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Dadia - Conservation of birds of prey in the Dadia Forest Reserve, Greece

LIFE02 NAT/GR/008497


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Contact details:

Project Manager: Dimitris KARAVELLAS
Tel: +30 210 3314893
Fax: +30 210 3247578
Email: c.liarikos@wwf.gr



Project description:

Background

Dadia Forest Reserve’s rich habitat mosaic - pine and oak forests, shrub-lands, networks of streams and cultivated lands - and strategic geographical position at the tip of the Rhodopi mountain range make it an important site for birds and particularly raptors. 221 species of birds - of which 43 raptors - have been identified in the reserve. It hosts 36 out of the 39 diurnal raptor species of Europe and, importantly, three of the four European vultures coexist there: the black vulture, the Griffon vulture and the Egyptian vulture. Dadia hosts the last breeding colony of the black vulture in the Balkans. The site was made a protected area in 1979 and became a Nature Reserve in 1981. WWF Greece established a permanent local unit to implement activities for the scientific monitoring and conservation management of the area in 1992. These efforts helped increase the black vulture population from 25 individuals in 1985 to around 100 in 2002. However, three main conservation issues remained: the degradation of the forest’s ecological value for raptors, especially the reduction of food availability and loss of forest openings; a stagnation of the black vulture population; and the use of poisoned baits by farmers and stock breeders.


Objectives

The overall project objective was the improved management of the Dadia Forest to ensure a satisfactory conservation status for 15 raptor species, in particular the black vulture. The project aimed to increase and improve the raptors' hunting biotope. It foresaw activities of artificial feeding for vultures as well as the creation of increased forest openings and water supply points for raptors and to generate an increase in their natural prey. It was hoped that this would increase the number of pairs and breeding success of the key raptor species. Underlying this work, it envisaged the establishment of a national action plan for the species and the implementation of the integrated permanent monitoring plan for the ecosystem developed by WWF-Greece in 2000. It aimed to monitor the spread of the black vulture in the area and the evaluation of its genetic situation. The project sought to develop awareness-raising actions among specific groups on the use of poisons to reduce the incidence of death as a result of indirect poisoning. It also sought to develop cooperation with neighbouring Balkan countries on the monitoring of the black vulture and promotion of a Balkan action plan.


Results

The project succeeded in preparing a black vulture management plan - based on all existing knowledge - proposing short-, medium- and long-term measures for the conservation of the species. This plan represented the ‘backbone’ of the programme, around which most other actions were carried out. The project monitored the protected area, its residing species and the external factors that affect them on the basis of the integrated monitoring plan prepared by WWF-Greece in 2000. This enriched the knowledge base and allowed an evaluation of results and the identification of problems. State-of-the-art methodologies, including radio and satellite tracking were used to track the black vulture population in particular. The cross-border movements of the vultures was recorded, which has fed into joint conservation work with Turkey and Bulgaria. The genetic structure of the local vulture population was found to be 'healthy' with no indication of in-breeding, while the wind farms were not found to have resulted in mortality or injury of the larger raptors. Biochemical and microbiological analyses have shown that the vulture population is not diseased. Work included the re-establishment of forest openings, which had become overgrown due to the reduction of both domestic and wild herbivorous populations. The development of these clearings has worked to enhance the populations of small mammals and reptiles, which serve as food for the raptors. The construction of five small artificial ponds also created biotopes for reptiles, which constitute a major food source for raptors. An additional two feeding sites were created and successfully used by the vultures. Various information actions were carried out, which have helped maintain good cooperation with the local community, including through volunteering and raised awareness of the conservation needs of the site. A particular campaign was carried out against the use of poisoned bait. An International Workshop on Vultures helped to share international experience and expertise in the field.


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Environmental issues addressed:

Themes

Species - Birds
Habitats - Forests


Keywords

monitoring‚  protected area‚  public awareness campaign‚  forest management‚  voluntary work‚  management plan


Target species

 Aegypius monachus     


Target Habitat types

  • 6210 - Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (* important orchid sites)
  • 6240 - Sub-Pannonic steppic grasslands

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable


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Beneficiaries:

Coordinator WWF Greece
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description WWF Greece is part of the World Wide Fund for Nature, an international non-governmental organisation for the conservation, research and restoration of the natural environment. It aims to maintain the rich biodiversity of the country, prevent and eventually reverse environmental degradation and build a future where people live in harmony with nature.
Partners Prefecture of Evros, Greece

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Project reference LIFE02 NAT/GR/008497
Duration 01-JAN-2002 to 31-DEC -2005
Total budget 1,566,345.00 €
EU contribution 939,807.00 €
Project location Anatoliki Makedonia, Thraki(Ellas)

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Read more:

Poster Conservation of Birds of Prey in the DADIA Forest ...
Publication: After-LIFE Conservation Plan "The Dadia Forest Reserve: Conservation Plan for t ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report (EN)

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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version