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Species living in mountainous areas depend on unique climate conditions, which vary with elevation, for survival. Climate change is modifying these areas and has already resulted in temperature increases, changes in precipitation patterns and more extreme climatic events such as droughts and heat waves. These changes are already having noticeable effects on Alpine fauna and flora and many international studies approach the question of how affected species are managing to adapt to climate change. 

According to a study published in July 2019 in Nature Research, most common species, such as birds and deer, are unable to acclimatize to the speed of the climate change crisis. The report looked at 71 studies across 13 countries to access whether species’ phenological changes or adaptive responses were adequate to deal with climate change. Out of the species studied, almost all species were unable to handle the changes. 

Species rely on the timing of biological events to adapt their behavior to new environmental conditions. However, this is becoming a challenge as seasonal shifts are accelerating due to human activities. In the Alps, the early arrival of spring and summer is causing ecosystems to be out of sync, impacting animal reproduction and survival. For example, peak vegetation is happening before Alpine Ibex have their kids in Autumn, resulting in a higher mortality rate for their young. Climate change is also affecting migration patterns, as many species are forced to move upward an average of 100m to deal with rising temperatures. This dangerous lag between the natural world's ability to adapt is even greater for species that are already threatened by extinction. 

 “The fact that species struggle to adapt to the current rate of climate change means we have to take action immediately in order to at least halt or decrease the rate”Viktoriia Radchuk

Human-induced climate changes has already caused irreversible damage to biodiversity. Without drastic cuts in CO2 emissions and habitat restoration, climate change could change the world as we know it. 

More info: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/23/animals-failing-to-adapt-to-speed-of-climate-crisis-study-finds 

Climate change impacts on the Alps: https://creamontblanc.org/en/climate-change-and-its-impacts-alps 

Published in International news

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:  https://congres-reserves-naturelles-de-france.fr/

A new management plan for the preservation of the biodiversity in the Ristolas Mont Viso National Nature Reserve has been finalised. The Queyras Regional Nature Park, the managing authority of the Natural Reserve, has produced a massive 405 paged plan presenting a program based on 100 actions aiming to enhance life and biodiversity in the protected area within the next 10 years.

The experience gathered from the previous management plan of 2014-2018 allowed the agents of the natural reserve, with the support of the Scientific Board of the Queyras Park, to elaborate a more structured plan that is mostly based on the knowledge of the natural patrimony of the protected area. This second plan updates the Fauna Flora Habitats inventories plan, highlighting the high quantity of biodiversity within the nature reserve.

05 Isatis allioni

A management plan built on the knowledge of natural heritage 

Thanks to the work of the park agents and of the Scientific Board, 30 new habitats were classified in the Queyras wetlands. Moreover, in regards to wildlife, if the number of mammals, birdsand reptile species remained stable, 478 new species of insects were inventoried. Concerning Flora, 130 more taxa were identified and classified than in the previous project's inventory (Management Plan 1). This included some species like the Pastel of the Alps, which are only found in the town of Abriès-Ristolas; a fact that underlines the responsibility of the park managers in preserving this rare biodiversity.  The management plan also identifies the priority for the protection of certain endangered species: 33 for flora, 15 for vertebrate fauna

Conservation challenges

The conservation issues remain the same as for the previous Plan. They relate to visitor management, habitat and species conservation, information and knowledge sharing, the promotion of applied scientific research to management, and the administration and governance of wildlife and nature reserve. In this scenario, monitoring the impact of human activities is very important as well as observing climatic evolutions.

Actions

Some actions have already been launched. For instance, a collaboration with the French Alpine Club and the refuge of Viso  will reduce the impact of the economic and touristic use of the site as the installation of a hydroelectric power station and waste management system are on the agenda.

For further information:  https://www.pnr-queyras.fr/un-second-plan-de-gestion-pour-la-reserve-naturelle/

 

On May 6th, 2019, the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) published its report on the state of the world’s biodiversity.  145 scientists from 50 different countries and over 300 experts, carried out research for a period of 3 years. The report, 1,800 pages long, is the most exhaustive publication on biodiversity, citing over 15,000 scientific articles and references. The IPBES, whose mission is to examine the state of nature, its ecosystems and its benefits for humans, published a summary of its 2019 biodiversity rapport specifically aimed at policymakers. This summary was adopted by the 132 member states of the IPBES on May 4th.

If there’s one thing to remember from the IPBES report, it’s this - Over 1 million species are threatened by extinction due to human-induced climate change.

Biodiversity loss is accelerating at a rate never seen before. According to the report, we are at risk of losing 40 percent of amphibians, 33 percent of coral reefs, 10 percent of insects, and 25 percent of land vertebrates and fresh and saltwater marine life. The same goes for over a quarter of mammals.

What are the principle causes?

Biodiversity loss is directly linked to human activity. One of the major contributors is the agricultural industry which has transformed more than one third of land and 75 percent of fresh water sources for the consumption of animals. Other activities that have a direct impact on biodiversity include modifying land and water habitats, exploiting natural resources (often through illegal fishing and hunting), industrial pollution (e.g. plastic, pesticides) and the increase in urban areas.

The IPBES report reminds us that we benefit from ecosystems services and if we continue as ‘business-as-usual’, this loss in biodiversity will have serious consequences for the environment and humans around the world. Furthermore, those who depend the most on the environment, such as indigenous populations, will suffer the most.

However, it’s not too late to act. It we want to halt biodiversity loss, action must be taken immediately on all levels – local, national, and international, in order to save the planet.

Click here to find out more about the major findings of the report.

Published in International news

The registrations are open for the documentary for the Sondrio Festival 2019 – International Documentary Film Festival on Parks (33rd edition, Sondrio, Italy, from November 11th to 24th 2019) !The Festival is open to film-makers of documentaries featuring naturalistic, ethnographic and managerial aspects of National Parks, Nature Reserves and other types of Protected Areas. Films selected for the Festival will be considered for the First Prize “Town of Sondrio" Award (4,000 Euros), the “Stelvio National Park” Award (3,000 Euros) and, for films shot in the European Union, the “Lombardy Region” Award (3,000 Euros). Other prizes include the “Audience Jury” Award, the “Students Jury” Award and the “Renata Viviani” Special Award (1,500 Euros), assigned by a special Jury of representatives of the Italian Alpine Club. The Festival organization may create new categories out of competition for films that address environmental, agricultural and conservation issues, as well as sustainable development and human activities. Films should be entered sent not later than 20th May 2019. There is no entry fee. The Festival is managed by ASSOMIDOP, an association comprising Sondrio Town Council, the Italian Alpine Club, the B.I.M. Consortium, the Stelvio National Park and Orobie Valtellinesi Nature Park. 

Published in News from the Alps
Monday, 10 June 2019 10:23

Links4Soils summer school

The Links4Soils summer school will take place from June 10th of June to 14th 2019 on the Pokljuka Plateau, a part of the Triglav National Park in Slovenia (TNP) biosphere reserve.
Five exciting days of an interactive program with creative and inspiring minds on the Pokljuka plateau, Slovenia!


Members of the high school students in the alpine region are invited to join and learn about soils, how soil is vital for humans, nature, environment and entire life in terrestrial ecosystems. Soils, soil diversity, soil ecosystem services and protection are main topics that will be presented to the youth interestingly and understandably. Groups of five to six students with a school mentor will be hosted by the local organisers (the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia and the Slovenian Forest Service) and coached by an international group of professors of soil science and experts – Links4Soils project partners. Accommodation of participants (students and accompanying teachers, soil experts of international reputation as well as researchers from institutes and universities the school mentors) and meals will be arranged with the kind assistance of the TNP and the Slovenian Ministry of Defence.

For more information: https://alpinesoils.eu/summer-school/
Or contact:  jurka.lesjak@kis.si

 

Our Natural Treasures”: in 2019, the European Days of Parks is a call to reconnect with nature, to highlight the natural treasures that make our Protected Areas so special.
Europarc invites all European Protected Areas to organise events in and around the 24th May to jointly celebrate our natural treasures. There are promotional materials available in 30 languages. Events should be register here.
All information and promotional material available at: www.europarc.org/european-day-of-parks

You know about Ecological Connectivity, Fragmentation and Habitats? Well then, take up the challenge and test your knowledge in our picture quiz!
At this moment, a picture quiz is running to bring the topic of Ecological Connectivity closer to a wider public. In this perspective the project partners of the ALPBIONET2030 project have collected pictures and questions to set up an entertaining online picture quiz game and raise attention to the key topic of the project: ecological connectivity.
Let pictures speak instead of words: https://apps.facebook.com/fb-quizzes/ecological-connectivity

The International  Observation Day (IOD) for bearded vultures have started in 2006 and consist in a one-day simultaneous count of bearded vultures across the whole Alpine arc, organised by the International Bearded Vulture Monitoring network (IBM), which is coordinated by the VCF. Since 2012, bearded vultures are also counted in the Massif Central in France, in Aude in the French Pyrenes and since 2017 the IOD have also expanded to Andalusia, Spain.
This year´s count is on the 6th October 2018.All over the Alps, the Massif Central, the department Aude and Andalusia, people will spend the day in the mountain and keep an eye on the bearded vultures and count them.


This count allows for a thorough monitoring of the bearded vulture population status and distribution in the Alps. Furthermore, the count produces many sightings of identifiable birds, thus generating baseline data for survival analyses and demographic modelling. Besides the valuable information about the dynamics of the reintroduced population, the IODs also play an important role in creating public awareness for the project.

This event has become an important date for ornithologist and bird-watchers, who are fascinated by this large bird species. The number of volunteer observers has been growing every year: last year over 920 participants logged in almost 530 bearded vulture observations.Crossing the observation data with expert knowledge about the presence of territorial and tagged birds, last year the bearded vulture population size in the Alps has been estimated to be between 208 and 251 birds. For the Massif Central 6 birds have been counted, 5 in Aude and between 22 and 33 in Andalusia. Among the observed birds last year 12% were identified as juveniles, 15% as immature, 4% as subadult and 59% as adult birds. Furthermore, it was possible to identify individually 70 bearded vultures, thus providing us valuable information on their life history.

If you are interested in participating in the International Observation Day, please contact the regional coordinators below or the International Bearded Vulture Monitoring network (IBM) for any other question:

Austria - ferdinand.lainer@salzburg.gv.at
France – Haute-Savoie: etienne.marle@asters.asso.fr
France - Mercantour: monique.perfus@mercantour-parcnational.fr
France – Vanoise: jerome.cavailhes@vanoise-parcnational.fr
France - Écrins: christian.couloumy@gmail.com
France - Grands Causses: lea.giraud@lpo.fr
France - Vercors: benoit.betton@pnr-vercors.fr
France - Les Baronnies: gypaete@vautoursenbaronnies.com
France – Aude: yves.roullaud.aude@lpo.fr
Italy - Stelvio: enrico.bassi76@gmail.com
Italy - Aosta: c.chioso@regione.vda.it
Italy - Alpi Marittime: fabiano.sartirana@parcoalpimarittime.it
Spain – Andalusia: prodriguez@gypaetus.org
Switzerland: franziska.loercher@swild.ch

The IBM is partially funded by their partners, and by funding contributions from the EU LIFE Fund through the LIFE GypConnect and LIFE GypHelp, as well as the MAVA foundation.

 

VCF                IBM

Published in International news