Navigation path

LIFE is the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout the EU. Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed some 4306 projects. For the 2014-2020 funding period, LIFE will contribute approximately €3.4 billion to the protection of the environment and climate. Read more >>

LIFE preparatory projects for the European Solidarity Corps call

Photo:LIFE12 ENV/FR/001125

03 May 2017Following the feedback received in response to the call launched on the 7th of December 2016, the Commission has decided to publish a second call for proposals to support the European Solidarity Corps (ESC). The scope of supported activities will be environmental protection, nature conservation and restoration of natural areas and ecosystems, mainly the Natura 2000 network. For this second call some requirements have been modified, e.g. the minimum number of volunteers to be engaged in the ESC is one hundred (100) and the execution period may last up to three years (36 months).

LIFE Preparatory projects to support deployment of European Solidarity Corps (sub-programme for Environment) contribute to strengthening the Union's capacity to provide volunteering services for young people across the European Union. It focuses mainly on conservation of Natura 2000 sites, environmental protection, restoration of natural areas and ecosystems and on capacity building on voluntary services among ongoing LIFE projects.


LIFE launches 2017 call for action grants: more than €373 million available

Photo: European Union

28 April 2017 The LIFE programme has launched its 2017 call for proposals, underlining its commitment to supporting projects that protect the environment and tackle the impact of climate change.

The total budget for project action grants in this year's call is over €373 million. Of this, over €290 million is foreseen for the sub-programme for Environment and over €82 million for the sub-programme for Climate Action. At least 55% of the budgetary resources allocated to projects supported by way of action grants under the sub-programme for Environment shall be dedicated to projects supporting the conservation of nature and biodiversity.

For the sub-programme for Environment, the call covers action grants for "Traditional" projects, Preparatory projects, Integrated projects and Technical Assistance projects.
For the sub-programme for Climate Action, this call will cover action grants for "Traditional projects", Integrated projects and Technical Assistance projects.


Celebrate 25 years of LIFE and the Habitats Directive


13 March 2017 This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the LIFE programme and of the EU Habitats Directive, both approved on 21 May 1992.

To recognise their major contribution to the preservation of Europe’s natural heritage, the European Commission together with the European Parliament, the Council and the Committee of the Regions will proclaim 21 May 2017 as ‘European Natura 2000 day’ at a special event in Brussels.




LIFE RE-WEEE holds Consultation Forum to help choose locations for WEEE Sorting Centres


19 May 2017The LIFE RE-WEEE (LIFE14 ENV/GR/000858) project held its 3rd Consultation Forum on 10 March 2017 to help choose two municipalities for its Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Sorting Centres, in the Greek regions of Attika and Central Macedonia.

LIFE RE-WEEE is demonstrating new approaches for the prevention and reuse of WEEE, including the development of efficient sorting and preparation for reuse methods. It aims to establish - for the first time in Greece - the foundations for the prevention of waste through systematic collection and re-use operations. The two new sorting centres will process a variety of WEEE, with the aim of increasing consumer acceptance of Used Electrical and Electronic Equipment (UEEE).


LIFE inspired European Natura 2000 Day officially recognised

Photo: EC Audiovisual Services

17 May 2017Following the signing of a joint declaration, the 21 May is now officially recognised as European Natura 2000 Day and will be celebrated annually.

The establishment of an annual day to celebrate Natura 2000 network – the largest network of protected sites in the world – and raise awareness of the importance of its conservation is the initiative of the Spanish LIFE project Activa Red Natura 2000 (LIFE11 INF/ES/000665).

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Brussels on the occasion of the declaration, Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime  Affairs  and  Fisheries commended the idea of European Natura 2000 Day, which “began as a grassroots initiative through an EU-funded LIFE project in Spain. I would like to pay tribute to the people who have worked hard to make this Day a reality.”

He added that, "with the European Natura 2000 Day we pay tribute to this unique network and its value for people and our economy. For me it is one of the European Union’s truly outstanding achievements: a network of over 27 000 protected sites, covering over 1 million square kilometres across the land and sea, made possible through the cooperation among all our Member States."


LIFEnews N° 04/17

LIFEnews 04/17

15 May 2017This issue of LIFEnews looks at green jobs and skills.

The first article features an interview with Christos Kissas from LIFE's external monitoring team about a new study on the programme's impact on jobs and growth.

The second article showcases a number of LIFE projects that have created new sustainable jobs and promoted the development of green skills.




Download this issue >>

LIFE project uses unusual technique to reintroduce endangered species

Photo:LIFE12 BIO/AT/000143

12 May 2017The LIFE project Waldrappteam (LIFE12 BIO/AT/000143) is using the unusual technique of hand-raising chicks to successfully reintroduce the critically endangered Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) into Europe. In April, 31 chicks aged between2-to-8 days were taken from nests at two breeding colonies in Austria to be cared for by experienced – human - foster mothers. These birds will become the founders of a new Northern Bald Ibis breeding colony in Überlingen at Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

The Northern Bald Ibis disappeared from Europe some 400 years ago and there is currently only one remaining colony in Morocco (consisting of around 200 adults) and a few individuals in the Middle East.


See you at the Green Awards?

Green Week

11 May 2017Voting for the Green Awards is now closed. The Green Awards commemorate the most outstanding completed LIFE projects since 1992 and they form one of the highlights of the LIFE programme’s 25th anniversary celebrations.

The winners, who have been selected via a public vote on Facebook, will be announced in three categories: Environment; Nature & biodiversity; and Climate Action.

The award ceremony takes place in Brussels on the evening of 30 May 2017 as part of EU Green Week - a key event in the European environment policy calendar attracting policymakers, leading environmentalists, stakeholders and other interested parties from across Europe and the globe. The theme of this year’s Green Week is “Green jobs for a greener future”.


First Natural Capital Financing Facility loan agreement channels LIFE funding to rewilding initiative


10 May 2017On 11 April 2017, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced the first loan agreement backed by the Natural Capital Financing Facility (NCFF), one of the two innovative financial instruments funded by the LIFE programme. The €6 million loan was made available to Rewilding Europe Capital (REC).

The NCFF is a LIFE financial instrument providing loans or equity investments for revenue-generating or cost-saving projects that promote the preservation of natural capital for biodiversity and climate change adaptation purposes, backed by an EU guarantee. It recognises and fosters the business case for investing in natural capital.

At the signing ceremony in Brussels, Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said:
"Nature is essential for our lives, and our economy. The recent successful evaluation of the EU Nature directives illustrated this. The Rewilding Europe project will be the first of many that the Bank on Nature initiative, building on the Natural Capital Financing Facility, will assist in our plans to create rural jobs and protect nature".


EU action plan for nature to boost spending on LIFE Nature and biodiversity

EU action plan for nature

05 May 2017Following a thorough evaluation of the Birds and Habitats Directives, the European Commission has adopted the Action Plan for nature, people and the economy. The action plan is designed to improve implementation of the directives and thus boost their contribution to the attainment of the EU's biodiversity targets for 2020.

The plan focuses on 4 priority areas and comprises 15 actions to be carried out between now and 2019. Its publication follows on from the recent Birds and Habitats Directives fitness check, which highlighted the strategic role that the LIFE programme plays in supporting the implementation of the Directives.

LIFE Nature and Biodiversity projects deliver high value for money and can support a much wider range of measures for both management and restoration of Natura 2000 network sites than other EU funding instruments, including communication and outreach activities. As such, LIFE has significant capacity to develop partnerships for effective and efficient implementation. Furthermore, the LIFE Regulation for 2014-2020 provides funding possibilities regarding the management of the Natura 2000 network and for more coherence through integrated projects on condition that they implement the PAFs.


LIFEnews N° 03/17

LIFEnews 03/17

26 April 2017 This edition of LIFEnews focuses on environmental governance.

The first article features an interview with Liam Cashman from DG Environment's Compliance and Better Regulation Unit.

The second article showcases a number of LIFE projects which are helping to improve implementation of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation.



Download this issue >>

LIFE programme showcased at final BeWater project conference in Slovenia

Photo: BeWater

26 April 2017 A proactive approach to engaging citizens in the management of river basins to cope with the effects of climate change was the theme of the final conference of the BeWater project in Nova Gorica, Slovenia, in March 2017.

BeWater, a project funded by the EU’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration, was an initiative encompassing partner organisations from nine EU Member States and Tunisia. The project promoted collaboration between science and society for sustainable water management and adaptation to the impacts of global change in the Mediterranean. The project used an iterative process of mutual learning, participatory techniques and a bottom-up approach to ensure that stakeholders play an active role in determining appropriate strategies for management of river basins.

Experts from across the European Union – coming from a range of sectors including public authorities, policymakers, scientists, academics and representatives of environmental NGOs – gathered at the conference.


Vote now for your favourite LIFE project in the Green Awards


21 April 2017 This year the LIFE programme celebrates its 25th anniversary. In order to commemorate LIFE's achievements during this time, the European Commission has selected 15 outstanding LIFE projects as nominees for the Green Awards. The awards are for the most outstanding completed LIFE projects since 1992.

The winners in each of the categories (Environment, Nature & biodiversity and Climate Action) will be announced on 30 May 2017 at the Green Awards ceremony during EU Green Week in Brussels. There will be two Green Award winners in each of the three categories (i.e. six winners in total).

The winners will be selected by means of a public vote on Facebook. Voting is open from now until 10 May 2017.

The nominees for the Green Awards were selected by a jury, based on a number of criteria, including long-term sustainability, communication potential and broader impact on national, European or global level. They were additionally scored on innovation, transferability, environmental benefits and conservation status.


LIFE-IP MAŁOPOLSKA success acknowledged by European Ombudsman award

Photo: LIFE14 IPE/PL/000021

19 April 2017 LIFE-IP MAŁOPOLSKA (LIFE14 IPE/PL/000021), a Polish LIFE integrated project carried out in the Małopolska region has been very successful in leveraging funding sources. The project helped secure an additional €800 million on top of the initial €15 million EU funding for the implementation of its air quality plan for the region, one of Europe's top three hotspots for air pollution.

This achievement has now been recognised at the European Ombudsman Award for Good Administration 2017. The LIFE programme provides financial support for environmental and climate action projects in the EU. The LIFE team from the European Commission's DG Environment, DG Climate and the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) worked with regional authorities and civil society to leverage the additional €800 million. The LIFE team from the DG Environment, DG Climate and EASME were the winners in the excellence in collaboration  category


LIFE IP Climate Action projects launched in Germany and Denmark

Photo: LIFE14 NAT/SE/000201

18 April 2017 Two LIFE Integrated Projects (IPs) were launched at kick off events on 30 March 2017: LIFE-IP ZENAPA (LIFE15 IPC/DE/000005) in Germany and LIFE IP C2C CC (LIFE15 IPC/DK/000006) in Denmark.

LIFE-IP ZENAPA (Zero Emission Nature Protection Areas) was launched by its beneficiary, the Institute for Applied Material Flow Management (IfaS), at an event on the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld. This was attended by ministers from several German regional governments and from Luxembourg.

The 8-year German LIFE IP has a total budget of €17 million - of which the LIFE programme is contributing €8 million - and involves 11 partners in 8 German Länder and Luxembourg. LIFE-IP ZENAPA aims to mitigate climate change by promoting the transition to low-carbon energy production in protected areas and subsequently using the profit derived from these renewable energy investments to support nature conservation.

In Denmark, around 260 people attended the launch of LIFE IP C2C CC (Coast to Coast Climate Challenge).


LIFE Berlengas eradicating invasive plant from Portuguese island

Photo:LIFE13 NAT/PT/000458

12 April 2017 The LIFE Berlengas (LIFE13 NAT/PT/000458) project has made great progress in eliminating an invasive alien species (IAS), the Carpobrotus edulis plant, from the Berlengas archipelago off the Portuguese coast.

Native to South Africa, C. edulis is considered to be one of the world's 100 worst invasive species; it was introduced to Berlenga island in the 1950s and thanks to an impressive propagation capacity quickly colonised its slopes. With very dense leaves and strong roots, the invasive plant is a major threat to the conservation of native plants, especially three endemic species - the Berlengas Thrift (Armeria berlengensis), Berlengas Rupturewort (Herniaria berlengiana) and Berlengas Fleabane (Pulicaria microcephala). It also poses a threat to seabirds, as it forms a dense carpet which reduces the availability of nesting areas.


PF4EE to make €50 million loans available for Italian energy efficiency projects


11 April 2017 On 30 March 2017, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the BPER Banca Group announced the first project in Italy under the Private Finance for Energy Efficiency (PF4EE) instrument and the LIFE programme. They are to provide €50 million in loans to support energy efficiency initiatives implemented by businesses of all sizes. By giving Italian companies access to this financing on favourable terms, the EIB and BPER will contribute to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and tackling climate change.

The PF4EE instrument aims to increase private financing for investments in energy efficiency, to help Member States achieve EU energy efficiency targets. The European Commission entrusted the management of the PF4EE to the EIB.


New Focus on LIFE and the Circular economy

LIFE and the Circular economy

06 April 2017 LIFE has published a new Focus brochure on one of the greatest environmental, social and economic challenges of the next 30 years – the transition to a circular economy.

In his foreword to the brochure, Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, sets out the challenge ahead: “Europe needs to move away from a ‘linear’ economic model that is resource intensive and unsustainable towards a more ‘circular’ approach, where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and the generation of waste minimised.”   

LIFE and the Circular economy highlights what the EU's programme for the environment and climate action has already done to achieve this goal and suggests more ways LIFE can contribute in future.


LIFE 2017: Up to 60% co-financing for close-to-market environment and climate solutions

Photo: LIFE14 NAT/SE/000201

05 April 2017 The European Commission will launch a new call for proposals under the LIFE programme on 28 April 2017, with application deadlines in September 2017. Nearly €260 million in funding will be available for environment and climate projects ("traditional projects").

The Commission is particularly interested in close-to-market projects, i.e. projects that:

  • propose a new, demonstrative solution able to bring clear environmental and/or climate benefits, e.g. in the fields of waste management, circular economy, resource efficiency, climate change mitigation, and water; and
  • have a level of technical and business readiness allowing them to implement their solution in close-to-market conditions (i.e. at industrial or commercial scale) during the project duration. 


Finalists announced for the European Week for Waste Reduction Awards


04 April 2017 The Life EWWR+ (LIFE12 INF/BE/000459) project has announced the finalists in the eighth European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) Awards. The winners will be announced during the project's final international conference, entitled Qualitative Prevention, a new approach towards the circular economy being held in Barcelona on 18 May 2017.

This year's ceremony will reward the most outstanding actions carried out during the EWWR campaign in 2016. The EWWR Awards Jury, comprising six European professionals working in the environmental sector, met in Brussels on 24 March 2017 to select three finalists in each of six categories: Administration/public authority; Association/NGO; Business/industry; Educational establishment; Citizen(s); and Other.


LIFE 2017 call for proposals for NGOs and information day

Photo: LIFE14 NAT/SE/000201

03 April 2017 The call for proposals for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) active in the fields of environment and climate action is open! To check the eligibility of your organisation, please read carefully the eligibility criteria.

For more information, follow this link to download the call, application guide and other useful documents.

An information event for potential applicants will take place on 20 April at the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) in Brussels. Please register for the event by 13 April.


Frogs ready to sing out loud in upcoming concert series

Photo: LIFE14 NAT/SE/000201

31 March 2017 Already known for its heavy metal festival, the German district of Kreis Steinburg, near the Danish border, is soon to be the venue of a rather different, more natural, but equally loud concert.

The regional nature protection agency – Stiftung Naturschutz, Schleswig-Holstein – is organising a series of night trips to hear a real-life frog chorus in action. Move over Paul McCartney…these amphibians can be heard up to two kilometres away…without amplifiers!

The nature protection agency behind Froschkönig Live! (or the Frog Kings Live!) will lead visits to a range of sites to hear the evening rumblings of many of the amphibious species that have benefited from restoration activities carried out by the SemiAquaticLIFE (LIFE14 NAT/SE/000201) LIFE project.


Apennine brown bear population greater than estimated

Photo: LIFE03 NAT/IT/000151

30 March 2017 The Apennine brown bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus), one of the most endangered bears in Europe, has a greater population than originally thought, according to latest monitoring activities that were initiated by Italian LIFE projects.

The bears, found in the mountains of Central Italy, have been the target of two conservation projects co-funded by LIFE, namely ORSO SIRENTE (LIFE03 NAT/IT/000151) and Sirente-Velino (LIFE98 NAT/IT/005114).

The population is now thought to have been underestimated due to its small size, according to an article recently published by The European Zoological Journal. Part of the monitoring activities were conducted by the two LIFE Nature projects which have now improved the framework of knowledge about the bear in the area and its local conservation. The data shows a continuous presence of bears in the study area during the last 15 years.


Join Nácar the Iberian lynx on his run to freedom

Photo:LIFE10 NAT/ES/000570

29 March 2017 On a misty morning in February, a male Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) called Nácar sprang from his cage and ran to freedom in Dehesa de las Yeguas, Jaén, in the Spanish region of Andalusia. Nácar's dramatic run into the wild was caught on film by a drone camera and can now be enjoyed by all.

Nácar reintroduction is the latest milestone of the Life+IBERLINCE (LIFE10NAT/ES/000570) project, which is continuing a reintroduction programme to reinforce the population of the Iberian lynx. Nácar and Nambroca - a female lynx also released on the same morning – join Nebraska and Snow, two other lynx who were reintroduced earlier. The LIFE project has now achieved its planned total of four lynx to be released in the Guarrizas river valley this year.


Planting trees to protect birds in Slovakia

Photo:LIFE13 NAT/SK/001272

24 March 2017 In a first for Slovakia, the LIFE Energy project (LIFE13 NAT/SK/001272) is taking the innovative step of planting trees to protect birds across the country.

LIFE Energy has already planted some 550 trees in areas where birds regularly die due to collisions with power lines. The project is thus increasing vegetation around the dangerous power lines to ensure birds register the natural barrier and fly over the electric wires. The trees not only protect birds they also have the added benefit of increasing biodiversity. By planting different species of trees, the project ensures that various animal species are attracted to the area and use the vegetation for nesting, a source of food and shelter.


LIFEnews N° 02/17

LIFEnews 02/17

23 March 2017 This edition of LIFEnews focuses on the first LIFE platform meeting dedicated to Integrated Projects (LIFE IPs). These are projects designed to implement environmental and climate legislation and goals on a wider scale than traditional LIFE projects, in particular by mobilising complementary funding from EU and national sources and the private sector.

The lead article reveals what has been learned about complementary funding in the first year of LIFE IPs, including contributions from the LIFE Unit, the Finnish National Contact Point and two projects. The second article showcases the nine new Integrated Projects funded in the 2015 LIFE call.


Download this issue >>

Seven European cities and nine London boroughs to join LIFE food value initiative

Photo:LIFE15 GIE/UK/000867

21 March 2017 On 16 March 2017, LIFE TRiFOCAL London (LIFE15 GIE/UK/000867) announced at The London Conference the names of the nine London boroughs and the seven EU cities where it will demonstrate its innovative food valuing programme.

LIFE TRiFOCAL London aims to encourage people to reduce food waste through changes in shopping, storage, and meal planning and preparation behaviours; to promote healthy and sustainable eating by changing purchasing and preparation practices; and to increase the recycling of unavoidable food waste. The nine pioneering London boroughs where it will focus this integrated initiative over the next two years are:  Bexley, Croydon, Hackney, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth, Merton, Sutton and Tower Hamlets. Successes within these nine London boroughs will be shared across other London boroughs to amplify their impact.


European Committee of the Regions publishes opinion on the mid-term evaluation of the LIFE programme


20 March 2017 Further to the European Commission's request, the European Committee of the Regions has published its opinion on the Mid-term evaluation of the Programme for the Environment and Climate Action (LIFE) 2014-2020, as foreseen under Article 27 (2) of Regulation (EC) No 1293/2013 ('LIFE Regulation'), the implementing act adopting the second LIFE Multiannual Work Programme (MAWP) 2018-2020 (Article 24 (4) of the LIFE Regulation), and the development of the next LIFE programme under the next Multiannual Financial Framework 2020-2027.

The European Committee of the Regions opinion comprises policy recommendations that cover changes to expenditure eligibility, the complementarity of funding and implementation systems among EU -financed programmes and the building of public consensus and strengthening of regional and cross-regional partnerships.

LIFE platform meeting on ecosystem services


16 March 2017 Ecosystems provide countless and essential benefits to humanity, such as food, clean water and clean air. Assigning financial values to ecosystem services - and incorporating them into land management and conservation decision-making - can complement traditional approaches to preventing biodiversity loss.

The European Commission's LIFE programme unit and the Baltic Environmental Forum are organising with the support of the Neemo EEIG External Team a LIFE platform meeting on ecosystem services in Tallinn (Estonia) on 10-12 May 2017 that will showcase a variety of restoration techniques,  innovative  approaches to improving our knowledge and  understanding of ecosystem  services, new management initiatives and governance  challenges.


LIFE platform meeting on ceramic and brick manufacturing

Photo: Ecotiles

15 March 2017 The Italian NCP for the LIFE programme is organising a LIFE platform meeting on ceramic and brick manufacturing, in collaboration with EASME, the Neemo EEIG External Team and the Italian industry associations Confindustria Ceramica and ANDIL.

The platform meeting will be held in the Sassuolo ceramic manufacturing district on 11 April 2017. The event will profile the achievements of LIFE projects focused on reducing emissions and consumption of water and energy in the manufacturing process of ceramics and bricks.  At Italian level, the initiative provides a first opportunity for an exchange of best practices in these sectors.


Multinational management approach to Prespa Park agreed

Photo: SPP

14 March 2017 The Greek parliament has passed a transboundary agreement to protect Prespa Park, an important area of biodiversity that has been the target of a number of LIFE projects. The agreement recognises the need for the three countries bordering the national park – Albania, Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – to work together for the sustainable development and prosperity of the area.

The agreement establishes the Prespa Park Management Committee, which is a “radical new multi-participatory approach,” according to Myrsini Malakou, managing director of the Society for the Protection of Prespa, the beneficiary of the LIFE projects whose work has helped lead to this parliament decision. Transboundary management is, “showing that the protection of nature is the best means of achieving co-operation, peace and sustainability in this struggling part of the world,” she added.


Register for the LIFE 2017 call for proposals information and networking event

EUSEW Poster

10 March 2017 Applicants busy designing projects for potential new LIFE funding should highlight the following date in their agendas: 31 May 2017. This is when the European Commission will host an information and networking event on the 2017 LIFE funding opportunities.

Representatives of businesses, industry, NGOs, and local and regional authorities are particularly invited to join the event on Wednesday, 31 May 2017, between 10:00 - 16:00 in Brussels. Would-be participants should note that registration for the LIFE call 2017 information and networking event is on a first come, first serve basis.



Innovative energy projects apply to feature in EU Sustainable Energy Week gameshow

EUSEW Poster

09 March 2017 Eight winning projects will pitch their energy innovation ideas in front of a jury of European journalists at the Spark Show, as part of this year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW).

The Spark Show, is a 90-minute session that will be held at the EUSEW’s Networking Village in Brussels, on 21 June 2017. It is designed to generate media coverage of great energy innovation ideas, provide media training and to build relationships with the press.

At the Spark Show - inspired by television shows such as The Voice - the eight energy projects are asked to give punchy, three-minute pitches and the first journalist to ‘buzz’ in will get to report on the project first. The journalists will explain their choices and offer advice.

Pitch slots for the show are open to applications from across the EU. Projects must be innovative, impactful, inspiring and scalable or replicable. Applicants are encouraged to show their projects have already benefited from national and international media coverage. The final selection will be made by the European Commission.


LIFE helps bring griffon vulture back from extinction in Bulgaria

Photo: Hristo Peshev

03 March 2017 The griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) has returned as a nesting species to the Balkan mountain range and Pirin Mountains in Bulgaria after a 60-year absence. The achievement, a major conservation success and unique in eastern Europe, came thanks to the joint efforts of three LIFE projects - LIFE FOR KRESNA GORGE (LIFE11 NAT/BG/000363), Vultures back to LIFE (LIFE14 NAT/BG/000649) and VULTURES' RETURN (LIFE08 NAT/BG/000278).

Vultures provide a vital ecosystem service by disposing of carrion. Outside the Iberian Peninsula, there are only 1 000 pairs of griffon vultures breeding in isolated sites; in many European countries the species is extinct. Until the mid-20th century, the griffon vulture was common in Bulgaria, breeding across the country and occupying all available cliffs. However, the population declined in the following years due to poisoning and was declared extinct in 1971.


First bearded vulture nest found in northern Spain

Photo:LIFE12 NAT/ES/000322

27 February 2016 The first sighting in more than half a century of a bearded vulture nest (Gypaetus barbatus) in Picos de Europa – a Spanish national park – has taken place. The nest was observed in an area of high-quality habitat for the species in the central massif of the park.

The reintroduction of this critically endangered species is being initiated by the project Life+ Red Quebrantahuesos (LIFE12 NAT/ES/000322). The project beneficiary, the Foundation for the Conservation of the Bearded vulture (FCQ), detected the first signs of species reproduction in November.

Foundation staff noted a range of pre-breeding behaviours in the vultures, such as territorial defensiveness, intraspecific interactions, repeated copulation and collection of nesting material. The breeding pair was then observed in the nest in January.



  • TOP