Innovative forest state evaluation methodology

Forest-state evaluation methodology and why do we need it

The area of Börzsöny Mountains in Hungary is mostly forested. If one wants to conserve this area efficiently, it is important to understand both the processes and trends within such forested ecosystems.  

In the period between 2014-2017, the Börzsöny Mountains were already evaluated under the Swiss Found project SH4/13. As a result, the forest-state describing methodology was developed and introduced in both the workshop (D.T2.1.1) and the toolkit (D.T2.1.1).

This methodology collects data from multiple variables and records different types of forests within it. Moreover, it also helps to monitor numerous forest-related variables such as natural disturbance, forestry interventions, etc.

New methodology for the Centralparks project

Although the suggested benefits are useful, they still, however, have to be simplified in order to be more effective, less time-consuming, and more goal-oriented. For this reason, Centralparks is currently developing a similar but a more updated methodology version, led by the Danube-Ipoly National Park Directorate.

Our new methodology will aim to capture an extended list of changes occurring in the forests and influencing their ecosystems in general. Moreover, it will also be extended to include a more populated list of species, so that it can be easily used in most of the mountainous forests in Central Europe.

Overall, within the framework of the Centralparks project, some additional completing components will be developed. Primarily, those will be the receiving database-structure alongside the survey sheet. The former will be PostGIS – SQL based. The latter, on the other hand, will be available on Android operating systems (especially Android 4.2) and will be compatible with ForestDataCollect application. Finally, the protocol on the forest state evaluation will also be developed to capture these mechanisms and propose the efficiency of the new methodology as such.

When are we piloting the methodology?

The methodology will be tested during the vegetation period of 2021. Altogether 4.000 points will be monitored based on the points of the previous project (SH4/13). 

The field test under the previous project within the Börzsöny Mountains has been promising which is why we hope that with our proposed changes and new Centralparks methodology we will be able to get an even better outlook on a) the effect of the different forest management and treatment types and b) their effect on the naturalness and nature conservation status of the forest units. 

Updates from the 12th WG Biodiversity meeting

Carpathians and the Carpathian Convention

Carpathian ecosystems hold the very last European wilderness areas. These areas are famous for their largest remaining primeval forests and grasslands. Moreover, within such ecosystems, there are over 400 endemic plant and other animal species, that are either extinct or cannot effectively exist in other European regions.

To better manage these biodiversity hotspots, the Carpathian Convention was established 18 years ago. It is a multilateral environmental agreement between seven Carpathian countries which include Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine. To this date, such partnership has helped to ensure a great framework for cooperation and multisectoral policy integration. Specifically, it has also opened up the forum for participation by stakeholders and the public. Moreover, it has also been a notably successful platform for developing and implementing transnational strategies, programmes and projects for environmental protection and sustainable development. 

Carpathian Convention & WG Biodiversity under the global post-2020 biodiversity framework

Especially supporting the latter point, the Carpathian Convention has provided a Protocol on Biodiversity and Sustainable Forest Management. This Protocol safeguards both biological and landscape diversity in the region. Under this spectrum, the Carpathian Convention is therefore also considered as a regional instrument that promotes the implemention of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework in the Carpathians. Additionally, it also endorses the Global 2050 Goals and 2030 Action Targets within the regional level.

All this noted, the Working Group on Biodiversity (WG Biodiversity), as an entity under the Carpathian Convention, was also established to support the implementation of the relevant global and EU policies and processes. Particularly, it focuses on the the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. For this reason, the Parties and the Secretariat and organised the next Working Group on Biodiversity meeting, held on 19 – 20 May 2021.

Centralparks project & global and European biodiversity goals 

As a regional project that is supported by the Carpathian Convention and its members, Centralparks ensures both the improved legal protection as well as a more efficient management of the protected natural areas in the Carpathians. Among three work packages under the Centralparks project, The 1st Thematic Work Package (WPT1) specifically addresses the above mentioned objectives of the Carpathian Convention in relation to both global and European biodiversity goals. Here are two specific examples as to how it does this.

First, the WPT1 aims to ensure integration of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the Carpathian region. To do this, it reconciles and links the conservation of biological/landscape diversity to sustainable local socio-economic development. Specifically, it supports the local communities in their protected areas related operations. In general, this contributes to the development of local sustainable tourism practices and improves the overall communications background between the local stakeholders.

Second, the the WPT1 also serves as a great platform for transnational cooperation and networking in the protection of biodiversity. Under the WPT1, there are 3 multinational expert groups (Thematic Transnational Task Forces, TTTFs). The TTTF on biodiversity and landscape conservation is the one that is highly involved in the Centralparks activities. It includes project partner representatives and external experts from 7 countries.

Draft Carpathian strategy for enhancing biodiversity and landscape conservation

To this date, the TTTF on biodiversity and landscape conservation has prepared 3 subsequent working versions of the Draft Carpathian strategy for enhancing biodiversity and landscape conservation (hereinafter ‘the Draft’) outside and inside protected areas. It indicates some specific measures and activities, which need to be applied in the protected Carpathian areas.

The implementation of the Draft will take place under 2 separate pilot actions in Hungary and Poland in 2021, each action involving the Carpathian protected areas (Duna-Ipoly National Park, Pieniny National Park) and surrounding local communities. Reports on lessons learned from its test implementation will be submitted in early 2022 to the Carpathian Convention. 

Celebrate the World Environment Day today

Every year on 5th of June, we celebrate World Environment Day to highlight the major issues the environment is facing and to encourage action for the protection of the environment worldwide. Over the years, World Environment Day day has raised awareness on urgent issues – from marine pollution and habitat loss, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. For this year celebrated tomorrow, the theme of World Environment Day 2021 is “Ecosystem Restoration”, a global call to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean.

UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

Habitat destruction is currently ranked as the primary cause of species extinction worldwide, and it affects all types of ecosystems. For example, we lose over 4.7 million hectares of forest every year, and half of the world’s wetlands have already disappeared during the last century. In order to revert this alarming destruction rate, World Environment Day 2021 will focus on Ecosystem Restoration.

Ecosystem restoration means helping degraded or destroyed ecosystems to recover, as well as conserving the ecosystems that are still intact. Thus, we can restore ecosystems in many ways, like actively planting trees, or removing pressures to allow the natural regeneration of overexploited ecosystems. Actions for restoration can also mean using ecosystems on land and in the oceans in ways that strengthen their natural resources and processes. Healthier ecosystems are essential for biodiversity, but also carry substantial benefits for people prosperity and well-being.

This year World Environment Day will also mark the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030, which is also the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals. Led by the United Nations with the support of countries, partners, and people, this global mission focuses on preventing and reverting the loss of degradad natural ecosystems. The aim in the next 10 years is to revive billions of hectares, from forests to farmlands, from the top of the mountains to the depth of the sea.

On this World Environment Day take action and join #GenerationRestoration global movement, in which everyone can contribute to the mission. You can learn more about events and ways of participating by visiting the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration website.

The Carpathian Convention celebrated its 18th anniversary

18 years ago, seven countries decided to join forces under an umbrella of an international treaty to work closely together on a sustainable future for the Carpathian region – one of Europe´s last greatest wilderness areas with an exceptional richness of biodiversity. 

Signed on 22 May 2003, the Carpathian Convention´s vision is to address environmental challenges, improve the quality of life and strengthen the local economies and communities for the well-being of current and future generations. The Carpathian Convention aims at conserving fragile and precious ecosystems and promoting sustainable development in the Carpathian region by providing a legal framework to pursue comprehensive policy and cooperation at various levels, including international, governmental, regional and local.

A convention for Carpathian biodiversity

The Carpathians are home to stunning ecosystems with unique natural and cultural heritage, including many traditions, cultural practices and historical monuments that have survived to this day, constituting great assets for sustainable tourism development and determining the unique tourist attractiveness of the whole region. The region hosts one of the most precious old-growth forests in Europe and provides habitat to the largest numbers of big carnivores including bears, lynx and wolves in Europe. 

It is not a coincidence that the Carpathian Convention was adopted on 22 May, International Biodiversity Day. The Convention addresses various thematic sectors relevant for sustainable development of the region, however, biodiversity should be considered the key underpinning element upon which all other sectors depend. Therefore, the Convention can be considered as a great model for mainstreaming biodiversity into other sectors and shall be considered as a useful regional instrument for supporting the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the upcoming Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Since 2003, mountains of work have been done to progress on ensuring environmental sustainability of the Carpathian region, including maintaining ecological connectivity, conserving large carnivores, protecting wetlands, developing an inventory of old growth forests, and enhancing the management efficiency of protected areas by strengthening the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas. Yet, the work ahead of us for living in harmony with nature in the Carpathian region is still long and challenging.

Cooperation is central

We want to take this opportunity to thank the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention, all the Parties to the Carpathian Convention (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Ukraine) and organisations, Environmental ministries and other stakeholders for their great commitment and contribution towards a more sustainable future in the Carpathians.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

Henry Ford

We are looking forward to further working within Centralparks together with other Carpathian experts to ensure the protection of Carpathian natural and cultural heritage, while supporting local socio-economic development.

Test your Carpathian knowledge and win the prize

Do you know the size of one of the most beautiful recreational and natural areas of Europe? If your answer is either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – because we accept both – do join us in the first ever Carpathian Quiz!

This Quiz is a part of the three-year Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE project Centralparks, which brings together eight partners from 7 European countries.

With this Interreg Centralparks Carpathian Quiz you can show us your knowledge about this magnificent Carpathian region or deepen it, since each answer will be explained. Enjoy the educative nature character of this Quiz, take part, and submit your results with the button at the end of the quiz. 

To attend the quiz, you must:
1) Be over 18 years old and be based in Europe;
2) Read and answer all 17 questions carefully;
3) Agree to the terms and conditions, found here.

Entry deadline: The quiz will run from 1st June 2021 to 19th July 2021.

How and when are the winners determined? Given the non-competitive nature of this quiz, we will use a random generator to select the winners. The persons selected will then be reached via their email address within the 14 days after the closing date.

What if I get my answers wrong? This quiz is of educative rather than competitive character. For this reason, do not worry in case you get any of your answers wrong – there will still be a place to learn as the correct information on the topic will appear immediately after you choose your preferred option. Moreover, regardless of the answers, every participant will be included in the selection of winners.

What is the prize and how will I receive it? The prize is not monetary and does not include cash, nor can it be exchanged for a different prize. The prize includes the selected gifts from numerous Centralparks partners. The gifts will be shipped to the address that you will provide to us later on in case you are chosen as winner on the random winner generator platform.

All your personal data which is necessary to award you like your name, email address, and home address will be handled according to the GDPR regulations. Please be kindly aware, however, that we might publish your name and poem and announce you as a raffle winner.

Have fun and should you want to learn more, feel free to subscribe to our Carpathian Centralparks newsletter!

Looking forward to your answers and poems,

The Centralparks partners

WELCOME TO THE CENTRALPARKS CARPATHIAN QUIZ!

 

 

The Carpathian beauty, the Carpathian spots,

Once you are done with the quiz - try connecting the dots.

Why we try to protect? Why we try to preserve?

Maybe that is exactly what nature deserves?

_______________

The diverse and unique ecosystems and species

Have existed around for the millions of years.

Due to the negative human decisions,

Both of these are now facing degradational fears.

_______________

We can turn this around,

We can manage this better

By establishing ground,

That will finally matter.

_______________

We thus aim to promote the transregional measures,

That will help in protecting Carpathian treasures.

We improve the capacities, run the new projects;

We consider importance of widely-shared knowledge.

_______________

If we care a bit more and disturb a bit less

Then together we will manage this place at its best.

Why we try to protect? Why we try to preserve?

Oh well, simply because that’s what nature deserves.

 

Name
Email
Country
1. How many years ago did the Carpathian Mountains form?
2. When did the last volcanic activity in the Carpathians happen?
3. How large are the Carpathians?
4. What is the highest peak in the Carpathians?
5. In which countries lie the Carpathian Mountains?
6. There are numerous protected areas in the Carpathians. What exactly has to be protected within these areas?
7. The White Carpathians Protected Landscape Area (PLA) is located at the border line between two different countries. What countries are those?
8. In the Carpathians, which habitat type is most species-rich?
9. Which of these animals live in the Carpathians?
10. The Carpathians also provide a habitat for the largest, most vital populations of large carnivores in Europe. How many brown bears are living in the Carpathians?
11. The Carpathian Mountains hold over one third of all European plant species. Its flora is composed of 3,988 species and subspecies belonging to 131 families and 710 genera. How many of these species are endemic?
12. What do you think the name ‘Lady´s slipper‘ stands for?
13. To safeguard all the above species within their respective protected areas, The Interreg Centralparks project has been created. Its key aim is to facilitate knowledge exchange between the Carpathian protected area managers. Why do you think this has to be done?
14. Now that you have familiarised yourself with the aim of the Centralparks project, what do you think is included in the Centralparks’ 1st Thematic Work Package?
15. The 2nd Thematic Work Package of the Centralparks project specifically focuses on building capacities of the protected area managers. What, in your view, will the experts of this Work Package develop to achieve such goal?
16. Ecosystem Services are complex and interrelated ecological systems that support human life and local development in general. Another idea of this project is therefore to raise awareness on the extent to which humans depend on a healthy environment. Hence, the 3rd Thematic Work Package of Centralparks aims to develop a Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit. Why do you think it is important to develop such ecosystem services assessment standards?
17. As a final task, please create your own four-line piece about the Carpathians. Feel free to do this in whatever language you prefer!

Grassland state evaluation methodology

Habitats under evaluation and aim of the methodology

In the administrative area of the Danube-Ipoly National Park Directorate in Hungary, there are many diverse grassland types. The key concern of these areas is that they are extensively turning into the shrubs, despite the fact that in the past some of the locations were already treated against such plants. 

To understand the natural dynamic processes-based succession as well to assess the effects of the existing treatments/management that leads to the further growth of shrubs, Centralparks is implementing an innovative monitoring methodology. This methodology is based on the analysis of the previous treatment/management activities, such as: nature conservation management, grazing, mowing/stalking, shrub cutting/removal, control of invasive alien species (by mechanical or chemical methods). Furthermore, it is also

The methodology will aim to answer the following questions:

  1. To what extent the existing management practices ensure viability, regeneration, and possible extension of the habitats/communities and species of nature conservation interest (protected, Natura 2000, etc.) in this area?
  2. Does the state of the surveyed habitats/population remain sustainable (if the treatment was sufficient and there is sustaining management) or is it not improving to the desired level? If the improvement is not noticeable, what shall we change within the current management practices (its methodology, mosaic, intensity, etc.)

The methodology

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Further steps

The introduced method will be tested on the selected priority grassland habitat types of the Börzsöny Mountains. At the moment, the involved partner Danube-Ipoly National Park is selecting the priority grasslands habitat types. The goal is to represent the most diverse, and natural grassland types as well as to be able to compare the new methodologies and evaluate them, how useful they were in the term of nature conservation management planning. 

Carpathian Convention WG Biodiversity meetings on 19th and 20th May 2021

Today and tomorrow, on the 19th and 20th of May, the Twelfth Meeting of the Working Group on Biodiversity (WG Biodiversity) of the Carpathian Convention will take place. Similar to previous year, both meeting days will be held in an online format.

During the first day, participants will go through the draft of the WG Biodiversity Work Plan 2021 – 2023 to analyse the relevant documents for the WG Biodiversity activities. The Report on population status of large carnivores and monitoring methods in the Carpathians will be then discussed alongside International Action Plan on the Conservation of Large Carnivores and Ensuring Ecological Connectivity. 

Other projects, relevant for the implementation of the Action Plan, will also be presented. Among those, we will specifically touch upon the Centralparks, as well as the ConnectGREEN and SaveGREEN projects, which focus on ecological connectivity in the Carpathians. Moreover, the WG Biodiversity will also put their heads together about the Successful Wildlife Crime Prosecution in Europe (SWiPE) project, which is another recently started EU LIFE project in the region.

During the second day, participants will largely examine the Post – 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Here, we will go through the updates on the Post-2020 GBF process, discuss the role and contribution of the Carpathian Convention, as well as elaborate on the Trilateral Memorandum of Cooperation between the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Alpine Convention and the Carpathian Convention. Furthermore, we will also open the floor for fruitful discussions on both the Carpathian Wetland Initiative and Forum Carpaticum 2021.

Most importantly from the Centralparks project side is that on day two, representatives of the project will present the activities of Centralparks and the efforts related to the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas (CNPA). Here, we will have the opportunity to present the updates on the CNPA activities, including the 3rd CNPA Conference. Finally, meeting attendees will go through the Citizen Science in the Carpathians, which is another essential, this time – Visegrad project, that concerns the biodiversity issues in the Carpathians.

10th Meeting of the Carpathian Convention Working Group on Sustainable Tourism

On 15th of April 2021, the 10th Meeting of the Carpathian Convention Working Group on Sustainable Tourism (WG Tourism) took place. The meeting had two key objectives: a) to get updates on the implementation of the Protocol on Sustainable Tourism to the Carpathian Convention (hereinafter the Protocol) in the Carpathian countries and b) to facilitate discussion on further activities of the WG Tourism with the support of the Carpathian Sustainable Tourism Platform (CSTP) and its official Centres. The degree to which both of these aims have been taken into account by the parties to the Convention can be evaluated in the update section of the table below.

Country Updates
Czech Republic– National document to implement the Protocol has been enforced.
– National roundtables on the process of the Carpathian Convention take place on a regular basis.
– Besides the implementation of the specific projects related to the Carpathian Convention, the country is also proactive in other sustainability-related developments e.g., European Cultural Route of Saints Cyril and Methodius.
Hungary– Active in implementing the Carpathian Convention in general.
– Legislation regarding the sustainable tourism has been specifically influential at the national level: it has become a horizontal goal in various national plans and strategies, produced by the Hungarian government.
Poland– To date, several ministries have supported the development of the sustainable tourism practices in the Carpathians. Financing is currently dedicated towards the projects which will do both – create better tourist routes as well as promote safety within those routes.
– 1 memorandum of cooperation has been signed within the frame of the CSTP, namely – MoC – between the CSTP Centre – Poland and the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention.
– Poland is also actively developing sustainable highking tourism e.g., Trekking without backpack project.
Romania– Active in implementing the Strategy for Sustainable Development in the Carpathians. For detailed information on the country’s updates in relation to this theme, please click here.
Slovakia– This year, the country focuses on the promotion of the sustainable practices in the protected areas.
– Ministry of Environment of Slovak Republic is actively working with several local and regional organisations, especially focusing on cleaning mountain trails together with hiking and cycling spots.
– Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic is also an important actor within the sustainable tourism realm. To check some of the projects supported by this authority please click here.
Ukraine– Sustainable development in the Carpathians is promoted alongside general government as well as several other related private (especially regional) organisations.
– Network of national parks and relevant infrastructure for sustainable tourism is also in progress.
– The country is preparing to host an online meeting with relevant sustainable tourism experts from around the world.
Table 1: Countries’ updates from the 10th Meeting of the Carpathian Convention Working Group on Sustainable Tourism

Centralparks and sustainable tourism 

During the final session of this meeting, various organisations presented the ongoing projects and good practices on sustainable tourism in the Carpathian region. Among these, the Centalparks project, together with its key focus on the integration of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development, were observed. 

A milestone of the project in the realm of sustainable tourism is the Draft Strategy on Local sustainable Tourism Development in the Carpathians. The main focus of this Draft is to enhance the contribution of tourism to the sustainable development of the local economy in the Carpathians. This, in turn, should allow a more equal sharing of benefits and revenues from the tourism sector throughout the Carpathian municipalities. Furthermore, the Draft Strategy also aims to mitigate the impacts of tourism on fragile mountain ecosystems of the Carpathians by dispersing, redirecting and channeling part of the regular tourism traffic out of the post sensitive sites of the protected areas to less ecologically sensitive areas.

The implementation of the Draft is planned under the three separate pilot actions to be launched in spring 2021 in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovak Republic. The pilot implementation will involve Carpathian protected areas and local communities.

Join the Youth Video Contest!

The Interreg ConnectGREEN project is currently promoting an exciting video contest. By participating in this contest, you can contribute to the awareness raising practices within ConnectGREEN, which is run by partners from five European countries, with an aim to safeguard ecological corridors in the Danube-Carpathian region. If you are passionate about protecting European wildlife, do join us!

ConnectGREEN

The Danube-Carpathian region is one of the last strongholds for the large carnivores, such as the: grey wolf, Eurasian lynx and brown bear. In recent decades, however, the habitats of such carnivores as well as of other important species of wild animals have been severely threatened by the ongoing infrastructure developments.

To avoid further fragmentation of these habitats, ConnectGREEN therefore aims to increase the presence of ecological corridors, allowing the animals to move safely and freely between the preferred habitats. In its simplest form, the idea of the ecological corridors is summarised concisely in this video:

Am I eligible to join the contest?

For the contest, ConnectGREEN is inviting all students from both schools and universities from Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Serbia, to join the project on the ride. In order to familiarise yourself with the specific criteria that your country holds for this event, please check the respective website below.

Contest deadline

The deadline for video submissions is 28th April 2021. The contest itself will run from 30th April to 14th May. On 19th May, the winners will be announced. Don’t miss out!

Let’s celebrate this Earth Day together!

Every year on 22nd of April the world celebrates the Earth day. Here are some interesting facts to get you intrigued:

  • On the first Earth Day in 1920, more than 20 million people protested on the streets all across the United States to urge politicians to take action against the environmental degradation. To this day, this event remains the largest single day protest in human history.
  • On Earth Day 2016, the Paris Agreement was signed. This environmental agreement is often referred to as a milestone in the global climate change regime.
  • On Earth Day 2020, over 100 million people around the globe observed the 50th anniversary of this event from their home screens. This, again, was the largest (online) mass mobilisation in history.

If you are after some additional facts, do watch this fascinating video:

What is the idea behind this year’s event?

The key point behind this year’s event is innovation. Moreover, it is about putting the concept of innovation into the two specific perspectives.

First, it is about driving and supporting further technological innovations that are developed accordingly to the environmentally sustainable standards. In other words, the technology that we should strive to promote within the society has to do good not only for humans, but also for the environment. Among the most crucial examples here is GreenTech/ CleanTech. In its production chain, this technology group uses the power of renewable energy sources such as the sun, wind, moving water, organic plant material and the earth’s heat. By not using the environmentally harmful alternatives such as oil, coal, or natural gas, green technology is the best option that could get us one step closer towards achieving the sustainable environmental future.

Second, it is about the innovative or rather transformative mindset of oneself. That stated, this Earth Day therefore places a solid emphasis on the actions that every individual should consider in order to become a more sustainable being. Simply put, it is what you do with your own habits that matters, as it then serves as an example for the rest of the world to follow!

If you would like to get a better grasp into any of these topics, do use the free-of-change online event opportunities on the official Earth Day website.

Earth Day and the Carpathians

Every event that takes place under the Earth Day celebrations is aimed at improving the general status of the environment. Moreover, these events are also aimed at transforming the ways in which humans view the environment. The latter, in turn, is specifically promoted to ensure that the standings of each individual as well as any other business or government entity in general do not cause further environmental degradation.

All of the mentioned context is crucial for the activities we run within Centralparks. This is the region with the unique ecosystems which are inhabited by the likewise unique species. By increasing the environmental protection and improving the management of such protected areas we will make sure to stick to the Earth Day concepts. Moreover, since the Earth Day seeks to promote better society mobilisation practices at all the possible levels – that is also another foundation of the many projects of ours.