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Testing innovative Ecosystems’ Management Measures in IMPRECO Protected Areas: the Pilot Action Plans

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Testing innovative Ecosystems’ Management Measures in IMPRECO Protected Areas: the Pilot Action Plans

September 20th, 2019|Activities|

The Pilot Action Plans of IMPRECO


Pilot actions at seven IMPRECO Protected Areas are the core of the project Common strategies and best practices to IMprove the transnational PRotection of ECOsystem integrity and services. With the help of transnational networking the IMPRECO main objective – to enhance the safeguarding of ecosystem services (ESS) and tackle their environmental vulnerability strengthening the potential of protected areas in biodiversity and ecosystems (ES) conservation – will be reached. 

The Protected Areas are located in five ADRION region countries: three in Italy (Isonzo Rivermouth Nature Reserve, Bosco Nordio Nature Reserve, Aquatina di Frigole), and one in Slovenia (Škocjanski zatok Nature Reserve), Croatia (Pakleni Islands), Albania (Lake Shkodra) and Greece (Northeastern Edge of Crete). Following the project working plan, each project partner prepared the Pilot action Plan for the activities, aiming to improve the state of ES and/ or ESS in the Protected Area being responsible for. Another important aspect of IMPRECO project in the involvement of the local stakeholders, identified through quadruple helix approach, of each Protected Area forming Joint Task Force with Protected Area managers into the preparation, adoption and evaluation of each pilot action. This leads to the community based management system, where the commitment and capacities of quadruple helix actors to tackle threats on ecosystems and apply measures for their management and safeguarding will be increased.

What are the pilot actions about?

The special focus of the partners was put on the so-called cultural ESS (the services and products that natural ES provide to recreational, aesthetic, cognitive and spiritual activities), their benefits and use, as well as related problems and conflicts. That’s why the majority of the IMPRECO Pilot actions is tackling recreational, educational and tourism activities within the Protected Areas, as well as the impacts coming from the local use of Protected Areas’ resources, such as handicraft and agriculture in the Shkodra Lake in Albania.

The Municipality of Staranzano has focused its pilot action on balancing trade-offs between cultural  ESS and regulation and maintenance (biotic) ESS in the marine ecosystems of the Isonzo Rivermouth Nature Reserve. Among many pressures in the marine part of the nature reserve, the pressures from boating and kite-surfing activities were identified as the most crucial ones, therefore the pilot action is aimed to reducing them. A set of relevant tasks was identified, such as development of behavioral code for both groups, implementation of education and awareness-raising campaigns, as well as development of the app for smart phones and watches to promote the behavioral code among the users. The main stakeholders involved are local boating and kite-surfing associations, as well as tourism organisation helping in promotion of the behavioral code among tourists.

Veneto Agricoltura with their stakholders are aiming to translate and deliver the concept and value of biodiversity conservation and nature experience with the artistic language which is more direct and intuitive by creating land art path and pieces in Bosco Nordio Nature Reserve, called Bosco Nordio Artenatura. The path, selected and designed in the less sensitive area of the reserve, is precisely targeted for the minimization of human impact on flora and fauna. Eight land art pieces were selected through the open call, created by the artists. The tourist guides were trained to lead the visitors along the path, which has already been inaugurated and advertised, and is open to the visitors.

University of Salento and their stakeholders are dealing with awareness-raising and valorisation of coastal biodiversity and habitats in the Natura 2000 site Aquatina di Frigole with the aim of effective safeguarding of the protected area, low-impact fruition of the ecosystems as well as conservation and valorisation of the coastal ecosystems, natural heritage and biodiversity. Upon previous analysis they decided to focus on the promotion and implementation of sustainable watersport and recreational activities inside the protected area which will be restricted to nature paths purposely designed to respect local biodiversity and habitats, as well as designing coastal nature path according to the spatial distribution of the protected species such as Pinna nobilis, organising photo exhibition of the alien species, and the garbage cleaning campaigns in the area promoted through social networks and local news to reach local citizens at a broader level.

DOPPS-BirdLife Slovenia is aiming to improve understanding and nature experience of Škocjanski zatok Nature Reserve visitors, considering the challenges of a nature reserve in an urban setting. The objective of the pilot action is to diminish the existing pressures on ES and ESS caused by the visitation of Škocjanski zatok NR, eliminate or substantially reduce the identified conflicts and  improve the nature experience in the area, which is an important driver of the behavioural change. Within the Škocjanski zatok Joint Task Force they decided to include a series of activities, from funny and atractive physical as well as live interpretation and direct meetings to positively influence visitors’ behaviour, to new (including 3D) interpretation and didactical tools to improve their nature experience. Also a set of other activities with their stakeholders is involved to reduce the urban pressures on the area, including noise reduction, promoting of sustainable mobility and better use of reserve visitor facilities.

Public institution Sea and Karst and their stakeholders are working on raising visitor awareness on Pakleni Islands’ protected natural values, especially its marine ESS and the needed conservation due to the damage caused by improper visitors behavior in the protected area. Their main tool is an IT management platform consisting of the website and application for Pakleni Islands as well as notice boards with rules and regulations for visitor behavior to be set in the protected area. Pakleni Islands, even though a valuable protected area, is characterized by high pressures caused by touristic flows which undermine the conservation of marine ecosystems and the related services which are not managed by proper tools yet. Besides raised awareness, their pilot action will result in clear recommendations for the fruition of the area based on the conservation of the natural values and the results of the community-based management, involvement of the visitors in protected species monitoring with so called »Have you seen it« application and also the transfer of the project best practices through the e-learning platform, which will be hosted on this website.

Based on most important pressures on Lake Shkodra ecosystems, the Albanian Development Fund with their stakeholders decided to focus the pilot action on creating a database of the handicraft producers (mini-enterprises) in Lake Shkodra area with the purpose of eco-tourism sustainable development in the area and reducing of pressures on the use of natural resources. They will work with the local handicraft producers in order to provide eco-tourism offer and help them improve their marketing. On the other hand, they will promote reduction of the chemicals used in agriculture around Lake Shkodra through introducing and developing capacities for organic and traditional farming in the area. The target Group of Farmers within or around Lake Shkodra will be selected who will be trained and educated about organic farming, analyzing also the long-term environmental and economic benefits of organic farming.

With the protection and awareness raising on the threatened species, habitats and ESS of the Northeastern Edge of Crete, the Region of Crete is working on limitation of coastal erosion, improved conservation of the threatened species and habitats and increase of public awareness. Their approach will target the specific interest groups who either cause the most important pressures or can contribute to their reduction. The management measures to improve habitats or prevent their degradation as well as prevent damages to Posidonia meadows will be identified. Behavioral code will be developed based on the above-mentioned measures, and presented to final users, e.g. hotel owners, tourists, fishermen and also printed on the map and notice boards, showing the points of interest for touristic activities. The material will be used for the preparation of an ecotourism guide of the pilot area, which will be disseminated to the target groups. Region of Crete will work closely with the new Natura 2000 area management body and other stakeholders to achieve the planned results.

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