Operational Potential of Ecosystem Research Applications
Hybrid dunes fall within the framework of the OPERAs European research project, an initiative that focusses on the services that natural spaces provide residents and other users. The project's aim is to create management strategies for urban dunes, employing multi-functional actions that appeal to the ecosystem services that urban dunes provide.
It is important that dunes are able to withstand the intensive use that citizens make of beaches. For this reason, it is important to understand the ecological processes associated with dunes and to learn how best to interact with them. This means taking into account the ecosystem services offered by dunes: the flora and fauna they host, their value to the landscape and the fact that they protect the coast from storms.
The project's activities have centred on the use of machines to rebuild dunes that were stable but that had suffered a large degree of deterioration due to invasive plants and the presence of ruderal species. In addition to the removal of this kind of damaging plant life, more than 2,000 plants that are native to dunes have been planted. In order to protect the most complex areas, more than 200 meters of rope and a series of wooden posts have been used to mark out vulnerable spaces. In order to raise awareness of the value of these urban spaces, 56 informational panels have been placed in the areas where work in being done, and digital tools have been used to create spaces for citizen participation and collaboration. The metropolitan programme for education on sustainability has also helped raise awareness by publicising the project.