27 November 2008 Attention all wetland- and innovative environment LIFE projects from the United Kingdom! The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) holds a portfolio of Environmental Awards to honour those environmental professionals making outstanding contributions to environmental management around the world, creating access to cutting edge ideas and technology, and creating networking opportunities and increased awareness of environmental issues.
Award winners receive a cash prize, a place at the CIWEM Annual Dinner, certificate, trophy andwidespread publicity for their projects.
Two awards are now open for entries:
For the detailed entry criteria and further information, please visit the CIWEM website.
27 November 2008 A three year old male Iberian lynx, “Caribú”, has been translocated from Sierra Morena to Doñana in order to reinforce the population in that part of Andalusia. The move is aimed at enhancing the genetic diversity of the existing Doñana sub-population. This is intended to boost numbers and reduce the populations’ vulnerability to disease. This is the second translocation undertaken by the LIFE lynx project (LIFE06 NAT/E/000209) since the 21 December 2007 (see LIFEnews February 2008).
For more information, check the project website.
26 November 2008 The LIFE Nature project, “The Re-Introduction of allis shad (Alosa alosa) to the River Rhine System” (LIFE06 NAT/D/000005) has won Regional Review Magazine’s European Regional Champions Awards 2008 in the “Maritime Champion” category.
The awards, held in association with the Committee of the Regions (CoR), were announced on 19 November. The aim to identify and showcase the very best in regional innovation and best practices throughout EU regions – highlighting projects that can serve as examples to other regions. This year, a total of 250 proposals were submitted, covering 26 Member States of the EU.
The 2007-2010 LIFE project aims to conserve and protect allis shad, an endangered fish species in Europe, and to restore the biodiversity in one of Europe’s largest rivers. The allis shad was one of the most important commercial fish species in the Rhine and hundreds of thousands of fish migrated into the river each year until the end of the 19th century. Only 30 years later the population collapsed. Today large shad populations exist only in France. With partners in the United States, France, the Netherlands and Germany, the project developed mass production techniques and built the first shad fish farm in Europe together with regional fish farmers in France. The first 500,000 allis shad were stocked in the River Rhine in 2008.
For more information please visit the multilingual website of the project.
21 November 2008 For individuals and organisations involved in the LIFE+ programme, in particular for those managing 2007 projects, the TOOLKIT section has been updated with valuable project administration tools for day-to-day work. These include the Common Provisions, reporting templates, guidelines for amendments, partnership agreements, monitoring indicators and timesheets.
See the LIFE+ project administration tools.
21 November 2008Scotland’s government has launched a new policy initiative in search for "creative ideas" that can harness forest resources to cut carbon emissions and support renewable energy industries. The consultation exercise for the national forest plan will run until 27 January 2009 and Scotland’s Forestry Commission is keen to hear from people who wish to share their ideas on how these proposals could work.
A number of Scottish LIFE projects have been pioneering work in these areas and their outcomes might therefore help inform the development of a new national plan for Scotland’s forests.
The plan aims to expand national woodland resources by 10,000 hectares a year by 2050 to absorb carbon and create jobs. In addition, the new policy recognises the potential role that forests can play in meeting national targets to cut greenhouse gasses by 80% by 2050 and work towards producing 50% of energy from renewable sources by 2020.
LIFE support for Scotland’s forests date back to the mid 1990s with work carried out in the Caledonian pinewoods (LIFE94 NAT/UK/000580). This habitat conservation project helped inform the development of a larger LIFE-Nature project called ‘Core Forest Sites for a Forest Habitat Network’ (LIFE00 NAT/UK/007074) which has successfully demonstrated techniques to enhance the economic, social and environmental value of native woodlands.
Other LIFE funded developments that could contribute to the new national plan for Scotland’s forests include the ongoing work at Sunart Oakwoods, which has received various EU financial support packages together with LIFE funds for its work with Natura 2000 activities.
14 November 2008 On 17 and 18 November 2008, the LIFE unit is organising an event in Brussels focusing on the dissemination of best practices established during the implementation of LIFE Nature projects.
The objective of this event is to discuss and codify the experience and knowledge gained during the life-time of recent projects. Eight different thematic sessions (see programme) will provide a platform for discussion on, and the dissemination of the results of some successful LIFE Nature projects. This will facilitate the identification and transfer of knowledge and lessons from LIFE projects and the mainstreaming of good practice in the future implementation of the LIFE+ programme.
Day 1 of the conference will feature four parallel thematic sessions presenting examples of ‘best practice’ tools for implementing the Natura 2000 network and the protection of European habitats developed within the LIFE Nature programme. Each session (forest habitats; marine habitats; river habitats; grassland habitats) will feature 5-6 selected LIFE projects. In addition, a poster session will enable some 100 participating LIFE nature projects to show how they are serving to protect national and European biodiversity.
The second day of the event will begin with a focus on “LIFE projects targeting challenges to biodiversity”, reflecting the Biodiversity component of the LIFE+ programme (2007-2013). The four parallel sessions (each of which will again feature 5-6 selected projects) will look at: responding to climate change; the challenges of invasive alien species; ensuring the favourable conservation status of Europe’s species; and international cooperation on biodiversity protection.
The plenary session will examine the role of LIFE Nature as a tool for implementing EU nature protection and biodiversity policy. The conference will end with a presentation on the role of LIFE+.
3 November 2008 SEO/BirdLife took advantage of the occasion of the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona (5-14 October 2008) to hold an Alliances Workshop that both disseminated the preliminary results of the LIFE project Important Bird Areas for seabirds (marine IBAs) in Spain (LIFE04 NAT/ES/000049) and put these results in context at a national, European and global level.
Among the panellists at the workshop (entitled “A sea of birds. Towards the site-based protection of birds at sea: the marine Important Bird Areas (IBAs)”) was Soledad Blanco, Director of International Affairs and the LIFE Programme (DG Environment, European Commission).
The identification of marine IBAs was acknowledged as providing an important reference point for the implementation of the Natura 2000 network regarding seabirds (through the designation of the IBAs as Special Protection Areas - SPAs). it was also pointed out the convenience of combining seabird information with that from other organisms in order to identify biodiversity hotspots.
SEO/BirdLife will participate in the LIFE+ Project Inventory and designation of marine Natura 2000 areas in the Spanish sea (2009-2013), with the particular aim of developing management plans for the future SPAs, a phase that will require the involvement of stakeholders.