Project LIFE13 NAT/ES/000883

The project’s budget is co-financed by the LIFE programme, the EU’s financial instrument for nature conservation, with a total amount of 945.428 € and will last four and a half years. It includes measures to improve the conservation status of 10 dune ecosystems along the Cantabrian coast, belonging to Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country.

Dunes and beach are small and scarce in the Cantabrian coast, where cliffs dominate the landscape. These ecosystems do not show, in general terms, an adequate level of development which along with their degradation by human activities, especially severe during the summer period, explains why some of these exclusive species of these habitats have been included in red lists and regional catalogues of threatened flora.

For this reason, the scientific team of the INDUROT (Universidad de Oviedo) has promoted this project which is managed by Tomás E. Díaz (Scientific Director of the JBA ).

The activities will be developed in germplasm banks and nursery gardens in the facilities of the Botanical Garden as well as in other facilities of other regions involved in ARCOS, for a period of 4 years and a half. In compliance with the objectives of the European Strategy for Plant Conservation in the Horizon 2020, these activities will be worked up through the following tasks:

The project was supported by the following 16  public bodies and non-governmental organizations.

Asociación de Amigos del Jardín Botánico de Gijón
Asociación Costa Quebrada
Sociedad española de ornitología – BirdLife
Ayuntamiento de Zumaia

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Gobierno del Principado de Asturias



Centro penitenciario de El Dueso

Ayuntamiento de Zierbena



Ayuntamiento de Zarautz   
Ayuntamiento de Santoña

Ayuntamiento de Piélagos

Ayuntamiento de Noja


Ayuntamiento de Ibarrangelu
Ayuntamiento de Muskiz
Gobierno Vasco, Dirección del Medio Natural y Planificación Ambiental
Diputación Foral de Bizkaia,  Departamento de Sostenibilidad y Medio Natural


  • Ex situ conservation in seed banks of threatened plants in these dune habitats.
  • Development of culture protocols of these plants and plant production of taxa for their use in restoration projects
  • Development of culture protocols of these plants and plant production of taxa for their use in restoration projects

ARCOS project will be carried out in 10 dune systems: Barayo, Dunas de Verdicio and Playa de la Vega (Asturias); Liencres, Somo and Berria (Cantabria); and La Arena, Laida, Santiago and Zarauz (The Basque Country).

  • ARCOS consortium is formed by 6 partners or beneficiaries responsible for the project description and which represent all sectors involved in natural environmental management.
    The beneficiaries are divided among public bodies, in charge of the legal and jurisdictional framework, university and research centres, as generators of scientific knowledge and private companies, represented in this case by environmental consultancy and the development of restoration works, to guarantee the correct development of the proposed actions.

  • Universidad de Oviedo (UNIOVI) is the entity which coordinates the project. The other beneficiaries are:
    The Directorate-General of Sustainability of the Coast and the Sea belonging to the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food (DGSCM), the Gipuzkoa Regional Government’s Directorate-General for Forests and the Natural Environment (DFG-GFA), the Directorate-General of Forestry and Nature Conservation of the Cantabrian Government (DGMCNCANT), the Aranzadi Society of Sciences (ARANZADI) and Ecología Litoral (ECORAL).



Selection of collected seeds

  • The process of seed harvesting, necessary for restoration tasks, has just started this summer.
  • During winter 2014, the dune systems under study have been severely damaged by sea storms and their situation have significantly deteriorated.

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