How can the eNatura2000 app benefit you?

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We can tell you how great the eNatura2000 app is, but why not hear it directly from an end-user? That is why LIFE project partner ELO interviewed Valerie Vandenabeele. Find out why she likes to use the app:

Tell me about your organization?

My Organization, Aanspreekpunt Privaat Beheer – Natuur en Bos, was established by the Flemish Landowners’ Organization and Forestry Groups to join forces between policy and management in the field. On the one hand, we represent the private landowners and land managers in policy debates and towards government. On the other hand, we are the focal point that inform and communicate difficult and entwined policy as practically as possible to our stakeholders.

What is your background with Natura 2000?

I have been employed 10 years, by the Flemish Hunters Organization and the Flemish Landowners Organization, to follow up on the Natura 2000 project in Flanders. My initial role was to represent both hunters and landowners in the Natura 2000 debates on Flemish as well as local scale, inform local hunters and landowners of Natura 2000 and the possible impacts. I have learned about all the legislation that landowners come across to implement Natura 2000. We managed to solve some issues landowners face in the new Nature legislation that allowed subsidies for private natura management for the first time. Still, there are a lot of negative impacts that should be resolved to create more stimuli for private stakeholders. It is a good thing though, that Natura 2000 stands for multifunctionalities of nature, allowing economical and recreative activities. In Flanders, that is a necessary incentive allowing us to progress nicely so far.

What is your favorite feature of the app?

Personally, I like to check the webinars on the app that may give me some idea of the direction that policy is taking.

How do you think this app would be useful to Natura 2000 land managers?

Flanders is a highly populated region and somewhat a bit of a stranger in the classroom. For land managers, good examples are key to inspire them to develop their management plans. Unfortunately, we see a lot of examples that are large-scale nature restorations by nature NGO’s or governments. Landowners and even nature NGO’s don’t always have so much property at their disposition in Flanders. We must think at a smaller scale on land that is much more costly than in other EU countries. Some examples of small-scale implementation, for example puddles for amphibia or stepping stones and corridors between more intensely used land, could lower the threshold for many private land managers in Flanders.

It is great that there is such a forum to connect land managers all over Europe.

Even if Natura 2000 management in the raw nature of Slovenia is very different form the multifunctional and small-scale implementation in Flanders metropolitan area.

The eNatura2000 app is available in the Google Play & App Store and was developed within the LIFE (or for short) project.