Improving the conservation effectiveness of wetlands

Acronym

WetMainAreas
Priority axis Environment
Specific Objective Biodiversity
Call 1st Call for Project Proposals
Lead Partner University of Forestry, Faculty of Ecology and Landscape Architecture
Partners "Macedonian" Academy of Science and Arts, Investigation Center for Environment and Materials
Goulandris Natural History Museum, Greek Biotope - Wetland Centre
Municipality of Gotse Delchev
National Environmental Agency
National Observatory of Athens
Region of Thessaly
South-West University "Neofit Rilski", Faculty of Economics
Observer Partners Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change
State Environmental Inspectorate
Budget 1.159.383,93

Wetlands are amongst the most threatened and fragile ecosystems worldwide. At the same time are recognizing as important landscape features for the NATURA 2000 network as natural water retention systems for WFD and Flood Directive, as auspices to climate change. On the tope of that they are recognizing for their services to human well being including provision of materials, mediation of extreme events, and cultural and aesthetic values. Balkan-Mediterranean territory shares natural environment of high biodiversity value including lake complexes, riverine systems and inland and coastal wetlands, many of which represent important archaeological and cultural heritage. Despite their importance, knowledge on Balkan Mediterranean wetlands is very limited and scattered and incomplete to support their protection (i.e by scientifically documenting their boundaries on maps) and conservation (i.e. by scientifically documenting their connectivity to protected networks).

The overall objective of the project is the protection, conservation and development of wetlands, as a shared asset of the Balkan Mediterranean (BalkanMed) territory. BalkanMed wetland ecosystems are biodiversity hotspots with significant natural and cultural values and with high potential for territorial development and cooperation, including ecosystem basis development, improvement of knowledge, know how exchange and capacity to take informed decisions with a positive impact on the whole territory. As such, the project serves directly to 2.1. SO “to take on the transnational challenge by promoting ecological connectivity and transnational ecosystems’ integration” and contributes significantly to the overall program’s objective for a more competitive and sustainable Balkan Mediterranean area.
The methodology involves 2 poles: (a) development of a common knowledge basis including mapping and creation of harmonized geospatial datasets and indicators, a database, and pilot studies on conservation techniques; and (b) activities to support the uptake of the common knowledge basis including development of guidance documents, training workshops, continuous interaction with users and stakeholders following the living lab approach for a joint strategy development, and publications for translating project findings into policy and priority actions. The WetMainAreas expected results contribute substantially to the BalkanMed programme and are directly linked to the result indicator “Expansion of ecological connectivity and transnational ecosystems’ integration of designated areas” with a target value of 3 568 225 ha. 
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