The primary aim of LIFE PRIMED is to improve the conservation status of habitats and species in the Nestos Delta and Palo Laziale woods, Natura 2000 sites in Greece and Italy, respectively. The targeted habitats are:
(a) Mediterranean temporary ponds (code 3170*),
(b) Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (code 91E0*),
(c) Arborescent matorral with Laurus nobilis (code 5230*),
(d) Pannonian-Balkanic turkey oak-sessile oak forests (code 91M0),
all protected under Annex I of the Habitats Directive 92/43/EC.
Moreover, the project aims to improve the conservation status of characteristic species, particularly:
(a) Hermann's tortoise (Eurotestudo hermanni),
(b) european pond turtle (Emys or)bicularis),
(c) jersey tiger moth (Euplagia quadripunctaria),
all protected under Annex II of the Habitats Directive, as well as the following species listed in the Birds Directive 2009/147/EC:
a) common pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)
Direct conservation interventions are planned in both Natura 2000 sites (SCI GR1150010 and SCI and IT6030022) such as increasing the area of ‘Mediterranean temporary ponds’. The project also aims to quantify the causes leading to ‘unfavourable’ conservation status of these habitats and species, and develop mechanisms to sustain management actions after the project. Moreover, it aims at engaging local residents in conservation actions, especially related to tourism to support local economy.
The specific objectives of the Project are the following:
- to quantify the exact causes that have led to the current unfavourable conservation status and to define and implement appropriate and innovative actions for restoring the stressed ecosystems;
- to develop mechanisms to ensure the continuation of ecosystem conservation and management activities even after the end of the project;
- to present the project's results to the scientific community and relevant institutions in order to expand the approach of restoration, management and valorisation in other similar coastal ecosystems in Italy, Greece and Europe;
- to sustain the local and regional economy by involving residents in the activities of the Project and in the tourist management and exploitation of the sites;
- to promote knowledge of the areas, its habitats and species through environmental awareness and education initiatives.
- Increase in the surface area of ‘Mediterranean temporary ponds’ in Palo Laziale (Italy) by 0.8 ha and in Nestos Delta (Greece) by 0.02 ha;
- Recovery of 40 ha of the habitat ‘Pannonian-Balkanic turkey oak-sessile oak forests’ in Palo Laziale;
- Reversal of forest decline via improving the chemical-physical conditions of the soil in the ‘Pannonian-Balkanic turkey oak-sessile oak forests’ (Italy) and ‘Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior’ habitats by providing water during the dry season through a self-sustainable hydraulic system;
- Increase in the population sizes of Eurotestudo hermanni, Emys orbicularis, Euplagia quadripunctaria, and also common pheasant (Phasianus colchicus);
- Production and dissemination of good practices for the restoration and management of floodplain and riparian ecosystems and mainstreaming these into the methodological approach of the Sustainable Forest Management Strategic Plan (SFMSP);
- Inform at least 400 nature professionals (e.g. managing authorities of Natura 2000 sites, NGO representatives, etc.) during the project’s International Workshops across Europe, and train at least 200 people (e.g. university students) on conservation engineering, restoration ecology, and EU funding programmes to create new curricula; and
- Engage at least 2 500 tourists and residents in tourism and recreation initiatives (e.g. local food festivals and/or markets, guided naturalistic tours, Science and Junior Café, etc.) facilitated by the project, and at least 2 500 local residents via environmental awareness activities (e.g. guided tours, schools, volunteer campaigns, Bioblitz, Citizen Science activities, etc.).