25 January 2010 About half of the populations of the European souslik located in wasted agricultural lands are in danger. This is the conclusion of the first phase of the European souslik study, conducted in 10 Natura 2000 sites by the LIFE+ project, "Conservation of the Imperial Eagle and Saker Falcon in key Natura 2000 sites in Bulgaria" (LIFE 07 NAT/BG/000068).
The study aims to examine the distribution and density of the European souslik, which is a staple food of two other globally threatened species - the Imperial Eagle and the Saker Falcon.
According to the study, the population density of the souslik varies widely. The lowest numbers recorded in the protected areas is about three souslik per hectare; the highest was 93 sousliks per hectare. The analysis of threats found that the most endangered populations, amounting to about 48.6% of the total, are located in abandoned agricultural areas. As main threats identified were the reduction of pasture cover and the destruction of habitats. The latter is related to the expansion of cultivated areas (the planting of new vineyards and fruit plantations), the burning of pastures, the use of chemicals, pesticides and fertilisers, and the construction of quarries and lime plants.
The study of European souslik under the LIFE+ project will continue next year when the team will summarise the data and propose specific conservation actions.
Read more about the project.
21 January 2010 The German LIFE project Best4VarioUse (LIFE07 ENV/D/000240) was the subject of important presentations at two recent trade fairs focusing on renewable energy and waste management that took place in the context of the Feria Valencia 2009, 25-27 November 2009.
The LIFE project’s work to increase the proportion of biomass residues used as raw materials in energy production was well received at both the International Fair for Energy Efficiency and Technology Innovation in Renewable and Conventional Energies (Egética-Expoenergetica) and the International Fair for Water, Soil, Air, Wastes and their Technologies and Services (ECOFIRA).
Best4VarioUse was a centrepiece of a seminar on 25 November focusing on the potential of European projects to foster sustainable development and climate protection. Project partners highlighted its important work in the avoidance of new waste, recycling strategies, the reduction of greenhouse gases and substitution of fossil fuels to an audience of over 100 people, including a Regional Minister.
The LIFE+ project also featured prominently in a public round-table discussion on energy recovery from waste on 27 November. Project co-ordinator, The Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation (IFF), presented the important possibilities offered by the project in this domain.
Best4VarioUse is testing and demonstrating the best technologies and methods for processing woody wastes, which it will then transfer. It aims to turn residues from landscape conservation, agriculture and forestry, which were previously classified as waste, into raw materials for energy and material utilization chains.
20 January 2010 The LIFE+ funded M3 project (LIFE07 ENV/L/000540) invites participants to attend its first workshop on ‘Monitoring and data evaluation under the Water Framework Directive – Achievements, deficits and new horizons’, which will be held on 16-17 June 2010 in Luxembourg-Kirchberg.
The M3 project aims to apply state-of-the-art modeling and monitoring approaches as a support for the implementation of the programmes of measures in river basins (POM-WFD). During the workshop it will address the main challenges in monitoring and data evaluation.
For more information on how to participate, including submitting abstracts for oral or poster presentations, please visit the M3project website.
06 January 2010 A Spanish LIFE Nature project working to ensure the survival of Europe’s most threatened carnivorous mammal, the Iberian lynx, (LIFE06 NAT/E/000209) has ceremoniously reintroduced the species into a region from which it had disappeared in Guadalmellato near Cordoba, southern Spain.
The project released two four-year old lynx into a protected enclosure of 3-4 ha in the presence of representatives from the Andalusian Environment Ministry, the Regional Government of Andalusia, local mayors and the LIFE project. The Regional Environment Minister, Cinta Castillo, highlighted that this reintroduction marked “a historic moment” in the ongoing efforts to save the Iberian lynx in its natural habitat. It was the first time such a pair had been released to form a new sub-population in the wild.
It is hoped that the pair will mate and the female will have a litter within the protected area. As Miguel Angel Simon, project coordinator explains: “If the female has her litter inside the release area, it should help her settle in the reintroduction area.” The male would be released from the protected area before the birth of the litter “so that he cannot kill the offspring.”
The male, called Caberu, was taken from the Andujar region by the Recuperation Centre for Endangered Species (CREA) in Granada. The female, called Charqueña, was raised in the Captive Breeding Centre La Olivilla in Jaen. Both animals are fitted with GPS monitors so that they can be tracked and cameras have been installed across the reintroduction enclosure. The project has built on the initial consolidation efforts of an earlier LIFE project (LIFE02 NAT/E/008609). The Captive Breeding programme does not form part of the project but there has been a close collaboration between these actions.
In the month following the first event on 14th December, the same process is to be undertaken with two other couples. This will take the total number of animals reintroduced in the region before the mating period in January-February to six. The eventual long-term aim is that the project’s efforts will lead to thirty female territories in the Cordoba region covering a range of 18 000 ha. The experience will also help design additional reintroductions in different areas of Spain and Portugal in the future.
More information will be made available on the project website
See also the website of the Captive Breeding Programme