Mountain races in protected areas – EUROPARC Spain

Presentation of the "Guide to good practices for holding mountain races in protected natural areas". Photo by EUROPARC Spain.

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Last November, the President of EUROPARC Spain Carles Castell, and the president of FEDME (Spanish Federation for Mountain Sports and Climbing) Joan Garrigós, presented in Madrid the “Guide to good practices for holding mountain races in protected natural areas.

An innovative and collaborative initiative

This initiative, which has been led both by EUROPARC Spain and FEDME, counted with the support of the Barcelona Provincial Council, Andalusian Regional Government and Basque Government. In its preparation, over thirty relevant experts on this matter have participated, including natural areas directors and conservationists, mountain sport technicians, runners and usual participants in this type of races. The document has been published by the Fernando González Bernáldez Foundation and it is available in Spanish, English and Catalan.

The objective of this guide is to provide to organization bodies of mountain races, environmental administrations and race participants, with a set of orientation criteria to develop these kind of probes inside protected areas. The guide has been created to:

  • Improve the compatibility between mountain races and other sport activities, and natural and cultural heritage conservation in protected areas.
  • Minimize the environmental impacts associated to these type of activities.
  • Disseminate the heritage values present in protected areas, as well as the environmental and social services that they provide, especially among race organizers, runners and other sport amateurs.
  • Boost the local development on those territories where mountain races and other sport activities in natural areas are organized.

EUROPARC Spain and FEDME promote this pioneer initiative in Europe.

During the presentation, Carles Castell highlighted the “innovative and collaborative character of this initiative, which counted with the active participation of all the collectives, sectors and administrations involved. Furthermore, this experience conforms an exemplary case in tune with the basis of the Society and Protected Areas 2020 Programme promoted by EUROPARC Spain.

Following the presentation, a round table was held under the theme “Mountain races in protected areas: the challenge of balancing sport and conservation”, in which runners, sport federations, scientist and natural areas representatives participated. The debate offered an opportunity to address the problems generated by these type of races in some protected areas and discuss some proposals and solutions that are being carried out to solve them.

Download the Guide to good practices for holding mountain races in protected natural areas (ES) from EUROPARC Spain website or download the English version here.


Alfred Toepfer Natural Heritage Scholarships – Roberto Piccirilli

Torre del Cerrano MPA, Italy. Photo by R.Piccirilli.

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Every year,  the Alfred Toepfer Natural Heritage Scholarships (ATS) supports the work of young conservationist in protected areas across Europe. Roberto Piccirilli is one of the winners of the ATS 2015 and holds a Master degree in management and development of parks and natural areas by the University of Teramo.

During the last year, and thanks to the support offered by the ATS, Roberto has been working on the project Commonalities and differences between two Adriatic Marine Protect Areas. This project aims to increase the knowledge on management and development of Adriatic marine protected areas through the exchange of information and best practices between two MPAs, their human-environment and the efficient use of resources.

Commonalities and differences between two Adriatic Marine Protect Areas

Roberto talks about his experience and on how he developed the project:

This study was born from the idea of developing cooperation and collaboration between marine areas that exploit and live in the Adriatic Sea. The sea is one of the natural boundaries that need for greater adjustment concerning the exploitation and the maintenance of a marine ecosystem. In the Adriatic Sea, we currently have a huge presence of Marine Protected Areas and National Parks belonging to six different European states, mainly Italians and Croats. The analysis conerns two Adriatic parks:

The goal was to study and re-interpret the different methods used for the management of two Marine Parks that operate for the same purpose. As a preliminary action, I played a study activity on the regulations and the management plans of both marine parks in order to analyze the common issues related to human actions on the coastal environment and water.

As a first action, I spent a month in the Marine Protected Area Torre del Cerrano and 15 days in Brijuni National Park documenting the relationship of the parks with the local communities, stakeholders and the people who exploit the sea through fishing activities. The second part was important to acquire new knowledge on monitoring and research on the conservation of marine habitats and protected species; this concerns the exchange of information and best practices on the conservation of species in common such as “Caretta caretta“, “Tursiops truncatus“, “Pinna nobilis“, habitats “1120 Posidonia Beds” and “1170 Reef “.


“Pinna nobilis” over Posidonia bed at Brijuni National Park, Croatia. Photo by R.Piccirilli.

The last action was to compare both of these realities. Once the commonalities had be identified, I tried to develop new actions and updated the existing projects as GeoCetus, TurtaLife, AdriaPAN Network to increase the networking and create a partnership between these two marine parks. Bearing in mind the different geo-natural place, the different tourism use and the different fishing techniques, I tried to develop the actions that could be interesting to be applied in a project between the two Marine Parks despite the many differences that do not always allow you to apply a method in common.

This testifies the need to develop a networking, which includes more marine realities to have a better chance of interpreting the problems and solutions. On the other hand, there is the need to justify the cultural diversity of people and marine species along all the coast and countries of the Adriatic Sea. The report can become very important in creating an information and management database on types of marine protected areas in the Adriatic Sea – Roberto Piccirilli-.

Read whole report of Commonalities and differences between two Adriatic Marine Protect Areas in our website.

Green infrastructures Barcelona – 3rd cross-sectorial advisory council meeting

Working at the periurban/ metropolitan scale. Colour stickers were used to highlight different ecosystem services.

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Cross-sectorial Advisory Council on Green Infrastructures in Barcelona, Spain

In the framework of the OpenNESS project (Operationalisation of Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services), a cross-sectorial Advisory Council was established in Barcelona in 2014. This council gathers representatives of the local and regional administration, sectorial agencies, universities, associations and NGOs, with the goal of networking and sharing ideas to promote the deployment of the Green Infrastructure in the Barcelona Metropolitan Region, one of the most densely populated urban areas in Europe (approx. 5 million inhabitants in 3.242 Km2).

The Cross-sectorial Advisory Council on Green Infrastructures (GI) gathers professionals from different sectors to promote the deployment of GI in Barcelona Metropolitan Region.

Since then, FEDENATUR (and now on EUROPARC) has formed part of this platform, which meets on an annual basis. This platform brings together professionals from different knowledge, background and responsibilities. Land planners, architects, environmentalists, biologists, farmers and researchers, among others, share their visions on ecosystem services and green infrastructure.

These meetings are conducted by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA) of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) in collaboration with the Department of Territory and Sustainability of the Barcelona Provincial Council (Diputació de Barcelona).

3rd meeting of the cross-sectorial advisory council

Last 16th of December 2016, the Barcelona Metropolitan Region on green infrastructure cross-sectorial advisory council celebrated its 3rd meeting, which was split in two parts.

During the first one, Erik Gómez-Baggethun from Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, presented the main results from the OpenNESS project. Carles Castell from the Barcelona Provincial Council, and  Joan Pino and Corina Basnou from the CREAF – Ecological and Forestry Applications Research Centre, presented last updates on ecosystem services mapping and green infrastructure in Barcelona province.


Putting in common of all three scales analysis: urban, metropolitan and territorial.

Besides, a team from the Barcelona Metropolitan Area presented an overview of the Metropolitan Urban Master Plan methodology of work and also of the Special plan for Collserola Natural Park, which should be approved by the end of next year.

A practical workshop on Green Infrastructure (GI) challenges followed. Participants were assigned, according to their background, to one of three working groups (urban, metropolitan and territorial). The aim was to identify and prioritise what would be the strategic GI elements for Barcelona- at these three different scales – based on the Ecosystem services that these GI elements would yield.

More information about the cases and the tools and methods used in the OpenNESS project can be found on Oppla:

Conference – National Parks in Czech Republic 2016

Podyji National Park, Czech Republic © Park Archive

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On the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Podyjí National Park and Šumava National Park, over 150 participants gathered in Prague for the “National Parks Conference 2016”.

The purpose of the conference was to present and discuss the current state and future of national parks in Czech Republic, including the international context. So far, the four Czech Republic National Parks are all collaborating with their neighbouring Parks across the border, in the framework of the EUROPARC Transboundary Parks Programme – Following Nature’s Design.

Conference: National Parks in Czech Republic

What is the current status of National Park? What are the key challenges and goals? Is the current system of national parks representative enough? 

To discuss these questions, several experts were invited to share their perspectives and all presentations are now available in this link. We recommend you to give a closer look to the some presentations that were held in English:

The IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, made by Andrej Sovinc from the WPCA

Download presentation

The Importance of National Parks in Germany, made by Karl Sinner from EUROPARC Germany

Download presentation

The Swiss National Park – Current state, the past and the future, by Ruedi Haller from the Swiss National Park

Download the presentation

The Conference was organised by the Ministry of Environment, the administrations of the Czech National Parks, the Faculty of Environment of the Czech Agriculture University (CAU) and Silva Tarouca Research Institute. The EUROPARC Central and Eastern Europe Section was one of the partners involved in the organisation.

For more information about the Czech National Parks Conference please contact directly Michael Hosek to europarc.cee @