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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/

How to make learning approaches interactive and at the same time, effectively implement the principles of Mountain-oriented Education in school activities? These problems, including the active involvement of students in field actions, were faced during the development of the Alpine School Model - one of the main outputs of the YOUrALPS project. Under this project, the Alpine school App was developed, a practical pedagogical tool supporting the theoretical approach of the Alpine School Model.

 

The App

The interactive Alpine school App allows learners and educators to directly observe nature all along its life cycle. The user can describe and upload Mountain-oriented educational activities carried out all over the Alps as well. The App can be used as the perfect complement to in-class lessons in order to explore the issues related to Alpine sustainable development. It also favors exchanges among all the users, who can share their experiences and observations.


How does it work?
The App is ready-to-use. Its main function is ‘add spot’, making it possible to choose between three pillars: Observation of the Environment, Governance and Socio-Economic.
The first category consists of the phenological observation1 of fauna, flora and weather. It allows the user not only to upload pictures and descriptions of plants and animals all along their life cycle, but also to collect and share information on the weather such as recording particularly hot days for instance. The final objective is to create a common database with all the observations. This is a powerful tool to understand nature life cycle and to understand the vulnerability of nature and to enhance its protection.
With regard to Governance, this category allows users to share educational activities. It is dedicated to all those activities that deal with the sustainable development of the Alpine region.
Finally, under the Socio-Economic pillar users can record places where it is possible to consume sustainably, from shops to restaurants and local markets.

 

To download and use the App:
IOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/alpine-school-app-spotteron/id1461511006
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.spotteron.alpineschoolapp
Computer or laptop: https://www.spotteron.com/alpineschoolapp/

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1 Wikipedia definition of phenology: Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate, as well as habitat factors (such as elevation).

 

 

 

Published in News from the Alps
Thursday, 11 June 2020 09:30

IUCN World Conservation Congress

 

The 2020 World Conservation Congress will take place in Marseille, France and will address the pressing conservation and sustainability challenges on local and global levels along with actions being taken. Workshops, training and capacity building sessions, and exhibitions will take place during the event.

Check back here for updates: https://www.iucncongress2020.org/

Sunday, 08 September 2019 00:09

International Mountain Conference in Innsbruck

The conference is one of the most comprehensive international meetings on mountain research, with more that 40 workshop topic announcements and keynote speakers from various disciplines and countries. This conference is an opportunity to be a part of a scientific exchange and the creation of new concepts in interdisciplinary mountain science.

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.

The IALE Congress, an international congress addressing Landscape Ecologically, will be organization this event under the theme ‘Nature and Society facing the Anthropocene’. The congress will be an opportunity to for the international community in this field to discover the latest news, exchange with people from around the work, and share and learn from others.

More than one hundred people interested in education for sustainable development participated in the international conference “Learning and Networking for sustainable development in the Alps” from May 14th to 15th.  The conference marked the beginning of a new form of education as the Alpine School Model and the international network on mountain-oriented education ‘OurAlps’ were presented for the first time.

 

The Alpine School Model as a tool to empower young people

‘Educate youth in the sense of mountain-oriented education for a sustainable future in the Alps’ - this is the motto of the approach promoted by the Alpine School Model which is based on the basic principles of educating on sustainable development. Moreover, the innovative approach includes outdoor learning, interdisciplinarity methods and aims at integrating non-formal approaches into formal education in order to re-connect youth to their mountain territory.


After a presentation of the approach by several pilot sites, the future of the Model and its integration in formal education curricula was debated during a roundtable involving official representatives from Italy, Austria, France and Slovenia. For example, in Italy the so-called “Reti di scopo”, several local networks made up of schools and other institutions, may manage the certification process of Alpine schools and their partners in the future. Also, in Austria, the Alpine school model will be implemented in the Burgenland region in order to ensure further dissemination and promotion. Promising remarks were expressed by the Minister for Environment and Climate of the Lombardy Region, who hopes that the Alpine school model will support the necessary changes towards a culture of sustainable development.

 

Press Release Mello

OurAlps network: connecting alpine students and educators
The second big conference input involved the presentation of OurAlps, the international network on Mountain-oriented Education in the Alps, which aims to bring together stakeholders from different domains to allow for exchanges to occur on the Alpine level. Its characteristics and future perspectives were discussed together with representatives from different international and national associations such as Alplab, Alpine Town of the Year, Umweltdachverband and the WEEC network. In this context, it also became clear that thinking outside the box and considering the inclusion of periurban areas may be highly important for an Alpine approach to mountain-oriented education.


On the second conference day, three workshops were organised allowing participants to engage in deeper discussions. While the workshop on the Alpine School Model allowed for the public to discover what the Model is about in practice, the workshop on the OurAlps network encouraged the development of future scenarios. Finally, the workshop on Climate Change and Biodiversity gave the participants a possibility to dive into thematical discussions.


For more information on the project YOUrALPS and its outputs:
https://www.alpine-space.eu/projects/youralps/en/home
OurAlps network: https://www.ouralps.org/en
Facebook: YOUrALPS
Twitter: @YOUrALPS

Published in International news

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

Climate Change is threatening our planet. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s ‘Special Report’, if global temperatures rise above 1.5 °C (above pre-industrial levels) we will face extreme climate events, a substantial increase in biodiversity loss, and difficulties gathering fresh water.

 

Climate Change in the Alps
The situation in the Alpine region is even more alarming, with rising temperatures about “twice as large as the global trend” (Brunetti et al., 2009). Furthermore, climate change’s effects are three time stronger in the Alps than the world’s average (OECD, 2007) and gathering fresh water is becoming an increasingly urgent issue. Over 90 percent of glacier volume in the Alps could be lost by 2100. Ice melting has become a symbol of climate change in the Alps, since it is the most visible and easily measured effect of climate change and due to the glaciers’ high importance for the region’s landscapes, ecosystems and economy. ‘The Cryosphere’ review envisages two alarming scenarios in which, depending on the increase in global temperatures, Alpine glaciers may or may not survive. 
Alpine States are committed to climate change action and have adopted the Alpine Convention’s ‘Declaration on Climate Change’ (2006) and ‘Action Plan on Climate Change in the Alps’ (2009).   Since 2011, “taking action on climate change” has been one of the priorities set during the ‘Multi-Annual Work Programme of the Alpine Conference’. This brought about the establishment of the Alpine Climate Board in 2016, which coordinates all climate change-related activities.

 

Concrete actions in Alpine protected areas

Several Alpine protected areas are carrying out concrete actions to deal with the effects of climate change which mainly consist in monitoring and research, adaptation and mitigation measures, promotion, educational activities and dissemination of relevant information to the general public.


In France, the project Alpages sentinelles, started in 2000, studies and measures the effects of climate change on 31 Alpine pastures. The project’s goal is to develop adaptation measures to preserve the traditional pastoral activity in the Alps. It involves the Ecrins National Park, Vanoise National Park, Mercantour National Park, Chartreuse Nature Regional Park, Vercors Nature Regional Park, and Luberon Nature Regional Park. The partners of Alpage sentinelles met last March to analyse the results of 2018 - the warmest year ever recorded since the launch of the project. They agreed that the most effective measure is to manage the Alpine pastures in a way that avoids further stress on the grasslands. Indeed, pastures are already feeling the effects of increasing temperatures, resulting in the depletion of vegetation.
In the same direction, the National Park of Ecrins and the National Park Gran Paradiso launched the LIFE project PastorAlp. Based on a consistent activity of transboundary research, the final output of the project consists of developing a platform of tools to facilitate the adoption of climate change adaptation strategies in the two parks.

 

3pnv006188 Renoncule des glaciers. Au 2e plan les Roches Blanches au fd. de g. à dr. Col des Léchours Pointe des Léchours Col du Pelvo Roux e

 

The Interreg Alcotra CClimaTT project involves transborder protected areas from France and Italy. The objectives of the project include:  gathering more knowledge and understanding of climate change effects; involving and informing the general public; and influencing people’s behaviour toward greater environmental responsibility. Within this framework, the Ente Aree Protette Alpi Marittime and National Park of Ecrins, offered 40,000 euros to eight projects, selected by a jury of experts, that promote a resilient and climate-smart future under the motto “If climate changes… we change as well!”. The winners will implement activities for the mitigation and adaptation to climate change in Alpine areas.


The Festival scientifique “Avec ou sans Glace” is an example of a series of activities held to inform the general public on the effect of climate change in the Alps with specific reference to glaciers melting. The conference organised by the National Park of Vanoise (France) included a ‘geological hike’ to discover the impact of the melting glaciers and a conference where climate change experts interacted with the public.

Apart from informing the general public, protected areas play a key role in carrying out educational activities on climate change effects. For example, the Natural Park of Adamello (Italy), together with a local high school, organised outdoor activities dedicated to pupils under the Interreg project YOUrALPS: The trees in the Alps as a signal of climate change. Students were guided by experts to discover the effects of climate change on forests to better understand the changing ecosystem. In Austria, still under the YOUrALPS project, educational activities were carried out in the Nature Park Geschriebenstein where high school students were confronted with the issue of extreme weather events caused by climate change. During on-field activities, they experimented with climate change adaptation and mitigation measures against floods.

In Slovenia, the Triglav National Park is part of the Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve. This initiative is an intergovernmental research programme that establishes a global network of biosphere reserves. This network strives to uphold the balance between people and nature, biodiversity and sustainable development and upkeep of cultural values. This is a great example of the enhancement of an active ‘sink’ of GHGs, which is a strong mitigation measure against climate change.

Moreover, the Berchtesgaden National Park, in Bavaria, is involved in different climate monitoring activities. One of these activities is the Klimamessnetz (Climate monitoring network).  It relies on the National park service and the German weather service to track the changes in Alpine climate in the long run and in a large area. Moreover, the National Park is one of GLORIA-EUROPE research sites whose goal is to understand future scenarios we will have to face due to climate change.

Climate Change is producing severe effects on the Alps, but protected areas are fighting to resist.


Protected areas actions:


Alpages sentinelles


Pastoralp LIFE Project


Festival scientifique “Avec ou sans Glace”


Triglav National Park, the Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve


Klimamessnetz


If climate changes… We change as well!


The trees in the Alps as a signal of climate change


“Draußen unterrichten“– Biodiversity Strategies


We are Alps


Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments

 

Bibliography

Brunetti et al., 2009, ‘Climate variability and change in the Greater Alpine Region over the last two centuries based on multi-variable analysis’, in International Journal of Climatology

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2018, ‘Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5 ºC’, as seen in https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/, 25-04-2019

NASA, 2019, ‘Responding to Climate Change’ as seen in https://climate.nasa.gov/solutions/adaptation-mitigation/, 26-04-2019

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2007, ‘Climate Change in the European Alps: Adapting Winter Tourism and Natural Hazards Management’, ed. Shardul Agrawala

Zekollari et al., 2019, ‘Modelling the future evolution of glaciers in the European Alps under the EURO-CORDEX RCM ensemble’, in The Cryosphere, volume 13, pp. 1125-1146

Published in News from the Alps