Collecting Seeds and Fruits of the Native dune flora in Marbella
28th February 2021
EVENT – SPREADING NEW BIODIVERSITY
AT THE NATURAL MONUMENT “DUNES OF ARTOLA”, Cabopino
Of course we were lucky – 72 people had signed up and very few gave up because of the horrible weather! The forecast was for some rain, but while we were in the Natural Monument “Dunas de Artola” area it held off. Good warm clothing was however needed!
All the nature lovers came with a positive attitude, delighted to be out in the dunes and with a wish to help spread new life. We handed out the 50 bags full of seeds contributed by the Cantueso Natural Seeds family of Córdoba.
We explained to everyone how to sow the different seeds. Sowing seed in sandy soils is both easier and more complicated. If the seeds are left uncovered on the surface, birds will see and eat them. Other small animals also like berries and will eat them before they get a chance to germinate. On the other hand, if they are buried too deeply and the grain size of the sand is too fine, the seeds get buried, find it too difficult to reach the light, not have time to germinate, and rot. It is a tight scientific balance! In a year or so (we hope) we will be able to see the results of today’s work in the new biodiversity.
The participants even offered to do a little garbage collection – you have to see it to believe what was found in this precious and valuable natural environment! Everyone agrees that we have to come back to the Artola Natural Monument area again as there is still a lot of garbage left.
Fermín, our camera-friend, filmed today’s different groups at work and very soon we will be able to see what the camera caught. For the moment, our warm thanks to all of you who chose to ignore the weather and come out to enjoy the day with us.
BRIEF EXPLANATION OF THE SEED CONSERVATION PROCESS IN CANTUESO NATURAL SEEDS, Córdoba
When the ripe berries or seeds arrive in Cantueso Natural Seeds, they are hard so, depending on how mature they are, they must be soaked in water for a day or two to soften them. Once they are softened, they are crushed with a manual blade shredder so as not to cause damage to the kernels.
These seeds will float. Any that do not, that sink, are eliminated because they are not in the optimal conditions sought. The healthy seeds are then sun-dried naturally and once the moisture has been evaporated, they are transferred to special ovens to finish the drying process at a controlled temperature.
When the seeds are dry, they are passed through a densimetric measuring table to carry out a further selection, this time of density, to leave only the perfectly ripe or “set” seeds, that is, the heaviest ones. Then they go to the laboratory where a sample is taken and the viability is studied and another sample is studied to determine the germination level.
Once all the laboratory data has been processed, the seeds are stored in a cold room with plenty of light and in a constant temperature of between 3° and 5° centigrade. There they wait until they are re-introduced into degraded areas that need to be re-developed with new biodiversity. The ProDunas Marbella Association will work on this in all the dune environments of the Ecological Reserve-Dunas de Marbella and in the Natural Monument “Dunas de Artola”, Cabopino, the western Costa del Sol.
JUNIPER POLLINATION (Juniperus macrocarpa)
In La Adelfa dune there are several specimens of Maritime Juniper that do not have fruit. This is because they are young specimens and have not yet flowered. Fruit is found on some branches and not on others for the same reason. The fruit can have different colours depending on the year and their state of maturity.
Each specimen has branches with male flowers and branches with female flowers when mature. The male flowers produce pollen, which pollinates the female flowers, giving galbule-like fruits.
Pollination is mainly by wind.
SHORT EXPLANATION ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JUNIPERS AND SABINAS IN DUNAR ENVIRONMENTS
Sabina (Juniperus turbinata)
Junipers have overlapping leaves like roof tiles and are soft to the touch.
Maritime juniper (Juniperus macrocarpa)
Junipers have spiky leaves with one or two white stripes.
They belong to the cupresaceae family.
- Juniper phoenicea is a monoecious species, which means that the male, small and terminal flowers coexist on the same arboreal foot with the female, auxiliary ones, which after two years mature into cones of up to 14 mm, ovoid, waxy green and toning into a dark red finish. The male flowering branches have cones in the axils of the leaves, which produce a lot of pollen that is dispersed by the wind in spring.
- Large-fruited Juniper is a dioecious plant, the solitary and cylindrical male cones are on different bases from the female ones and it is distinguished by its needle-like leaves with two white bands on the upper face and its mature cones of between 7 and 15 mm, formed by 3 fleshy scales, welded together. They house 3 seeds. They go through different colours to black in their second year of maturation
It is not unusual to find galbules in different stages of maturity on the plant.
Author: Flor Truchero
THE INTERESTING FUTURE FOR BIODIVERSITY IN OUR DUNE ENVIRONMENT
A door has just opened unexpectedly for us to work directly and take part in spreading the beautiful biodiversity which we have in the dune environments in the Natural Monument “Dunas de Artola”, as well as in the Ecological Reserve-“Dunas de Marbella”.
A family business situated in Cordoba has, for many years, been enthusiastically collecting, producing (organic crops) and commercialising the seeds and fruit of our Spanish wild native plants (more than 850 different species). They form part of the official Collaborating Entity of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development. Their interest is mainly focused on the Mediterranean area which is where our Association comes in, as we look after 500,000 m² of dune environment, stretching from the Natural Monument “Dunas de Artola” to the Ecological Reserve-Dunas de Marbella.
The project of Collecting Seeds and Fruits of the Native Dune flora will be a demanding and beautiful challenge, since we will become part of ensuring that the biodiversity prospers and spreads throughout all these dune environments, by reintroducing seeds from different native plant species to the targeted areas.
We are preparing annual collection programs, 8 native species per year for three years, for their re-introduction to the different ecosystems along the coastline of the Costa del Sol.
Biodiversity is life and the seeds of our native wild flora will bring biodiversity
There are some dune areas that still need a profound landscape restoration and where it will be especially satisfying to see how man’s intervention can be positive. Botanic biodiversity using genetically healthy, thriving plants encourages pollination of the vegetation, which in its turn shelters the entomofauna that includes insects and other arthropods.
At the same time, phytogenetic traceability is guaranteed thanks to strict control exercised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development. The pertinent authorisations extended to ProDunas will provide the basis for guarantees regarding specific conservation and / or the reintroduction projects for the selected species.
This joint collaboration must be a lasting project. This is why our Association is seeking to work with different Spanish universities, some of which are already visitors to the Marbella dunes; organisations involved in research into genetic improvement, as well as schools, foundations and companies in general who would like to get involved in this amazing project.
Working together like this will ensure the advancement in understanding the autochthonous flora.
We would like to make it clear that involvement by third parties in this project will always be on an altruistic basis.
Would you like to join up as a volunteer?
LIST OF PLANTS PROPOSED FOR SEED COLLECTION
FIRST THREE-YEAR PERIOD: 2020-2023
1º – Ammophila arenaria
2º – Helichrysum stoechas
3º – Juniperus turbinata
4º – Juniperus macrocarpa
5º – Pancratium maritimum
6º – Pistacea lentiscus
7º – Rosmarinus officinalis
8º – Thymus vulgaris/Thymbra capitata
9º- Centaurea sphaerocephala
10º- Cyperus capitatus
11º- Delphinium nanum
12º- Echium gaditanum
13º- Eryngium maritimum
14º- Ononis ramosissima
15º- Pseudorlaya pumila
16º- Verbascum thapsus
17º- Allium roseum
18º- Asphodelus aestivus
19º- Cakile maritima
20º- Paronochia argentea
21º- Lavatera cretica
22º- Lobularia maritima
23º- Otanthus maritimus
24º- Retama monosperma blanca
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Asociación ProDunas Marbella
The Association works tirelessly for the defence and preservation of the unique ecosystems that survive in the natural sand dune environments in the Province of Málaga; promotes the protection of native flora and small wildlife; promotes recovery, rehabilitation and conservation of interesting biodiversity of sand dunes areas in the municipality of Marbella.