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Project topic: Climate change

Project title: The Spanish firs move

Team: Los pinsapitos

IES Martín Rivero   Ronda   Spain   5 Student’s age: 14-15 years old

Research question

Why are Spanish firs moving to higher altitudes?

Summary of the project
EO Browser

According to a study carried out by the Universities of Granada and Córdoba, the Spanish firs of the Serranía de Ronda are registering a movement towards higher altitudes to avoid their extinction.
In this project, we have used a website called EO Browser and collected satellite images from 2015 to 2022 and compared them with each other. We have analyzed an area of Abies Pinsapo in Ronda called Cañada de las Ánimas. We believe that this situation is related to the climate since this tree (the Abies Pinsapo) is a species in danger of extinction in Spain and, as is known, global warming is responsible for the alteration of the phenological cycles. (A phenological cycle is the life cycle of a plant)
In this project we want to check if there really is a displacement of the Spanish firs towards greater heights and, if so, make some proposals that justify this movement.

Main results and Conclusions
Cañada de las Ánimas (Ronda)

The results that we have obtained after comparing images from 2015 and 2022 are the ones that appear. All these results were obtained from Sentinel 2, using the agricultural composition filter. This compound uses shortwave, near-infrared, and blue infrared bands to monitor crop health (this filter is activated using sensors B11, B08 and B02). Both shortwave and near-infrared bands are particularly good at highlighting dense vegetation, which appears dark green in the composition. Crops appear in vibrant green and bare land appears in magenta.
We have appreciated that from 2015 to 2022, 3 hectares of Spanish firs have disappeared in this area, mainly north and south. In theory, the Spanish firs should be migrating to the north, but no, they are going to the southeast, where there are higher areas. If you go there, to the Cañada de las Animas, you will see that in the lower areas there are many firs that are dying and rotting, while in the higher areas new firs are emerging.
(These photos were obtained thanks to the Sentinel 2 of the EO Browser website, and the use of an agriculture filter, whose function is to differentiate between dense vegetation and extensive vegetation, this filter is activated using sensors B11, B08 and B02)
The conclusion that we obtained after having investigated with the tools mentioned above is that we can observe some slight changes, and it is planned, in the near future, to observe this area again to see if the problem persists, and if that is the case. , see the changes that the area has undergone. That is, we will take photos of the area again in a few years, and compare them with photos, whether from 2022, 2016 or even older.

What’s Next? Actions to make a difference and help lessen the problem
Abies pinsapo

This problem is quite important since we are talking about the term global warming. We downplay it because it’s not close to our environment, or it doesn’t affect us, but this project is a sign that the problem is real. And it is very close to us. Today the victims of global warming are the Spanish firs, and tomorrow who knows, perhaps it will be the lynxes that are in danger of extinction, or the olive trees, which would seriously affect the Spanish economy.
There are many ways to combat global warming, such as reducing emissions of gases that are harmful to the atmosphere, using more other types of healthier transport, betting more on renewable energies, etc. And regarding the problem of the loss of Spanish firs, one solution would be for the administrations to invest money in a large Spanish fir plantation.
The measure that we consider most effective is to become aware of the need to protect and save nature.

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