12th SERE Confrence

Summary of the Symposium on Soil and Water Bioengineering as a tool for  ecological restoration held inside the SER CONFERENCE the 10th September 2021

Organized by Paola Sangalli, Rosemarie Stangl and Daniel Arizpe from the European  Federation of Soil and Water Bioengineering E.F.I.B.

The session presented a wide spectrum of different approaches, from a general  overview of the possible applications of Soil and Water Bioengineering (SWB) techniques  ln ecological restoration to more specific experiences of concrete projects in a very wide  diversity of fields: rivers, coastal areas, lagoons, landslides, roads etc.

Concrete conclusions are as follows:

Greening areas in temperate Europe has to take in consideration species  composition and management in order to achieve the desired results. The source and  quality of seeds and other propagation materials such as hay is an important issue as is the  combination with soil bioengineering and appropriate vegetation and reproduction  techniques.

Floating islands of aquatic plants where shown to be a potential strategy for  increasing biodiversity in artificial channels and lakes, for purifying water, as well as for  reducing slope erosion.

The application of combined techniques of gray-green structures and NBS are  becoming more important worldwide to protect seashores and its inhabitants from a  generalized increasing erosion risk due to climate change.

There are several strategies that can be implemented to enhance plant  establishment processes that are mainly directed to improve soil fertility.

Choosing the right reference scenario in road revegetation projects is an important  issue that will determine restoration success and the selection of the most adequate  strategies.

The participation of the local community is a key aspect for the success of  restoration projects since it can increase project acceptance among the local community,  as has been shown in two socially important projects. One in the Adriatic Sea, where a  coastal wetland was recovered referring to water quality and typical vegetation  communities, and a second one in Nord Spain, where an endangered dam has been  requalified.

Humans and its cultural activities are also an important part of the ecosystem. The  project LIFE Cañadas showed how cultural landscapes can contribute to biodiversity  conservation, and how the management of drover roads can support advancing green  infrastructures.

As a general conclusion, we can summarise that Soil and Water Bioengineering, as  Nature-based Solution, is able to both mitigate and restore lost ecosystems and to avoid  the degradation of our environment. It must work hand in hand (in parallel) with  ecological restoration.

The Declaration ‘Scientists in Support of an Ambitious European Union Nature Restoration Law’ was approved on 10.9.2021 resulting of the 12th European Conference on Ecological Restoration organised by SER Europe.

Rosemarie Stangl, Daniel Arizpe,P.Sangalli