Life programme


The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. The European Commission (DG Environment and DG Climate Action) manages the LIFE programme.

The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating, and development of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation by co-financing projects with European added value.

The LIFE programme will contribute to sustainable development and to the achievement of the objectives and targets of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the 7th Union Environmental Action Programme, and other relevant EU environment and climate strategies and plans.

LIFE began in 1992 and has co-financed environmental projects of the EU and other countries.

The LIFE Programme (2014–2020) has two differentiated priority areas and sub-programmes:

  • Environment

o Environment and resource efficiency

o Nature and biodiversity

o Governance and information

  • Climate Action

o Adaptation

o Mitigation

o Governance and information

For more information, see LIFE Europa.

“The LIFE Programme began in 1992.”


Natura 2000 Network


Natura 2000 is a network of core breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species, and some rare natural habitat types which are protected in their own right. The aim of the network is to ensure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats, listed under both the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive.

Natura 2000 is not a system of strict nature reserves from which all human activities would be excluded. While it includes strictly protected nature reserves, most of the land remains privately owned. The approach to conservation and sustainable use of the Natura 2000 areas is much wider, largely centred on people working with nature rather than against it. However, Member States must ensure that the sites are managed in a sustainable manner, both ecologically and economically.

Natura 2000 network is established by Habitats and Birds Directive, which design areas as Special Area Conservation (SAC) and Especial Protection Area (SPA).

In Catalonia, the list of included areas was proposed in 1997. These areas had been included previously in the Plan for Areas of Natural Interest (PEIN) and had already accomplished the criteria established in the Directives. Nowadays, there are 115 areas declared as Site of Community Importance (SCI) and 73 as Special Protection Area (SPA) in Catalonia.

For more information: Natura 2000.




The main objective of the project was the restoration of coastal ponds in the Ter Vell and the La . The predicted budget was 1159000 euros.

The beneficiaries were the , and University of Girona. Other contributors were the

As the problems identified in both ecosystems were different, the actions carried out differed between the two areas. The actions carried out in the Ter Vell tried to improve water quality, stop eutrophication, and stop excess nutrients from flowing into the pond. The actions carried out were as follows:

During project execution, a series of studies were developed to evaluate the effects of all activities on the ecosystem. The project also included a series of actions to improve recreation options such as developing walking itineraries, and education and entertainment programmes.

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  • Drainage of the pond in those areas where high levels of organic matter were detected
  • Elimination, by absorption, of high quantities of mud found in the deepest parts of the pond
  • Construction of artificial wetlands in order to control the influx of nutrients into the pond

The main tasks carried out in La Pletera were to improve the conservation state of vegetal sand dune and marshland communities, and to ensure the conservation of the Iberian toothcarp, a fish in danger of extinction and only found in the Iberian Peninsula. The actions carried out were the following:

  • Captive breeding of Iberian toothcarp
  • Creation of new perennial ponds in the La Pletera and later repopulations with Iberian toothcarp
  • Conservation of dune and marshland vegetation




The objective of the project was the habitat recuperation for the European pond turtle and other amphibians, specifically, establishing temporary or perennial freshwater wetlands, and, in consequence, restoring population numbers. The project had a budget of 1398300 euros.

The project was an initiative of the Councils of Torroella de Montgri and Pals. The other project participants were the EU, the Department for the Environment of the Government of Catalonia, Foundation Territory and Landscape, Diputació de Girona, Consortium of the Costa Brava, Local Council of the Baix Empordà, and the University of Girona. Land owners also took part by handing over poor agricultural lands with a high ecological value.

The main actions carried out were the following:

  • Recovery of natural enclosures and temporary flooded lands, in order to increase the total population density of existing amphibians. These lands can act as reservoirs, reducing the risk of flooding in agricultural and urban lands.
  • Restoration of Basses d’en Coll and surrounding areas, at the time occupied by rice fields. The main objective was to improve the ecological conditions and establish a transition zone, formed by humid areas in which reeds predominate, between the ponds and the rice fields.
  • Restoration of bank forests and related ponds, and reintroduction of pond turtles. In these environments, until the 1980s, pond turtles could easily be found, but they disappeared due to habitat degradation. The project aimed to restore these areas and create new ponds. Once the habitat has been restored, turtles will be reintroduced. For the past few years, the Turtle Breeding Centre (Centre de Reproducció de Tortugues) in Albera has successfully bred pond turtles in captivity. The centre has turtles captured in the Ter area, so descendants of native turtles will be reintroduced to the area.
  • Capture of turtles form other continents, mainly the Florida turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans). The turtles bought in pet shops and later abandoned by their owners compete with indigenous turtles and end up displacing The project includes recapturing these turtles and organising workshops to make people aware of the problem and stop the indiscriminate release of these specimens.
  • Organization of accesses and usage of the area to stop ecosystems’ degradation.

For more information: LIFE EMYSTER

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