Living together: coexistence between people and large carnivores – Outcomes

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 In the beautiful alpine landscape of the Prealpi Giulie Nature Park, a mountainous boundary for humans, but an important ecological corridor for wildlife, EUROPARC organised a three days networking seminar on large carnivores. The event has been a great success, with more than 80 participants from different parts of Europe. Today, we bring you the main outcomes of the Networking seminar.

Prevention, compensation, incentives, communication, education, information, monitoring, dialogue and learning exchange, are only few of the key words of this path, along which protected areas can play an important role.

Wildlife return: paving the way to Coexistence

If the return of wildlife in many parts of Europe is to be considered a success for nature conservation, it constitutes for many also a clear challenge, bringing new questions for local communities, farmers and breeders, hunters, local authorities, protected areas, conservationists, and many others.

The two extreme positions, well summarised in the recurring “or us or themargument, whoever pronounces it (farmers, hunters, breeders, conservationists or the large carnivores), won’t bring us far!

The attention should rather focus on coexistence. The perspective has to change to identify the new questions and propose adequate solutions.

Living together: building trust

The perception of people is an interesting indicator, and shows that the tolerance is lower where Large Carnivores have been absent for a long time. But, even if this may have an important impact, it cannot be the main driver for decisions. A priority is to ensure common and scientific based monitoring protocols, in order to have clear data for a more effective management of the species.

It is therefore crucial to base actions in this context on sound and scientific data, taking into account that most energies will then have to be dedicated to build trust with and among stakeholders and to deal with emotions and politics.

Many other aspects have to be considered as well:

  • ensure that the scientific research is functional for effective management;
  • the need to improve connectivity, to ensure enough space for wilderness and to plan and manage at a wider scale;
  • the role of protected areas and the implication of Large Carnivores presence in areas that are not under specific management/conservation regimes;
  • the relation between Large Carnivores and hunting and tourism sector… and much much more.

DINALP Bear Project

Solutions and good examples

Prevention and compensation measures are still crucial to support the work of farmers and breeders, and to promote coexistence. In some areas, the damages can be quite high as farmers and breeders are unprepared for the return of Large Carnivores that have been absent for so long. Costs for adapting zootechnics methods can become unsustainable if left only on the shoulder of farmers.

For this, Rural Development Programs are supporting specific measures for prevention in many countries (interesting cases from Trentino and Piemonte in Italy, and from RDP in Slovenia) and several LIFE projects have developed innovative methods and produced successful results. Among them:

LIFE WOLFALPS

Read the Case study

The WOLFALPS project aims to implement and coordinate wolf conservation actions in key core areas and beyond in the Alps ecosystem, from West to East, to further support the natural wolf alpine recolonization process, encompassing several Parks in Italy and Slovenia.

LIFE DINALP Bear

Read the Case study

Dinalp-Bear  A project that aims toestablish non-lethal solutions for coexistence with brown bear in northern Dinaric Mountains and the south-eastern Alps, encompassing 4 countries: Austria, Croatia, Italy and Slovenia. Project ongoing until 2019.

LIFE MedWolf

MedWolf Best practice actions for wolf conservation in  Mediterranean-type areas that took place in Italy and Portugal. Aiming to decrease the conflict between the wolf’s presence and human activities in rural areas, where cultural tradition of coexistence with predators has been lost.

Communication, awareness raising & education

Even if it is probably unrealistic to expect farmers and breeders welcoming the return of Large Carnivores, there are still ways to ensure a successful coexistence. Communication, awareness raising and education play an important role to ensure a better understanding of challenges and opportunities. The Junior Ranger programme and the Youth+ initiative promoted by the EUROPARC Federation can be useful to reach the young generation in protected areas.

Moreover, the organisation of learning exchanges among managers and farmers, the promotion of dedicated discussion platforms for stakeholders, the organisation of training sessions for teachers and journalists can be very effective. The province of Trento has, for example, developed an interesting dedicated communication plan on bears targeting different audiences.

The workshop has been once more an opportunity to strengthen the dialogue among different stakeholders and to share experiences and perspectives on a delicate issue. The workshop took place in the framework of the 2017 initiatives of the EU Platform for coexistence between people and large carnivores, with the kind support of ELO – the European Landowners Organization, the active engagement of the hosting Park and the expertise of the University of Udine and was framed within the Natura 2000 Biogeographical Process for the Alpine Region.

EUROPARC is keen to bring forward the discussion and to facilitate the organisation of more focused and thematic workshops on Large Carnivores in the near future. We would also like to take the opportunity to thank once more the speakers and the Prealpi Giulie Nature Park for hosting the event.

“A Taste of Nature” Recipes book

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In 2016, the European Day of Parks focused on the theme “A Taste of Nature” with over 300 activities being organised across Europe! We challenged Protected Areas to organise outdoor activities related to gastronomy. Several culinary workshops, show-cooking events with local and seasonal products, and guided tours on edible plants were organised. All over Europe, Protected Areas showcased the link between sustainable agriculture, and promoted their best organic and regional tastes of nature!

We challenged protected areas from across Europe to gather recipes of their best traditional tastes. The result comes alive today, 16th of October: The World Food Day.

A Taste of Nature: the recipes book

Download the full Recipes Book

Europe’s protected areas are composed of a variety of landscapes, embedded in cultural identity. Sculpted by nature and shaped by people, for most of Europe, protected areas are not museums of nature, but laboratories of living working landscapes. This book celebrates the strongest connection between people and the landFood!

On the World Food Day, we must remember the high importance of Sustainable Agricultural practices, that respect the environment and biodiversity whilst preserving cultural heritage. Traditional practices, regional products and ancient recipes: it is time to praise them! 

The book can be used digitally or printed in A4 format and folded.

As you tour the pages, you will discover parks from across Europe, sharing a selection of popular recipes using ingredients found locally in these protected areas. Some parks even sent us a film of their recipes! So tour on them or on our YouTube Playlist: Taste of Nature.

EUROPARC invites you to experiment with the different recipes and learn more about the protected areas and products involved in their preparation. Go and visit them for yourselves where you can truly enjoy and Eat the View!

This book is an initiative lead by EUROPARC Federation, with the support from Slow Food International and was only possible to contribution of the several parks. A warm thank you to all those who have shared their tastes with us!

Bon appétit!

Recipes playlist on youtube!

Every year, the EUROPARC Federation promotes the European Day of Parks. Created in 1999 by the Federation, ittakes place on and around 24th of May. It aims to bring people closer to nature and raise public awareness on the importance of the natural beauty preserved in Protected Areas and the importance of conservation and sustainable management of those places.

The 2016 edition was one of the most successful! It had a sound impact regional and national media – especially TVs and printed journals – and created a strong buzz on social media.

eCONSERVATION – who is funding what and where?

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The science and knowledge service of the European Commission – Joint Research Center (JRC) – just launched a beta version of a new tool to support your work: the eConservation platform.

This tool, in essence, is a huge database that works with an interactive map to help you getting an overview of biodiversity conservation projects funded by big public donors worldwide. Those donors include so far: European Union (so far LIFE project and DG International Cooperation and Development), World Bank, Global Environment Facility, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and other key multilateral and bilateral agencies.

You can simply browse for projects by their location, objectives, timeframe, budget, and the organisations involved. That way you can gather some valuable input for your own decision-making and find out about potential funding opportunities by big donors. The Conservation section of the tool might be of special interest to you: it provides global statistics focused on the World Protected Areas and you can analyze the connection between conservation projects and protected areas in terms of funding and action types.

Other than that – you might as well just browse this database for some inspiration for your own projects and for some ideas whom to network with.

When trying the tool just keep in mind that so far the database is still a prototype which means it is still in its test phase and not all donors and projects are displayed. In the near future, it will be extended step by step. So make sure you check it from time to time.

Have fun exploring: http://econservation.jrc.ec.europa.eu/

EUROPARC Transboundary Programme at the European Week of Regions & Cities 2017 

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Organised every year by the European Committee of the Regions to promote initiatives of local and regional authorities in Europe, the European Week of Regions and Cities 2017 is taking place from 9 to 12 October in Brussels.

 In the framework of the event, during the workshop Nature protection in cross-border areas, EUROPARC President Ignace Schops, illustrated the EUROPARC Transboundary Parks Programme and the TransParcNet, EUROPARC network of parks working across borders. Ignace shared good practices from the network, referring them as inspiration for Parks and Natura 2000 managers to better manage the challenges of biodiversity loss, climate change, as well as tourism, agriculture and local economy. Currently,  the TransParcNet includes 10 transboundary areas, involving 23 protected areas in 13 countries.

Among the speakers, also Mr Robert Stejskal, from the Podyji National Park (CZ) presented the cross-border cooperation with the Thayatal National Park in Austria, one of the TransParcNet members that have been cooperating since 2007. Read more about their cooperation here.

ignace schops

Ignace Schops at the Workshop Nature protection in cross-border areas, Belgium – Brussels – 10 October 2017 © European Union / Vincent Van Doornick

Download here the presentation of Ignace Schops. 

EU tools to promote cross-border cooperation

Mr  Andrè van de Nadort, on behalf of Mr Roby Biwer (Rapporteur for the fitness check on the Nature Directives from the Committee of Regions) and of Mr Nicola Notaro from the European Commission emphasised the importance for Europe to reinforce the “cross-border cooperation between neighbouring national or regional authorities in managing Natura 2000 sites which cover habitats that stretch across borders, or species which simply ignore borders.” For the EU representatives,

Cross-border cooperation becomes even more relevant if the conservation status of habitats and species on one side of a border depends on action taken on the other side of the border – just think of downstream river species and habitats.

During the workshop, EU instruments and tools that can help cross-border cooperation here mentioned, such as INTERREG and LIFE programmes and the European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) – that allows public entities from different Member States to come together under a new entity with a full legal personality. Indeed, EUROPARC members Alpi Marittime Regional Park (IT) and Mercantour National Park (FR) are using this tool. 

In the final remarks the EU representatives mentioned that the workshop has shown that cross-border nature protection can be a success, and is moreover crucial for the protection of many cross-border Natura 2000 sites and migrating species protected under the Nature Directives.

About the EU Week of Regions & Cities 2017

The European Week of Regions and Cities is an annual Brussels-based four-day event during which officials from regions and cities’ administrations, as well as experts and academics, can exchange good practices and know-how in the field of regional and urban development. It is also an acknowledged platform for political communication in relation to the development of EU Cohesion Policy, raising the awareness of decision-makers about the fact that regions and cities matter in EU policy-making. The European Week of Regions and Cities is the biggest European public event of its kind.

Useful Links

More info about the event

Pictures of the workshop