The URBAN KLIMA 2050 project supports local organic farming initiatives in Vitoria-Gasteiz
The Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council, through the Environmental Studies Centre and together with around 20 institutions and organisations from all over the Basque Country, is participating in the LIFE IP Urban Klima 2050 project for the rollout of the Basque Country’s Climate Change Strategy - KLIMA 2050 in the urban environment. The strategy is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while making our land more resilient to climate change. To do this, Vitoria-Gasteiz has launched a pilot intervention scheme that will forge closer links between town and the countryside by promoting organic farming on land in the peri-urban area.
The purpose of the activity is to improve yields by boosting biodiversity in the surrounding of cropland. Agrobiodiversity or biological diversity associated with agriculture is a subset of general biodiversity and refers to the variety and variability of animals, plants and micro-organisms used directly or indirectly for feeding and farming. Hedge and shrub plantations, which are part of agrobiodiversity, are a haven for auxiliary wildlife. They reduce pollution of underground and surface water and help to prevent water and wind erosion. The windbreak effect of this type of plant life also helps to create a micro-climate on fields.
By the end of last winter, more than fifty specimens of around fifteen different shrub species have been planted on the edge of a field. The species selected are commonly found growing on slopes and forests in the environs and include the strawberry tree, boxwood, holly and cherry and apple trees, among others. As well as having a positive effect on the ecosystem, these living structures add to the beauty of the rural landscape.
On the same farm, fruit trees have been planted for production purposes and as an innovative agroforestry activity, integrating crops with tree plantations. The larger plants have been obtained from the fruit nursery of the Euskadi Seed Network, an association that has been working for 25 years to recover and preserve the varieties grown in our fields.