IBERDROLA AND BIODIVERSITY
Planet Earth stows an immense treasure: the huge variety of forms of life, which are essential for sustainable development. Iberdrola Group is therefore committed to encouraging ecosystem biodiversity by establishing new and sustainable projects in a way that fosters harmonious coexistence and conserves, protects and promotes the development and growth of the natural heritage. It also fosters a culture that heightens awareness amongst society over the importance of this issue and the actions that help to protect biodiversity.
BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Fostering economic and social development, respect for the environment and promoting biodiversity are Iberdrola's priority corporate values, and the company fully complies with Sustainable Development goals thirteen and fifteen. Iberdrola Group manifests its commitment to safeguarding and promoting the biodiversity of ecosystems through concrete actions. The following are some examples:
- Integrating biodiversity conservation into the Group's strategy and in decisions on infrastructure projects.
- Integrating biodiversity into the Group's environmental management systems (EMS).
- Participating in research, conservation, education and awareness projects.
- Protecting species and habitats, avoiding placing new infrastructures in protected areas or those rich in biodiversity.
CLIMATE CHANGE, AGRICULTURE AND LIVESTOCK
INITIATIVES, PROJECTS AND ACTIONS
By signing this Pact, Iberdrola underlines its commitment to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. The Pact is sponsored by the Spanish Business and Biodiversity Initiative, created by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama) and the Biodiversity Foundation, of which Iberdrola is also a member.
This ambitious project, developed since 2011 by Fundación Iberdrola España in conjunction with SEO/BirdLife, is a result of Iberdrola's commitment to achieving bird-friendly energy.
The program aims to preserve Spanish birdlife by expanding knowledge of migratory and bird breeding habits through the latest geolocation and remote-monitoring technologies. Different species have been equipped with GPS devices to gather the details about its migratory trips, the duration, what route they follow, at what speed and altitude they fly, where they rest and feed or if the routes are the same year after year, which make it possible for us to record all of their movements and show them in www.migraciondeaves.org. In addition, they help us anticipate any possible threats that could endanger them, while providing fundamental information to prepare relevant scientific studies.
The SEO / BirdLife MIGRA program has presented the Migration and spatial ecology of the Spanish population of booted eagle. To carry out the study, 21 eagles have been tagged with GPS and more than 83,000 locations have been obtained that have guided us through the more than 194,000 km covered by the birds in their journeys. The study data reveals that international cooperation is essential to create safe areas for booted eagles on their migratory journeys to sub-Saharan Africa: during their autumnal migration, the booted eagles travel between 2,400 and 3,400 km, arriving in Savannah areas of the African Sahel. This trip lasts about three weeks and there are days that they fly up to 400 km at a maximum speed of 72 km/h.
Booted eagle tagged with GPS.
A total of 809 birds of 28 different species have been tagged over the six years of the program. Over 80 different species will be tagged during 2017: Lesser kestrels, common swifts and red kites. Swifts were tagged in Nuevo Baztan (Navarre) on the 29th of May during the International Migratory Bird Day.
Some of the latest findings of the programme include the case of the swift, the summer migratory bird par excellence, which can travel 20,000 kilometres on its migratory flight to Africa. The common swift is one of the birds that best represents our towns and cities during spring. During the month of March, thousands of birds flood the sky every year with their characteristic screeching sounds and they abandon their nests during the end of July to migrate to Africa. 41 swifts of Nuevo Baztán (municipality of Madrid) were banded for this study.
A common swift banded and ready to be tracked. Video voice transcription (Spanish version) [PDF]
Another example is the Spanish pallid swift. Through the use of GPS devices, now we can learn about its migratory habits and overwintering areas. In particular, we attached an emitter weighing 0.6 grams to a bird of this species in 2015, which revealed the secrets of its journey: 3,600 km, from Zaragoza to Benin and Nigeria, where it would spend the winter.
Pallid swift equipped with a geolocation device.
Another case is the white stork; after several years studying its migration (more than 50 specimens have been tagged with a GPS device), SEO/BirdLife experts have observed a change in the behaviour of this protected species: the growth of peri-urban dumps has changed their migration patterns and there are more and more storks that remain on the peninsula all year round due to the easy access to food from the dumps.
A pair of white storks.
Furthermore, the MIGRA program by SEO/Birdlife has published a monograph on the Audouin's gull, a species native to the Mediterranean with a relatively small population, 90% of which nest in Spain during their reproductive season.
For the study on Migración y ecología espacial de la gaviota de Audouin en el Mediterráneo occidental y noroeste africano, 221,931 spatial locations of more than 15,500 different specimens were analysed. Its 100 pages contain the movements, phenology and spatial ecology of the Audouin's gull at breeding grounds, on migratory routes and in wintering areas. The study likewise reveals 15 areas of great value for the species on the African coasts that deserve to be identified as Important Bird Areas (IBA).
The programme for the conservation of this autochthonous and emblematic species in danger of extinction in the Cantabrian Mountain Range has involved active work between 2010 and 2016 with the two-fold objective of halting its decline and fostering its recovery.
At the start of the project, it was estimated that there were only some 400 specimens between Asturias, León and Cantabria. To contribute to the recovery of this species, the European LIFE+ Cantabrian Capercaillie Project, coordinated by the Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing, Food and the Environment, with the support of Fundación Iberdrola España and the Autonomous National Parks Organisation, a series of urgent conservation, social participation, awareness raising and dissemination actions have been carried out.
Some of the main actions carried out since 2010 include:
- Forestry treatments in over 500 hectares to improve the Capercaillie's habitat.
- Removal or signage of 60 km of dangerous fences to eliminate the risk of electric shock.
- Control and monitoring of the deer population, as a result of its direct effect on the availability of food to the Capercaillie.
- Breeding in captivity programme as a complementary measure to the management of the habitat and re-introduction of Capercaillies in wildlife environments.
- 19 land custody projects thanks to 29 voluntary agreements between owners, non-profit organisations and other public and private agents.
- Environmental awareness raising and education actions, with workshops at schools, in which 2,000 students have participated.
This project has laid the foundations for the future conservation of the species, according to the experience and technical expertise acquired during the execution of the different actions.
Iberdrola has been implementing biodiversity programmes and plans for years, the management of which is ongoing. As well as assessing environmental impact, these initiatives also aim to prevent and/or mitigate it, restore natural capital, develop relations with stakeholders and raise awareness amongst society. The Group's work in Spain, the UK, U.S., Brazil and Mexico can be viewed in the Action plans section.