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On December 5th 2019, several alpine stakeholders will gather in the Regional Natrue park of Chartreuse to exchange their views on the challenges of tourism in alpine protected areas. The purpose will also be to discuss the opporunities and risks for the parks related to touristic development, against the background of climate change and new forms of outdoor sports. This workshop will also be an opportunity to define any possibility of a new common project regarding these topics. if you want to register, please follow this link.  

Published in Events of ALPARC
Wednesday, 11 September 2019 09:04

Final Event Destination Parks

The final event of Destination Parks will take place on September 11, 2019 in Bern Switzerland.

The results of the projects will be presented along with some outstanding good practice examples, before exploring further ways to move ahead on the development of a common alpine strategy on the future development and promotion of sustainable toursim in protected areas.

Please find the programme here.

Published in Events of ALPARC
Tuesday, 30 July 2019 12:27

The Double Nature of Protected Areas

In their most recent editions, eco-mont wrote two interesting editorials on the mission of Protected Areas (PAs).

The general trend regarding PAs administration is to favor touristic and local development over preservation, education and research – PAs core mission.

With his 30 years of experience as a coordinator for the Research Council of the Swiss National Park, Thomas Scheurer explains that three factors are pushing PAs to invest in image building, branding, touristic offers and facilities:

  • A change in social demand. Today’s PAs are expected to be a resource for local and touristic development.
  • Economic development is preferred to nature conservation since it is dynamic and based on new technologies, giving an image of progress whereas conservation is seen as being static and only produces results on the long term.
  • PAs tend to build a strong institutional presence in order to successfully interact with the governance system they are part of and, in particular, with municipalities and provinces.

The author finds two particularly simple and effective solutions: putting a limit (fixed percentage) on funds for institutional investments and separating management conservation from nature marketing management.

Eco-mont’s latest edition opens with an editorial by Herbert Wölger, the Managing Director of Gesäuse National Park. The author tries to address the matter from the perspective of PA managers and underlines that all managers should respect their core mission of conservation and, at the same time, contribute to regional development. However, he acknowledges the existence of a major problem: “We receive applause for short-term economic development but little recognition for long-term ecological conservation.”

PAs have one major challenge - gather long-term funding for long-term results in nature conservation.  If European instruments like LIFE program allow PAs to start pursuing their core mission, their limited duration still constitutes a major obstacle in the long run.

The editorial ends with some examples of nature conservation measures that can benefit PAs.

This is an invitation to develop new and innovative ways to find a conciliation between economic development and nature conservation by exploiting the first to enhance the second.

We invite you to read the full articles at the following links:

The Natura 2000 network is the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world. It was established in 1992 with the Habitats Directive. Ensuring effective management of individual Natura 2000 sites remains a challenge in most EU countries which hinders the full implementation of the Nature Directives. 



What are the Core Competencies that Nature 2000 and Protected Area Managers should have?

The LIFE project tries to answer to this question in its Technical Report.

Starting from the analysis of the ‘Fitness Check’ of Birds and Habitats Directives, some critical issues have been identified in their implementation. More specifically, to ameliorate Natura 2000 management in its practical dimension, improvements in the following areas are required:

  • management planning,
  • provision of more and better information,
  • increased guidance, more integration and joined-up delivery with other policies,
  • increased awareness and involvement of stakeholders.

Specifically, it is fundamental to keep a strong connection between all Natura 2000 sites, without forgetting their specific context and needs.

Identification and Assessment of Competencies for Management of Natura 2000

This is the title of the Report that constitutes the first activity of the LIFE project. It is the result of the findings of a technical workshop in which the project team and invited experts analysed the IUCN Global Register of Competencies for Protected Area Practitioners.

Its structure:

  1. An analysis of functions required to be performed by site managers for the efficient implementation of Natura 2000, based on the results of the Fitness Check of the Nature Directives (2016) and on the Nature Directives’ legal requirements;
  2. A methodological framework for the development of a coherent, competence-based approach to capacity building for Natura 2000 site management;
  3. A defined list of key competencies identified as being particularly relevant for Natura 2000 site managers across Europe, which lies in the fields of communication and collaboration, awareness and education and biodiversity conservation practices.

Building capacities for Nature 2000 Site Managers

The project also aims at offering 3 blended-learning opportunities for Natura 2000 & Protected Area Managers in 2020 to enhance management practices in the protection of nature, with the support of e-learning and other innovative tools. The call to participate will open at the end of 2019.

Published in News from the Alps

The Parco Naturale Prealpi Giulie is now recognized by UNESCO as a new Biosphere Reserve. Biosphere Reserves are designated by national governments and then recognized by UNESCO under its Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme, which promotes sustainable development. Earlier this month, the MAB gave the park the status of a Biosphere Reserve, acknowledging the site’s natural value and the park’s activities associated to sustainability such its eco-museums. This internationally recognized status is only given to sites that are successful in connecting conservation, development, and learning. The president of the park, Andrea Beltrame, states that the park has been working since 2011 to earn this status and that it will help them with future actions aimed at reconnecting humans to nature. 

What is a Biosphere Reserve

Biosphere reserves are “Science for Sustainability support sites” where innovative approaches to sustainable development, resource management, and interactions between nature and society can be tested. They are places of reconciliation of natural and cultural diversity with economic and social development. 

Biosphere reserves are made up of three zones: 1. Core areas for the preservation of landscapes, ecosystems and biodiversity; 2. A Buffer zone which surrounds the core area and reinforces scientific research, monitoring, and education; and 3. A Transition area for economic and human development to take place in a way that is socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable. 

For more info:

The Parc National des Ecrins was granted a spot on the International Union for Nature Conservation’s (IUCN) ‘Green List’ earlier this month during France’s Nature Congress (June 12th, 2019) in Marseille. The 'Green List’ Label gives international recognition to well-managed and well-governed protected areas and conservation sites. In order to obtain this status, the Parc National des Ecrins had to meet 17 environmental and social requirements under 4 themes: good governance, sound design and planning, effective management and positive conservation outcomes. Thierry Durand, who initiated the process of obtaining this label in 2016, sees this as an opportunity for the park to work on concrete projects in biodiversity especially in the context of climate change. The Parc National des Ecrins is now one of 46 parks worldwide with this recognition.


About 80 hunters from the three regions Haute Savoie (France), Val d’Aosta (Italy) and Valais (Switzerland) met in Chamonix to share their experience about their respective hunting practices and to evaluate the impact of hunting on ecological connectivity in the transboundary area, which is one of the Working Regions of the ALPBIONET2030 project. This meeting, organized under the framework of ALPBIONET2030 project by the Hunters Federation of Upper-Savoie, was the first time for many of the participants to discover how hunting is managed in the other regions across the border. A lot of similarities but also several big differences could be assessed in wildlife management practices. The picture was completed by the presentation of Jonas Kahlen from Veterinary University of Vienna, who presented an overview of hunting practices in the Alpine countries and its effects on wildlife. Moreover, the impacts of other outdoor activities (skiing, paragliding, trail running, biking, etc…) on wildlife populations were analyzed in the afternoon. Concrete proposals for a closer cooperation on various issues and a regular exchange between the actors of wildlife management in the three countries were defined in a plenary discussion and the foundation for this reinforced collaboration was laid. The Final Conference of the ALPBIONET2030 project will take place in Chamonix on October 8th and 9th, 2019 and will be the occasion to report the progress made on this cooperation.

This was the emblematic title of the French Nature Reserves’ 38th Congress that was entirely dedicated to a new way of managing protected areas in order to adapt to climate change.
When it comes to climate change the Alps are particularly effected. The French Nature Reserve (RNF) Congress, that took place in Le-Mônetier-les-Bains/Serre-Chevalier (France), carried out an extensive program over four days (from June 4th - 8th, 2019), starting with the official launch of the European project Pitem Biodivalp and concluding with on-site visits to surrounding protected areas.
The Congress had a technical approach with the general objective of raising awareness and inciting participants to take on the issues of climate change and its effects through managing protected areas in an innovative and climate resilient way.

During the Congress, the General Assembly of RNF took place allowing all the network members to discuss internal issues. Moreover, field activities to discover biodiversity in the nearby protected areas along with their climate change adapted management were organised. All of the outcomes of the conference were presented in a closing plenary opened to all participants.
Alparc took an active role in the session dedicated to exchanges within protected area networks and the RNF. It also attended the thematic session in order to enhance its knowledge on climate change and to gather some useful information on the degree of adaptation that can be implemented in protected areas.

Under the pression of the global phenomenon, protected areas have a fundamental role to play - enhancing nature as a strong measure to adapt to climate change.


More information at:

Mont Avic Natural Park, as part of the 30th anniversary of its foundation, promoted a study day entitled "Management of protected areas and ecosystem services - interactions and synergies with EMAS" dedicated to analyzing the synergies between the planning tools of protected areas, ecosystem services and EMAS (Eco Management and Audit Scheme). The event was sponsored by the Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA) and the Comitato per l'Ecolabel e l'Ecoaudit, who is responsible for issuing EMAS registration in Italy.

The day featured a discussion on the quantification of ecosystem services, a complex process that requires a multidisciplinary approach due to the variety of services it provides and for its multidimensional value. This discussion was held in light of the concept ‘Ecosystem Services Payment’, first introduced into Italian national legislation in 2015 and whose beneficiaries include municipalities, protected areas and organizations that work in the collective management of common goods.

The evaluations concerning ecosystem services are of great relevance in protected areas. Mont Avic Natural Park, together with Gran Paradiso National Park and other protected areas, were recently involved in a test action, promoted by Federparchi and ISPRA. The goal of this action was to recognize EMAS registration as an objective tool contributing to the maintenance and provision of ecosystem services. Its results were presented during the study day and will later be published as part of the 2019 annual update of the EMAS Environmental Declaration, available on the EMAS page of the institutional website.

During the day, the Mont Avic Natural Park also presented the contents of the new Spatial Management Plan, which came into force in 2018, and explicitly recognizes the Environmental Management System (according to EMAS Regulation) as an operational tool.

The event ended with a viewing of the video "Summary of the EMAS 2018-2021 Environmental Declaration of the Mont Avic Natural Park", available here on YouTube. The video won ‘best multimedia product’ on May 25th, during the EMAS Italia 2019 Awards.

To request guest speakers’ speeches from the event, please write to:

Monday, 15 July 2019 09:00

European Parks Academy 2019 Seminars

European Parks Academy will be organizing 3 seminars from July 15th- 21st

Seminar A World Heritage Sites and Sustainable Tourism: Tourism presents itself as both an opportunity and a challenge for protected areas and World Heritage Sites. This seminar will focus on touristic regulations and recommendations of the World Heritage Convention along with practical tools to for sustainable management of tourism flows.

Seminar B Ecological Monitoring and innovative technologies: This seminar will include training for the latest technological innovations in wildlife and vegetation monitoring such as smartphone apps and remote-sensing based change detection.

Seminar C Transboundary Protected Areas and Successful: Learning how to find common approaches and meet the challenges of intercultural communication along with existing cooperation models and their benefits.

The complete program can be found online here.