Better Protection for Europe's Nature Conservation Areas – What Can the European Union Do?
European protected areas such as national parks and biosphere reserves face ever new challenges from both man-made changes and, above all, climate change. “Management and protection strategies need to be adapted accordingly – but empirical experience and recommendations for action have so far been lacking. HABIT-CHANGE seeks to fill this gap,” as the project director Marco Neubert explains. Since 2010, research has therefore been undertaken across national borders, tools have been elaborated, for example a system for monitoring changes in habitats, and management plans that take climate change into account. A total of seventeen partners are involved from Central and Eastern Europe – including protected area administrative bodies, nature conservation authorities, and research establishments. Marco Neubert reports that “the exchange of experience among partners has proved to be especially important. Over and over again, differences in perspective have led to new solutions for individual protected areas.” In protecting habitats and biological diversity, however, local actors have to rely on the support of the political level. This is why HABIT-CHANGE is presenting its findings and recommendations for the EU level on 5th March in Brussels. “We want to show what tools and framework conditions already work well and should therefore be expanded,” says project coordinator Sven Rannow. “But we will also be showing what documents, financing instruments, and training programmes are still lacking, what gaps in knowledge need to be filled by further research.” The project partners will have prominent support at the presentation in Brussels. The main speaker will be the Director General for Environment, Karl Falkenberg from the European Commission. Project partner practitioners and scientists will also have their say. The HABIT-CHANGE project is sponsored within the framework of the European Union INTERREG IV B Central Europe programme. After the second round of tendering, HABIT-CHANGE and 36 further projects took up work. Four of them, including HABIT-CHANGE, were judged to be particularly valuable and received additional funding. The Project on the Internet: www.habit-change.eu
Austria, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Ukraine