22 December 2009 This survey of LIFEnews, the monthly newsletter of the LIFE programme, is targeted at existing and potential subscribers.
The survey contains six questions and will only take 1-2 minutes of your time. It will help us to update contact details and provide more targeted information dissemination. Thank you for your help!
17 December 2009 "Science for Environment Policy" is a weekly DG Environment news alert service that strengthens the links between science and policy by placing the latest scientific research in a policy context. It focuses on top priority environmental issues.
Quiz question: A recent study estimated that 2503 tonnes of harmful toxic mercury are emitted into the atmosphere each year due to human activity. What is the biggest source of these emissions?
a. Gold mining
b. Fossil fuel power plants
c. The chlorine industry
To find out the answer, and complete a brief survey on Science for Environment Policy, click the following link: Quiz answer and survey
Thank you very much for your assistance! For your information, Directorate-General Environment is currently carrying out an external evaluation of its "Science for Environment Policy" news alert service and the results of this survey will be used to improve the news alert and provide its more than 11.500 readers with the best service possible.
15 December 2009 LIFE projects featured strongly in the recent International Seminar of the International Olive Council in Madrid, Spain. Held to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Council, the seminar looked at all aspects of Olive Growing and the Environment. Bringing together the major producing and consuming stakeholders of the olive industry, the event included important presentations from the LIFE unit of the European Commission and the LIFE+ Cent. Oli. Med. Project (LIFE07 NAT/IT/000450).
Project coordinator, Giancarlo Mimiola from the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari presented the objectives and progress of the Italian project LIFE+ Cent. Oli. Med. Project (LIFE07 NAT/IT/000450). This project is working to identify and assess biodiversity in ancient olive groves (AOGs) and to use this information to produce an innovative governance model for AOGs and a Mediterranean action plan for the protection of this habitat.
The LIFE unit took the opportunity of the seminar to present the history of the LIFE programme and the specific objectives and focus of LIFE+ and the upcoming 2010 call for proposals. LIFE has made important investments in projects in the olive sector and three such projects were briefly outlined:
The International Olive Council, which organised the event, is an intergovernmental organisation bringing together all stakeholders in the olive industry. The Council, established in 1959 under the auspices of the UN, is a decisive player in discussing and contributing to policymaking issues and tackling present and future challenges in the olive sector.
Download: presentation from the LIFE Environment and Eco-Innovation Unit
Download: presentation from the Cent. Oli. Med. Project
08 December 2009The positive effects of the Spanish LIFE Environment project "Delta del Ebro" (LIFE96 NAT/E/003133) are continuing to build. This demonstration action has now led to the development of a successful industry producing 200 tonnes of rice per year, using methods that respect and favour local flora and fauna.
The LIFE project experimented at the end of the past decade with different management methods for the cultivation of rice in the vulnerable wetlands of the Ebro Delta in Catalonia. It demonstrated that organic and agri-environmental farming of rice could be profitable, whilst improving the important wetland habitat. All sides benefited from the lack of use of agro-chemicals.
Nine years since the conclusion of these actions and the benefits of that learning are still increasing. The cooperative Riet Vell was formed with 200 partners. It bought 54 ha of wetland, 42 of which have been dedicated to rice cultivation and the other 12 to wetland restoration. The cooperative has managed to produce a good harvest of around 3 500 kg of rice per ha, whilst increasing numbers of important birds such as the little bittern (Ixobrychus minutus), purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) and purple heron (Ardea purpurea).
A major challenge to ensure the sustainability of the rice cultivation was to prevent the growth of weeds. Pesticides were not allowed and crops could not be rotated due to the lack of suitability of the wetlands for other crops. The brilliant solution has been to rotate the means of cultivating rice with different levels of flooding and methods of sowing.
In October 2009 the project - led by SEO/BirdLife - was recognised with an ‘Innovation in Action’ award by the Spanish Biodiversity Foundation Fundacion-biodiversidad. It was rewarded for demonstrating that it is possible to combine agricultural and biodiversity objectives in a mutually beneficial way.
07 December 2009 As part of the LIFE+ project, “Save the raptors” (LIFE07 NAT/BG/000068), the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB), the BirdLife International’s partner in Bulgaria, has tagged with satellite transmitters seven juvenile Imperial Eagles.
The contemporary satellite/GPS tracking system helps ornithologists from BSPB to identify the main threats to the Imperial Eagle population and provides valuable information about their migration, including the identification of new temporary settlement areas. “Thanks to LIFE + project activities we achieved in 2009 the highest number of successfully fledged juvenile Imperial Eagles ever recorded in Bulgaria”, says the project manager Svetoslav Spasov.
The GPS tracking system allows us to monitor much more precisely the threats to eagles and to study some of reasons for eagles’ mortality. Unfortunately in just the last two months we recorded 3 mortalities: the eagle Perun was electrocuted in Bulgaria, and another one, Sevda, was shot by poachers in Turkey. The fortune of the third bird is not yet known, but assumed dead”. The GPS system has also helped the project team to discover two new eagle sites – one near Ankara and one south in Chorlu (Turkey).
The satellite tracking module is now available on the project's website.