Networking on Best Practices (BPs) for Mediterranean Grassland Habitat Types (Rangelands)
29 - 30 May 2015
Location: Information Centre of the PNFMB, Pyli, Prespa, Greece
The workshop was attended by 44 participants from six European Mediterranean countries (Greece, Italy, Spain, Cyprus, France and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). In addition, 28 Greek students from the Department of Forestry and Management of Natural Environment (Technical University of Larissa, Karditsa) attended the meeting providing them with a taste of knowledge exchange for Mediterranean nature management.
The two-day workshop was an opportunity to address some Mediterranean Natura 2000 grassland habitats issues and problems that are often complex and site-specific. The workshop was a follow up to the Mediterranean Kick-off Seminar (Natura 2000 Biogeographical Process), held in Thessaloniki, 26 – 28 May 2014. There the Grasslands Working Group identified networking as one of the four tools to address some of the issues associated to current status of Mediterranean grasslands (with issues related to knowledge, management, and advice to governments being the rest).
The workshop brought together specialists (academics, conservationists, practitioners, administration officers) to exchange experiences on best practices for the conservation and management of rangeland resources (species, habitats, landscape, etc.) and their local-scale development and exploitation (with references to local communities and economies). The programme also included some field visits showcasing some best practices applied in the conservation and management of wet and dry grasslands in Prespa National Park. These visits were also an occasion to listen to interventions of local stakeholders (conservationists, NGOs, public bodies).
The main goal of this follow up workshop was “to showcase best practices for knowledge dissemination, Mediterranean grassland management, and bottom-up policy support (advice to local and regional administration and governments)”. Participants identified five outputs (commitments) for future action:
(a) Continuation of the Mediterranean Grassland Networking Group,
(b) Produce a tangible written output of the knowledge exchange of Prespa,
(c) Share knowledge on practical solutions,
(d) Future meetings of the Mediterranean Grassland Networking Group, and
(e) Project application.
You can find the final report to workshop here .
Presentations from the workshop
- Introduction to Natura 2000 Biogeographical Process
- An intro for Grasslands Networking Group - Michael Vrahnakis (Greece)
- Grassland resources of Prespa - Yannis Kazoglou (Greece)
Session I: BPs in Grassland Management
- Best practices of grassland management in Greece and their evaluation - Vasilios Papanastasis and Yannis Kazoglou (Greece)
- The experience of the farmers, few suggestions to improve our contribution - Rocco Colamonaco (Italy)
Session II: BPs in Advice Governments
- Providing scientific support to government on habitat management and restoration - Petros Kakouros (Greece)
- Science-Policy Interfaces and ecosystem services: tools for the implementation of the ecosystem approach in the Natura 2000 sites - Javier Cabello (Spain)
Session III: BPs in Knowledge Dissemination
- Information channels and local societies - Vassiliki Kleftoyanni (Greece)
- Approaches, possibilities and choices for a better dissemination of knowledge - Generosa Jenny Calabrese (Italy)
- Approaches, possibilities and choices for a better dissemination of knowledge in Natura 2000 areas
- The experience of the farmers: Few suggestions to improve our contribution to NATURA 2000
The present workshop is meant as an opportunity to address in a proactive way the issues and problems affecting the Mediterranean grassland habitats in Natura 2000 that are often complex, and site-specific. The workshop is part of a networking activity in line with the spirit of the Mediterranean Kick-off Seminar (Natura 2000 Biogeographical Process), held in Thessaloniki, 26 – 28 May 2014, when the Grasslands Working Group identified networking as one of the four tools (four-bunch consideration) able to overcome some of the issues (gaps) associated to current status of Mediterranean grasslands (with issues related to knowledge, management, and advice to governments being the rest).
The workshop is seen as a meeting of specialists (academics, conservationists, practitioners, administration officers) where, in the framework of networking, they can exchange their experiences in issues concerning best practices (BPs) for the conservation/management of rangeland resources (species, habitats, landscape, etc.) and their local-scale development and exploitation (with references to local societies and economies). Apart from exchanging ideas and experiences in the workshop hall, networking is further strengthened by showing in the field the BPs already applied in the conservation/management of wet and dry grasslands and rangelands of Prespa National Park, while at the same time interventions of local stakeholders (land users, land owners, conservationists, NGOs, public bodies, local municipality administration, social groups) are welcomed and encouraged. Networking offers the basis of this four-bunch consideration, since it can facilitate the safe achievement of the goals set by the three other bunches. Having these in mind, the main objective of this follow up workshop will be the mental and empirical exhibition of such BPs for knowledge dissemination (knowledge), Mediterranean grassland management (management), and bottom-up policy formation (advices to local and regional administration and governments).
In conjunction with the Seminar of Thessaloniki, and following the meeting on Management of Mediterranean Habitats of the LIFE Nature Platform held in Polis Chrysochous on 9-10 October 2014, the main themes/areas to be covered during the 2-day workshop in Prespa are the outline for BPs in
- knowledge sharing in hot-spot issues indicated during the Seminar (climate change inclusion in decision making, reference values to be used when evaluating favorable conservation status, monitoring tools), or not (additional knowledge gaps),
- management of grassland (rangeland) resources (among others grazing capacity and best environmental and economic outcome, guidance on farming and the Natura 2000 sites, farmers involvement in local governance process, engagement of remote sensing techniques from grassland representation to management and policy making), and
- advice to local/regional administration and governments (among others CAP subsidies and Natura 2000, ecotourism, inclusion of grazing adjustment into Management Plans conducted by Public Forest Authorities).
A number of ca. 50 participants is expected to form the audience. Participants could be (a) Greek experts on the management of grassland habitat types (representatives of Management Bodies of Protected Areas, foresters/agronomists from Public Forest Services and the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture, academics), representatives of NGOs, and local public authorities, land owners and users, and (b) foreign specialists that participated (or not) to the Thessaloniki's seminar, that forms a group of experts of direct management experience of grassland habitats or species.
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