Different techniques evaluation
The pampas grass is a very harmful invasive species with a great capacity of establishment on degraded terrain. The study of techniques of the management and elimination of the species is essential and because of this four pilot techniques have been designed for implementation in five areas affected by the pampas grass on the Cantabrian coast. These techniques are as follows:
- Hydroseeding and mulch of autochthonous species
The test consists of hydroseeding with different autochthonous species with the aim of being able to monitor the subsequent behaviour of the pampas grass after restoration. The various species are sown in areas which have been divided and delimited so as to allow subsequent study and assessment. Among the species selected the following stand out: gorse (Ulex europaeus) and the thornless blackberry (Rubus ulmifolius) for their colonising nature together with other species of grasses, caespitose plants, and creeping plants of autochthonous origin.
2. Directed grazing
After clearing the pilot plot a mixed flock of sheep and goats is introduced with different livestock densities and selecting preferably red-faced and black-faced sheep of the Carranzana breed, both of which are from the local area and in danger of extinction. In this way it will be possible to assess the role of small livestock in the control and eradication of the pampas grass.
Grazing with cattle helps the restoration of an area invaded by pampas grass
- Use of technosols
This test consists of assessing various technosols or in other words a soil designed based on natural soils and at least 20% in weight or volume of non dangerous waste so as to encourage the circular economy. These soils are designed for a specific purpose, which is in this case the control of the pampas grass; with time they evolve in a similar manner to the natural soils of the area.
Laboratory test to observe the germinative capacity of pampas grass seeds
- Assessment of livestock handling
This test has two parts; in one area frequent mowing is carried out at different cutting heights so as to encourage the growth of autochthonous grasses to the detriment of the pampas grass. In the other area the composition of the soil is improved by including various fertilisers of animal and plant origin so as to be able to assess which fertiliser encourages to the greatest extent autochthonous grasses rather than the pampas grass on plots used by livestock.
Throughout the implementation of the LIFE project the most relevant results of each of the techniques will be provided with the aim of transmitting the information to interested players and of encouraging its replicability.