- The Committee shall be organised in national sub-committees, in order to avoid communication difficulties due to language.