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Eurosite Magazine: Issue 1

Eurosite Networking for nature Issue 1

Krkonoše National Park Visits Kampinos National Park Spotlight on: Samaria National Park Management Body Natura 2000 Biogeographical Process, LandLife, News, Events, and more!

Eurosite Magazine: Issue 1

Cover image: Samaria National Park Š Samaria National Park

Copyright Š Eurosite Reitseplein 6 5037 AA Tilburg The Netherlands

This publication has been made possible with funding from the European Union. The sole responsibility lies with the author - the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein. 1

Eurosite Magazine: Issue 1

Contents Meet our new staff members


Natura People workshop


The New Biogeographical Process


Spotlight on: Samaria National Park 


Linnansaari National Park posted around the world


Healthy Seas turns fishing nets into socks 


Krkonoše National Park visits Kampinos National Park 


Eurosite events




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Eurosite Newsletter


Eurosite Magazine: Issue 1

Meet our new staff members

Jaume Tormo is our new Network Project Manager. He joined Eurosite in March. Jaume is originally from Spain and has a PhD in Restoration Ecology from the University of Valencia. Prior to starting at Eurosite, Jaume worked as a researcher at the Universidad de Alicante. Jaume will be co-ordinating a range of projects for Eurosite.

Naomi Racz joined Eurosite as our Junior Project Officer in April. She is originally from the UK and has an MA in Nature Writing. Naomi has previous experience in social media and copywriting and will be maintaining Eurosite’s network communication tools, including the website, email, and social media. What do you like to do in your spare time?

What do you like to do in your spare time? I like growing plants. I have never had a garden, so I can only grow them in pots.

Blogging about nature, spending time in nature, going for long cycle rides, reading (mostly books about nature!).

Where is your favourite nature spot?

Where is your favourite nature spot?

The Scots pine forests of the Spanish mountains. There you can smell the scent of pines in the dry mountain air and enjoy the true silence of nature.

Flevopark in Amsterdam. It’s much quieter than some of the more touristy parks in the centre of Amsterdam and I’ve spotted some amazing birds there including a buzzard, a kingfisher and a pair of white storks.

What is your favourite animal? What is your favourite animal? Well, I am a botanist, but if I had to choose, I love all those invertebrates that crawl in the mud or plant litter and keep nature working. If you have any questions for Jaume, you can email him at:


Birds, of any variety! If you have any questions for Naomi, you can email her at:

Eurosite Magazine: Issue 1

Natura People workshop On 2-3 April Eurosite participated in the Natura People project workshop, which we co-organised along with the partners of the Natura People project: Minsmere in the United Kingdom (RSPB), Zwin Nature Reserve in Belgium (Province of West-Flanders) and Waterdunen and Grevelingen reserves in the Netherlands. The project was funded by the Interreg IVa 2 Mers Seas Zeeën Programme. During the last few years the partners have been sharing knowledge on Natura 2000 sites: their economic value, how to integrate them with local economies, how to develop them in a sustainable way, how to establish transnational networks among them and how to engage people and

At a European level, Sylvia Barova (DG Environment, European Commission) talked about the initiatives taken by the European Commission to engage people in nature conservation. Irene Bouwma and Dana Kamphorst (Alterra, the Netherlands) provided a number of examples of citizen engagement and different engagement tools across Europe. Katrien Van der Biest (University of Antwerp) delivered a presentation in which she provided a strong argument for finding support for nature conservation based on the economic value of ecosystem services. Along similar lines, Paul Morling (RSPB) gave a clear, accessible overview of the economic issues of nature conservation.

“Can we engage people in nature conservation? Yes we can! That is what I learnt in this workshop. Exchanging great ideas about locally implemented good practices also made the workshop fruitful. May thanks for opening my eyes once more!” - Aysegul Cil improve the visitor experience. The workshop was aimed at showcasing the knowledge and knowhow the partners have generated through their collaboration and provided an opportunity to integrate ideas from other countries around Europe. 36 people from across Europe attended the meeting, including attendees from Belgium, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom. The programme included a series of talks about engaging people in nature conservation at different levels. At the nature reserve level, Kazimierz Rabski and Malgorzata Torbé from the Society for the Coast talked about the management of the Odra Delta Nature Park in Poland. At a municipality level, Jaap Verherbrugge discussed the engagement of the public in the creation of Waterdunnen-Groede nature reserve and how the perception of the locals changed through time.

During the field trip to the Zwin Nature Reserve (Knokke-Heist, Belgium) the attendants had the opportunity to visit the reserve, guided by local experts. Later, a series of live demos showcased several tools that can be used to improve the visitors experience, from a mobile, pedal car laboratory equipped with microscopes to the newest tablet applications. Perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of the Natura People workshop was the diverse origin of the attendants, which made it possible to learn how different countries are engaging people in nature conservation. Overall, the response was very positive and the workshop attendants went away with new tools and ideas to implement and an increased awareness of people engagement techniques. The workshop report will be published in June. 4

Eurosite Magazine: Issue 1

The New Biogeographical Process improved management and conservation of these habitats. The main objective of the Process is to enable Member States and expert stakeholders to work together to improve or maintain the favourable conservation status of priority habitats and, in this way, help Member States to achieve progress towards the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy targets. How does the process work? In total, there will be five Natura 2000 Seminar Processes, covering either an individual biogeographical region or a group of regions. The regional groupings are: Boreal; Atlantic; Alpine; Mediterranean and Macaronesian; and Continental, Pannonian, Steppic and Black Sea. What is the New Biogeographical Process? The headline target of the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy is: Halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, and restoring them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss. The Natura 2000 network has a key role to play in achieving this target. Whilst responsibility for the management and restoration of specific Natura sites lies with the individual Member States, the viability of the Natura network relies on the network being able to operate as a coherent whole, as well as on areas that lie outside the network. To facilitate cooperation and networking between the Member States, the European Commission launched the Natura 2000 Seminar Process in 2011. The Process aims to identify priority habitat types and bring together experts, authorities, NGOs and site managers in order to capture and exchange knowledge and develop practical steps for the 5

There are several key actors and organisations involved in the process: the European Commission, the European Environment Agency and the European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity (ETC/BD). These organisations, together with a Lead Country and representatives from each of the region’s Member States, form the Steering Committee. The Process begins with the ETC/BD drafting a prescoping document, which outlines a first selection of habitat types of interest in the region and ranks them according to their conservation status. This document is then discussed at a meeting of the Steering Committee and the habitat types that the Steering Committee would like to focus on are then selected. Consultation with site management experts and habitat specialists provides information on the habitat types, including the conservation status, pressures and threats and management methods, as well as a list of case studies. This information is used to select a set of themes specific to individual habitat types, as well as themes cutting across different habitat types. These are outlined in the Seminar Document, which is then discussed during the Kick-off or Review Seminar.

Eurosite Magazine: Issue 1 One of the habitat groups selected for the focus of the Atlantic process was heaths and bogs and within this habitat type, nitrogen deposition was identified as a priority issue. A number of the actions for this issue have now been carried out. For instance, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee also organised a knowledge-sharing workshop, on behalf of the UK government, with support from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. The workshop, which was held in Peterborough, UK in December 2013, looked at the impact of nitrogen deposition on the conservation status of Natura 2000 sites and the wider landscape. A report will be published in 2014. Atlantic Seminar © ECNC The Seminar is a key milestone in a continuing process of networking, information sharing and knowledge building. It brings together Member States and experts – including nature conservation experts, scientists and NGOs – with practical management experience of each of the habitat types, in order to discuss and agree on a list of actions for their improved management. A Seminar Report is then compiled, which summarises the identified problems, solutions and actions. What progress has been made so far? So far, the Boreal, Atlantic, and Alpine seminars have taken place and Seminar Reports are now available on the Natura 2000 Platform. One of the actions agreed upon during the Boreal Seminar was to exchange experience and knowledge between Member States that would help towards achieving the region’s Natura 2000 conservation objectives. To facilitate this networking a Baltic Sea regional conference on farmland biodiversity was held in Tartu, Estonia in November 2012. The conference looked at the issue of agricultural biodiversity and the balancing of increased farm profitability with the preservation of natural resources. The conference was followed by a seminar on the restoration of raised bogs, fens and other mire habitats that have been damaged by drainage. The seminar was held in September 2013, again in Estonia.

What next? The Seminar Process for each region will be repeated every five years, which means that the intervening years are very important. Ad-hoc expert meetings will be held in between the seminars to discuss specific issues, as well as follow-on networking events and seminars, such as the ones that have already taken place in the Boreal and Atlantic regions. The Natura 2000 Platform will also facilitate networking. Launched in 2013, this web-based resource underpins the face-to-face networking and provides information about upcoming events, as well as reports and documents from previous events. Currently still in an early stage of development, the Platform will become a vital source of information for Natura 2000 practitioners throughout Europe.

Alpine Seminar © ECNC 6

Eurosite Magazine: Issue 1

Š Samaria National Park 7

Eurosite Magazine: Issue 1

Spotlight on: Samaria National Park Can you tell me about some of the nature management issues that you face at Samaria and what you are doing to tackle them? The National Park of Samaria is an area involving several variables, some of them in relative contrast to each other, but all of them need to co-exist and be sustainable. Take, for example, all the issues arising from visitor management. There are 150,000 Antonios Barnias (far left) with volunteers © Samaria National Park visitors per year to the park’s Core Zone Antonios Barnias is a project coordinator for the – the Gorge of Samaria – alone. At the same time Management Body of the Samaria National Park in these issues need to be brought into harmony with Greece. Naomi Racz caught up with Antonios to find environmental protection and management, espeout more about his role and the Management Body’s cially in environmentally sensitive areas. Also, the current projects. entire park, besides the Core Zone, which is well defined and regulated, is home to medium to large Can you tell me a bit about your role with the local communities, carrying out economic activities. Management Body of Samaria? This means that environmental preservation issues and local and traditional activities must be balanced. I am the project coordinator for the sub-projects and How all of these interactive, parallel or sometimes activities carried out within the framework of the contrary variables come together and form a stable Operational Program “Environment and Sustainable “structure” is a matter that we take very seriously Development”, funded by the EU and the Greek and try to harmonise with intense field presence, government’s Ministry of Environment, Energy constant awareness raising, elaboration of studies and Climate Change. This project is divided into aimed at locating solutions to specific problems, and sub-projects containing actions like infrastructure constant training of the staff. development, such as paths, warden posts, and signs; monitoring of terrestrial and marine-coastal habitats How do you raise awareness of and engagement and species; environmental law enforcement; with the park and nature amongst the public? awareness raising; visitor monitoring; volunteering and more. The project is so variable that “a typical We use a lot of Internet resources, like the website. day” basically does not exist. Add to that that the We’ve also recently installed several information Management Body is also involved in other projects signs at various locations on the external boundaries besides this one, like annual projects funded directly of the National Park, with each of the signs covering by the Greek Government through the Green Fund or topics like water resources, rare flora species of the projects funded directly by EU organisations. Park, mammals of the Park, and special landscapes. 8

Eurosite Magazine: Issue 1 The signs also inform visitors and locals that the area they are entering is protected. Every year we have at least one theme-oriented workshop. Volunteering, which we started 3 years ago, tends to be a powerful tool, especially with younger people. We started with 3 volunteers and now there are more than 50 during the summer season. There are two Information Centres located at the entrance and exit of the Core Zone, with information available regarding the environmental elements of the park. But the most tangible and direct measure is to keep a constant presence in the protected area and a stable on-site communication strategy with the local residents, who are the most frequent “consumers” of the park’s landscape.     Can you tell me a bit about your educational programme? Every year, mostly during the winter season from November to March, the staff of the Management Body visits schools located in the vicinity of the National Park in order to inform students about the National Park, the park’s management, the features characterising it and the need to preserve it. We aim mostly at © Samaria National Park schools in the vicinity of the park since these students will be the future “consumers” of the area. Also, we’ve recently renovated two short-distance paths around the Core Zone and near the entrance Information Centre, so that schools and environmental groups visiting the area can gain theoretical knowledge and practical experience at the same time.    How has your wild goat monitoring project helped in preserving the wild goat population? The wild goat monitoring project is part of the Operational Program “Environment and Sustainable Development”. There are three elements to the project: field monitoring by the scientific staff of the Management Body, who look at how many, where, when, in what habitat and so on the goats are; trail camera data collection and processing; and, lastly, aerial heli9

copter surveillance and monitoring. The wild goat is actually a difficult species in terms of monitoring. It is well camouflaged and avoids human contact. Nevertheless, despite all difficulties involved, the project is considered very helpful for the preservation of the wild goat since it aims to answer questions like how many wild goats there are, where they are located, what the main threats and pressures are and, most importantly, what we can do to sustain the population. The fieldwork carried out by scientists and the installation of trail cameras has also resulted in a notable reduction in illegal poaching for the first time in many years. What role do you see Samaria National Park playing in the wider Natura 2000 network? The National Park of Samaria is nowadays considered a “best practice” protected area in Greece. We believe that it plays and will keep on playing an important role, especially regarding the Natura 2000 network in Crete. The park is comprised of a series of elements like important and rare species of flora and fauna, important and rare habitats, intense visitor flow and traditional human activities. These factors coupled with firm and stable management, have led to the achievement of the primary goal of the Natura 2000 network, that is, the sustainable and functional co-existence of the natural and human elements. Can you tell me a bit about your anniversary year in 2012, what did you do to celebrate? 2012 was a milestone year for the National Park, as it marked 50 years since the original declaration of the area. To honor this we hosted three workshops on the value of the park. We also arranged a collaborative project, which brought together 30 photographers who explored the park with our assistance and then exhibited their works in the old harbor of Chania for a month. This exhibition is now being hosted in the Athens International Airport until the 31st August. 

Eurosite Magazine: Issue 1

Linnansaari National Park posted around the world On 5 May, the latest postage stamp in a series of Finnish stamps depicting national parks was issued. The stamp features a photograph of Linnansaari National Park, taken by the stamp’s designer Teemu Ollikainen. Linnansaari National Park is managed by Eurosite member, Metsähallitus. The park was established in 1956 and covers 96 square kilometers of islands and open waters in the middle of Lake Haukivaesi. It is particularly important because of its populations of Saimaa Ringed Seals and Osprey. The Linnansaari stamp is the fifth and final in the national park stamp series, which was launched in 2009. However, there is a long history of protected areas being depicted on Finnish stamps going back to 1947, when a stamp featuring the forested hills of Koli was issued. The stamp was designed by Signe Hammarsten Jansson, the mother of artist and writer Tove Jansson. © Itella Posti Oy, Finland

To find out more about the stamps, visit the Metsähallitus website. You can also purchase the Linnansaari stamp online.

Healthy Seas turns fishing nets into socks Plastic marine litter, or ‘plastic soup’, can now be found in every ocean on the planet. One-tenth of this plastic soup, equating to 640,000 tons of waste, is made up of fishing nets. These nets remain in the sea for hundreds of years and continue to capture and kill marine wildlife long after they have been abandoned. The Healthy Seas initiative – co-founded by Eurosite member ECNC, along with the Aquafil Group and Star Sock – aims to tackle this issue by turning waste fishing nets into new products. The process begins with the recovery of waste fishing nets from the Adriatic and North Sea by divers. As well as recovering already abandoned fishing nets, Healthy Seas is also working with fishermen, fish farms, and local communities, in order to prevent fishing nets from finding their way into the sea in the first place.

The recovered fishing nets are then transported to an Aquafil plant in Slovenia, and cleaned to remove organic, metallic and other plastic materials, before being turned into nylon yarn. The yarn produced by this process is known as ECONYL®, which is a trademark of Aquafil. ECONYL® can be recycled again and again, without any loss of quality. The final stage in the process involves the use of ECONYL® in a number of different products, including socks, swimwear, and carpets. The Healthy Seas initiative continues to grow with new partners and volunteers joining to help create a sea change and tackle marine litter. To find out more, visit the Healthy Seas website.


Eurosite Magazine: Issue 1

Krkonoše National Park visits Kampinos National Park By Viera Horáková and Jan Danyłow The possibility of visiting the Kampinos National Park occurred to us during the 2013 Eurosite AGM in Poland. At the AGM, our Polish colleagues from Kampinos gave a presentation about their experience with projects aimed at the restoration of the water system and the eradication of alien plant species. These topics are very similar to the problems that we are trying to solve at Krkonoše National Park. This

first impulse led to our short, but very inspiring visit to Kampinos National Park. We arrived on 12 March, late in the afternoon, and started our visit with a short walk on an education trail, guided by Marta – the scientific assistant. Marta presented us with basic information about Kampinos National Park and showed us the results of a project aimed at managing wet meadows and the protection of butterfly species. This project targeted several wetland butterfly species – including the scarce large blue, large copper, and marsh fritillary – and was implemented in four Polish Natura 2000 sites, among them “Puszcza Kampinoska”. The objective was to preserve the butterflies’ habitats, including the plants on which the larvae feed and, in the case of some species, the ants that play a vital role in the butterflies’ complex life cycle. In the years 2008-2009 the mowing of wet meadows, removing of shrubs, and other restoration actions were conducted. 11

On 13 March, we started the day by listening to three presentations about Kampinos National Park. In the first presentation, scientific assistant Jan Danyłow, described the general characteristics of Kampinos Forest. He emphasised that the park is located in the direct neighbourhood of the capital city of Warsaw and listed the natural (best preserved complex of inland dunes in Europe, approximately

70 species of plants and animals listed in the EU Habitats and Birds Directives), cultural (birthplace of famous composer Fryderic Chopin) and historical (cemetery in Palmiry) resources of this area. He then described the main threats to Kampinos National Park, such as the rapid urbanisation of the park’s buffer zone, private land within the park, the decline of water levels and invasive alien species. The second presentation was by LIFE+ technical co-ordinator Karol Kram. He spoke about the purchasing of private plots, especially focusing on the LIFE+ “Active KPN” project with a total budget of approximately €5.5m. The main objectives of this project are the buying of approximately 200 hectares of land and the implementation of restoration activities, such

Eurosite Magazine: Issue 1 as: mowing, removing of shrubs, foresting, selective planting of chosen species in order to support natural succession, eliminating alien species, and taking down buildings. Last to speak was scientific assistant Anna Andrzejewska. She described the historical and present hydrological conditions of Kampinos Forest and presented the objectives of the LIFE+ “Kampinos Wetlands” project. She strongly emphasized that any interference in the current drainage system of this area has to be very well planned in regard to potential social conflicts resulting from the risk of flooding of private properties. Afterwards we were shown the remaining parts of Kampinos National Park’s Education Centre, including a display showing the main ecosystems of the park with the linked flora and fauna. We spent the rest of the day travelling

in the area of Kampinos Natioanl Park. We visited nine localities, where we discussed presented projects in detail, including projects related to the management of meadows and wetland restoration. The locality of Palmiry was particularly impressive because of its clear link between history and nature. At Palmiry there is a memorial for the victims of the Second World War and it is very specifically connected to the silence of the surrounding wetlands and marshes. Viera Horáková works in the Nature Protection Department of the Krkonoše National Park administration. Her specialisations are botany, N2000 and wetland habitats. Jan Danyłow has worked for Kampinos National Park since 2003. He currently works in the park’s Science and Nature Monitoring

Team as a scientific assistant. Central image: (left to right) Václav Jansa, Viera Horáková, Andrea Svobodová, Anna Andrzejewska, Josef Harčarik, Tomáš Janata, Hana Šimonová and Karol Kram © Karol Karm. Other images (left to right): Education trail; Kampinos Forest; evening in Kampinos National Park © Josef Harčarik

Reflections “The project on wetland restoration and its monitoring was very inspiring, because we are preparing a similar project at Krkonoše National Park.” - Václav Jansa, Head of Department of Nature Conservation, Krkonoše “I was especially interested in the very different approaches to problem-solving (in comparison to our experiences). As an example, I can stress

an absence of urban planning, weak commercial pressure, and population moving to big cities versus acquisition of land. On the other hand, we also have very similar topics to solve, such as the public response to the regulation of the Łasica canal (flood versus people versus nature).” - Tomáš Janata, Agriculture and LIFE Manager, Krkonoše “First I want to point to the willingness of our Polish colleagues to show us as much as possible in a very short amount of time. I was impressed by the longterm management vision of Kampinos National Park, which has already been followed for a long time. At the same time I was very interested in the strict non-intervention areas, which are managed without any intervention (it should be natural, but I know how difficult it can be in protected areas).” - Josef Harčarik, Botany, Management and Abiotic Monitoring, Krkonoše 12

Eurosite Magazine: Issue 1

Eurosite events Realising the promise of ecosystem services for nature reserves 25-26 November 2014 Amsterdam, the Netherlands This workshop is being organised by the combined Eurosite and EUROPARC Federation working group. Who should attend? Site managers of nature reserves, decision makers at the head office of site managing organisations. How will you benefit? • Receive practical examples of where the ecosystem services concept has been successfully applied • Practice with a step-by-step approach to operationalise ecosystem services either at site or strategic level in your organisation • Exchange experiences with others who share your aims and are facing similar difficulties Cost & registration There are no costs for attending the meeting. Lunch and dinner will be provided. To register for the ecosystem services workshop, please complete the registration form. For further inquiries contact Hans Schiphorst, the chair of the working group: View the full workshop programme here.


Eurosite Magazine: Issue 1

LandLife Helpdesk

The Helpdesk is a forum for asking questions related to land stewardship. It is open to anyone with an interest in land stewardship – NGOs, landowners, farmers, and local authorities. Visit the Helpdesk now and have your land stewardship questions answered by a team of expert advisers. LandLife is also looking for more nature conservation experts to become Helpdesk advisors. If you are interested, please register on the Helpdesk website.

International Introductory Course on Land Stewardship This online course is aimed at students, volunteers, site managers, NGO staff, and anyone with an interest in land stewardship. The course consists of three modules, as well as a final debate in which participants will discuss what they have learnt during the course and the role of land stewardship in the management and conservation of nature. The course is in English. It will run from 15 September-30 October 2014. To find out more please email or visit the LandLife website.

Land: Quality of Life Video Contest Share your creativity and passion for nature by participating in the LandLife video contest. Your video should cover one of the following themes: Explain who you are and why you want to/are going to attend the Congress; What does land stewardship mean to you?; and What do you do for land/nature conservation? View the submission guidelines here. The deadline for entering is 1 September 2014. Prizes include free entry to the Congress.


Eurosite Magazine: Issue 1


Eurosite Magazine: Issue 1  

Issue 1 features an interview with Antonios Barnias, project coordinator for Eurosite member Samaria National Park; an article from Krkonoše...

Eurosite Magazine: Issue 1  

Issue 1 features an interview with Antonios Barnias, project coordinator for Eurosite member Samaria National Park; an article from Krkonoše...