Country Infos

Country Profile Manager:
Jesús Barreiro-Hurle
European Commission - Joint Research Centre

LIFE in Common Land




The project aims at improving 3 priority habitats in the Special Area of Conservation “Serra do Xistral SAC” (Lugo, Galicia, Spain). It will develop indicators to measure the different Conservation Status and qualtiy of the three priority habitats for a favourable and unfavourable status. Based on these indicators it will set up a proposal for a Results Based Payment Scheme to be applied to areas under common management (Monte Vecinal en Mano Común) and Management Recommendations to maintain the priority habitats in a favourable conservation status, improve their condition when they are considered as unfavourable states, and even restore those that no longer present the elements to be considered as priority habitats.

Overview of the Serra do Xistral
Conservation indicators for Temperate Atlantic wet heaths

Location of the scheme

one region

Serra do Xistral boasts the most valuable ensemble of wet heathlands and bogs of the Iberian northwest in terms of biodiversity conservation, including a blanket bog complex unparalleled in all the European southwest. The heathland and bog habitat mosaic is subject to farming activities of a marked traditional nature, adapted to the strenuous conditions of northern Galicia mountain ranges. The SAC Serra do Xistral has witnessed the proven positive effect that low-impact farming practices, such as extensive cattle and pony grazing, have on vegetation diversity and structure. Besides, these semi-natural farming activities provide an instrumental "green" infrastructure for wildlife, essential to maintain the connectivity between natural and semi-natural ecosystems. The mountain range of O Xistral is characterised by extensive livestock grazing, which coexists with wild horses, commonly denominated "bestas" (beasts, in Galician). Giving continuance to the traditional ways of exploitation of these animals will favour habitat conservation, whilst simultaneously preserving a horse population endemic to the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula

Duration of the scheme

Since: 2017
Until: 2022

Objective(s) of the scheme / project

  • Biodiversity
  • Cultural heritage
  • Landscape amenities, including recreation, tourism

Which habitats or species are in the focus of the scheme / project?

  • Only habitats of FFH-D.

4020 Temperate Atlantic wet heaths with Erica ciliaris and Erica tetrali

7110 Active raised bogs

7130 Blanket bogs 

Which indicators are used?

  • Only FFH Habitats

Wet heaths (4020) - Vegetation structure; hebarceous-scrub ratio; gorse cover; fern presence; presence of alien tree species; eorsion and draiange status

Bogs (7110 and 7130): vegetation composition and structure; pine cover and density; presence of invasive species; erosion and drainage status.

Design of scheme / project

  • Stepwise increasing Result Based Payments

Based on the indicators selected the conservation status of the priority habitats will be evaluated in 2020, 2021 y 2022 in each of the participating common lands. In 2022 a single payment will be made based on the three evaluations. 

By which fund(s) is the scheme / project implemented?

  • LIFE

How are the incentives (payment levels) calculated?

  • Other

not specified

The payment level will be based on the available budget in the project. Curerntly the level of payments is not clear but will probably be based on achievement of results, efforts and area. The project aspires to include this payment scheme as part of the RDP for Galicia, for this the Departments of Agriculture and Environment have agreed to review the experience and , contingent on the succesful completion of the project, propose it as one of the agri-environment and climate measures.

Is there a top up in case of reaching the goals?

  • No

How many hectares are in the scheme?

  • 2.001 – 5.000

How many farmers take part in the scheme?

  • 101 – 500

How are participating farmers supervised/advised?

  • Advisors visits (optional)
  • Information documents (pamphlets, reports, etc.)
  • Website
  • Information meetings/workshops (voluntary)

The body responsible for signing the contract are not farmers individualy, rather the land communities as mangement bodies of a common land.

Are there any evaluation results?

  • No

From 2017 to 2020 most of the supporting activities have been undertaken (mapping of habitats, selection of indicators, definition of good and bad conservation status). Evalaution of conservation status are bien carried out and payments will be made in 2022.


Contact person

Ramón Alberto Díaz-Varela -

Universidade de Santiago de Compostela

Departamento de Botánica. GI-1809-BIOAPLIC. Escola Politécnica Superior

Campus Universitario s/n E 27002 Lugo


Tl. +34 982 822 482




Find details about habitats, indicators and management guidelines in the following pdf-document.