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The European Commission receives the final report on the Life+ Sustainable Ordunte project

This week the Final Report on the Life+ Sustainable Ordunte project, listing all of the actions and results of the 5 years of work carried out on the project.

This closes the actual work on LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte and opens the period of execution of the post-LIFE conservation plan, the commitments of which will be developed over the coming years.


Technical experts from HAZI and the Provincial Council of Biscay visit Nottingham Trent University, as part of an ongoing collaboration that began with the LIFE Ordunte Sostenible project.

The lines of research that were visited cover a wide range of topics, including restoration of peat bogs and rivers, flood prevention, ecology, the effects of climate change on glaciers, to name but a few. They looked at subject areas that are handled using innovative follow-up technologies: data acquisition through remote sensing, UAV, TLS and other strategies, as well as different processing systems that enable data quality and accuracy to be increased.

HAZI has put forward the approaches and results of the LIFE Ordunte Sostenible, LIFE Irekibai and POCTEFA Habios projects, and is collaborating in the preparation of a scientific article on the restoration of the Zalama blanket bog in Ordunte.


The LIFE project + Sustainable Ordunte publishes a case study on peat bog characterisation and preservation

The LIFE project + Sustainable Ordunte has published a case study, comprising the latest studies and experiences in peat bog preservation and restoration. Throughout its twelve chapters, renowned experts provide their contributions regarding the identification, description, restoration and protection of peat bogs.

The book is mainly oriented toward European Red Natura 2000 operators and technicians with examples of this habitat, and its purpose is to disseminate the knowledge acquired so they can provide their guidelines that can be extrapolated to enclaves with similar issues. The book is published in Basque, English and Spanish, and can be downloaded here.

Inventory, value and restoration of peatlands and mires: recent contributions(8.478 KB)


Sustainable Ordunte on the front cover of the official LIFE programme calendar for 2018 

The European Commission has chosen a picture of the Zalama blanket bog for the front cover of the official LIFE Programme calendar for 2018. The calendar has informational purposes and is issued to the technical and scientific staff that develop LIFE projects in all Member States.

The photograph on the front cover shows the restoration work carried out in the Zalama blanket bog, which has also been used to illustrate May of the European almanac, together with a short summary of the project.


Final workshops for the LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte project

The LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte project has completed its work fulfilling the pre-defined objectives. The project has improved the natural condition of this Special Conservation Area (Spanish acronym ZEC), ensuring that these mountains continue to offer the goods and services of a well-conserved environment.

This LIFE+, which has had a budget of €2.5 million, financed by the Provincial Council of Bizkaia and the European Union, concludes after five years with the holding of some workshops to share the experiences and knowledge gained during its execution. Within the framework of these workshops, which took place last Wednesday, 13 December, in Bilbao and Thursday, 14 December, in Montes de Ordunte, the results were presented in sessions on the LIFE+ themes and some of the initiatives carried out in Ordunte were visited.

Achievements of LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte (199 KB)



Final workshop of LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte

Next December 13th and 14th, the final workshop of LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte will be organized, with the aim of sharing experiences and knowledge gained during the project implementation. The technical session will take place on 13th at Beaz (8, Sabino Arana St.) in Bilbao, where relevant topics targeted by the LIFE+ project will be discussed:

  • Restoration of forest ecosystems
  • Restoration of peatbogs and mires
  • Management of Natura 2000 sites
  • Environmental awareness of professionals and locals

On 14th, a field trip to visit restoration actions by the LIFE+ project will be held.

Soon, the detailed program and the inscription form will be available.


The Interpretation Centre for the Armañón Natural Park and ZEC Ordunte is launching a specific educational programme on the Ordunte Mountains

This new school year, the Interpretation Centre for the Armañón Natural Park and ZEC Ordunte is offering a specific educational programme on the Ordunte Mountains for Primary students. The purpose of this programme is the spread awareness of Ordunte's natural value, as well as the fragility of some of its ecosystems, and to encourage environmental respect.

After working in the classroom with the digital and interactive educational unit designed under Life+ Ordunte Sostenible (Life+ Sustainable Ordunte), a visit will be made to the zone with the Parketxe's environmental educators to discover, on site, the concepts worked on (Natura 2000 Network, the landscape, flora and fauna species of interest in Ordunte, ecosystemic services and connectivity). Finally, the concepts learned will be reinforced with complementary review activities.

Interested schools can directly contact the Interpretation Centre for the Armañón Natural Park and ZEC Montes de Ordunte by calling +34 946 56 00 79.

Informational brochure on the new Educational Programme (767 KB)


LIFE + Ordunte Sostenible participates in the VI Landa Topaketa on cooperation

The LIFE + Ordunte Sostenible team was invited to share their experience on restoration of natural habitats, as part of the Landa Topaketa technical conference, organized by the Basque Agency on Cooperation for Development and the World Rural Forum. These conferences are a meeting point between agents working in the rural and natural environment of the Basque Country, and cooperation entities. The goal is to share ideas and projects, seeking for synergies and approaches replicable in other contexts. The presentation of LIFE + Ordunte Sostenible was focused on the conservation of habitats as a way to maintain the services provided by ecosystems, trying to break the traditional antagonism between conservation and development.


Decision on the school competition: "Discovering the Ordunte Mountain Range Special Conservation Area"

After deliberation by the jury consisting of a representative of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia and employees from the interpretation centre of the Armañón Natural Park and Ordunte Mountain Range Special Conservation Area, a decision has been made to award the following prizes to the schools participating in the school competition "Discovering the Ordunte Mountain Range Special Conservation Area":

  • 1st Prize: COLEGIO JOSE SIERRA HLHI (Trucios), which has won an interactive whiteboard for the school and a guided tour of the Ordunte Mountain Range for the whole class.
  • Runner-up prize: COLEGIO SAN BARTOLOME HLHI (Leioa), which has won a guided tour of the Ordunte Mountain Range for the whole class.



The European Commission visits LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte

On 22 May, LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte hosted an inspection visit by the European Commission. This LIFE+ is a joint project implemented by the Bizkaia Provincial Council and Hazi Fundazioa. These kind of visit is carried out at least once during the period of the project, and the European Commission - represented on this occasion by Dørte Pardo-López, from the EC Directorate General of Environment - intends to know firsthand the degree of implementation of the actions and achievement of the objectives. The technical meeting was held at the information centre of Armañón-Ordunte, and included a field trip to know the restoration activities at the Zalama blanket bog.


The LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte forest workshop took place.

On 18 May, a workshop on forest management in Natura 2000 sites was held at the Kultur Etxea in Karrantza (Bizkaia), presenting various experts in forestry and conservation of protected areas from Castilla y León, Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha, Navarre and the Basque Country. The workshop was organized in collaboration with the group of forests of Europarc-Spain, currently embarked on the inventory of forest stands with structural characteristics of maturity. In the morning technical session, it was shown a vision from the general statements to the particular cases, on the conservation status of the forests, tools available to evaluate their contribution to biodiversity, and management objectives related to conservation. The afternoon was dedicated to a field visit to plots currently under restoration, carried out on the framework of LIFE + Sustainable Ordunte. The interest aroused by the workshop is indicated by the high number of applications, which exceeded the forecast and the capacity of the conference room.


European Natura 2000 DayEuropean Natura 2000 Day Logo

On the occasion of the celebration of the European Natura 2000 Day, the 21st May, several activities for awareness raising have been organised in the municipality of Karrantza, in the action area of the LIFE+ Ordunte Sostenible.


Announcement of the school contest: "Discovering the Special Area of Conservation Montes de Ordunte". Deadline extended until May 19th.

Last March 3rd, the school contest "Discovering the Special Area of Conservation Montes de Ordunte" was launched. The objective is to disseminate knowledge about of the natural values of the Ordunte mountains among the scholars of Bizkaia and to let the younger people know about the unique ecology of this site.

The contest is addressed to students of Primary Education from Bizkaia who, after having investigated the pedagogical materials "Ordunte Sostenible", will have to prepare a digital report, either artistic or technical, about the Ordunte mountains.

The reports can be submitted until May 5th, by e-mail to or forwarding a CD or DVD to Hazi Fundazioa, Granja Modelo, 01192 Arkaute (Álava). The winning class will be awarded an interactive whiteboard and a guided tour through this singular natural area. A second prize will be awarded with another monitored visit to Ordunte.

Contest rules


Hazi will explain his experience on evaluation of ecosystem services in Tallinn

As part of an international conference organized by the European Commission under the LIFE platform (, which will take place in Tallinn, Estonia, in May, the Biodiversity Area of Hazi has been invited to present its work about evaluation of ecosystem services at the local level. Hazi has worked on this issue in LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte, applying a methodology that has been sufficiently innovative as to attract the attention of other LIFE projects and the European Commission itself, who is trying to develop standard procedures for projects funded under the LIFE program, so as to assess their contribution to the conservation and restoration of ecosystem services. The conference will be held under the motto "Giving Value to the Earth? Transferring the concept of ecosystem services to decision-making" and will bring together representatives of some 50 LIFE projects across Europe, as well as experts from administrations and scientific and technical organizations. The event is hosted by LIFE+ Viva Grass (, a project that promotes biodiversity associated with pastures in the Baltic region, generating agro-management schemes that also allow for the economic viability of farms.


The inaugural Nottingham Trent University visit to Zalama peatlands

In October 2016, the Regional Government of Bizkaia - co-ordinating beneficiary of LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte - and Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom signed a partnership agreement with the aim of broadening understanding of the current conservation status of Zalama peatlands.

This unique habitat has been the object of regeneration within the framework of the LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte project. Using new technologies, the team from Nottingham Trent University will carry out a mapping of the peatlands and will evaluate erosion using a land scanner, comparing regenerated areas with non-regenerated areas. They will also catalogue the flora of the area using drones and high-resolution infra-red images as well as analysing available hydrological data.

On the 29th and 30th March of this year, the team carried out their first field visit, with the aim of gathering data. The extremely high value of the Zalama peatlands and the importance of understanding the effects of regeneration carried out there has fuelled the interest of the researchers, who hope to be able to return during the months of May and July in order to broaden their study.


Visit to LIFE + Miera

Last December 1, a team from LIFE + Sustainable Ordunte approached the so-called Montaña Pasiega, between Burgos and Cantabria, to learn first-hand about the conservation actions of LIFE + Miera. This project, promoted by the Nature and Man Foundation and the Government of Cantabria, aims to promote the conservation of biodiversity in the Miera river basin, from the source to the mouth. The actions are therefore targetting the connectivity and ecological status of habitats and species, with the fluvial system as a connector axis. In the upper stream area, in mountainous terrains, the conservation problems addressed are similar to those of LIFE + Ordunte Sostenible, including protection of trampales and peatlands, restoration of forest habitats and compatibility of livestock activity. For this reason, the exchange of experiences between the teams of both projects was very fruitful.


LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte collaborates with Nottingham Trent University

LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte collaborates with Nottingham Trent University

Recently, a cooperation protocol has been agreed between the Provincial Council of Bizkaia -the coordinating beneficiary for LIFE + Sustainable Ordunte- and Nottingham Trent University (UK), with the aim of boosting several scientific research projects on peatlands, and at the same time collect information to apply to the conservation of the Zalama peatbog. The School of Environmental and Rural Sciences was searching for study areas in Europe to implement new descriptive and diagnostic technologies, and selected the Zalama peatbog, a site that is being restored since few years ago. The managers of LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte, a project in partnership with Hazi, have warmly welcomed this opportunity. The agreement includes the mapping and assessment of erosion processes on the peatbog using terrestrial scanner, description of floristic composition with drones and high-res infrared images, the analysis of the hydrological data available, and contributions to technical publications. Given that these outcomes and the information gathered implies no cost for the LIFE+, this collaboration can be an example of positive synergies and good practices in the implementation of LIFE+ projects.


LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte, visited by The Instituto Alavés de la Naturaleza

visited by The Instituto Alavés de la Naturaleza

Last October 8th, we received the visit of a group of biologists and naturalists belonging to Instituto Alavés de la Naturaleza, a cultural and scientific institution based in Vitoria, which promotes studies and research and also addresses the conservation of the natural heritage. Members of the Instituto were interested in the actions targeting habitat and species management, promoted by the LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte. During the visit, they attended the Information Centre of Armañón-Ordunte, where they could learn and understand the main features of the landscape, flora and fauna of Karranza, and afterwards they inspected the forest restorations undertaken in the area of Lanzas Agudas, and the beech forest of Balgerri.


LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte received the annual visit of the monitoring team for the European Commission

LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte received the annual visit of the monitoring team for the European Commission

On June 20, LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte was visited by the external team of the European Commission, responsible for monitoring and assessment of LIFE + projects. These visits are scheduled annually, and the status of the concerned project is reviewed, along with possible deviations and forecasts for the coming months. The meeting, held at the information centre of Armañón-Ordunte, allowed the technicians of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia and Hazi Foundation to explain the degree of technical and financial implementation of the actions. In the afternoon, several field sites where forest restorations have been made (La Argañeda) or where infrastructure for the livestock has been installed (Salduero) were inspected.


LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte, selected as case study in a teaching course of the Basque Institute for Public Administration

LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte, selected as case study in a teaching course of the Basque Institute for Public Administration

The Basque Institute of Public Administration organized on June 17 and 28 the course "Natura 2000 network in the Basque Country: practical experiences". The core of the event was the analysis of options to address the restoration and conservation of Natura 2000 sites, once that the management plans for the sites have been officially approved, and the appropriate measures have to be implemented. LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte was among the case studies chosen. After the given lecture, students had the opportunity to discuss ways to finance projects, the practical difficulties to implement or the involvement of the local population and the productive sectors. The experience gained by LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte was quite enlightening on these topics.


LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte, in the conference Esparc 2016

Life + Sustainable Ordunte in Esparc conference

LIFE + Sustainable Ordunte has been present at the biannual conferences Esparc 2016, organized by Europarc-Spain. This event has brought together many of the managers, practitioners and researchers working in protected natural areas and the Natura 2000 network. Esparc 2016 has been held June 7, 8 and 9 in Laguardia (Álava), with the sponshorship of the Provincial Council of Alava, the Basque Government and Basquetour, and was attended by some 150 specialists. Staff by Hazi Fundazioa contributed with an oral communication on the assessment of ecosystem services produced within the framework of LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte. In addition, the stand of the project was exhibited, and brochures and dissemination materials about natural sites in Bizkaia were distributed. Actions and results explained by LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte attracted the attention of participants in the conference, and promoted an exchange of experiences and opinions, which in the future could facilitate collaborations and new approaches.


LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte was visited by a Swedish team

LIFE+ Sustainable Ordunte was visited by a Swedish team

On May 26th, LIFE + Sustainable Ordunte was visited by a group of ten technicians and practitioners working for LIFE + Coast Benefit, a project of restoration of biodiversity in forest and grazed habitats, that is being implemented in three provinces of southern Sweden. The Swedish team was interested in knowing in detail conservation activities in Ordunte, adopted under the LIFE + Sustainable Ordunte, and more specifically the restoration of beech and mixed forests at the expense of previous existing plantations of Pinus radiata and eucalyptus. The visit, hosted by officers from the Natural Heritage Service of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia and Hazi Fundazioa, included a working session at the visitors centre of Armañón and Ordunte Special Area of Conservation, and a field trip to particular sites where restorations are taking place (Argañeda and El Castañal). This event allowed to share experiences in Bizkaia and Sweden, debate over compensation and funding schemes for the Natura 2000 network, and discuss alternative techniques to achieve the objectives of biodiversity conservation.


Natura 2000 day (2016)

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