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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

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.

Source: http://www.ecrins-parcnational.fr/actualite/ecrins-accedent-liste-verte-uicn

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/

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
Thursday, 28 February 2019 15:32

Proceedings ForumAlpinum 2018 online

Alpine Water - common good or source of conflicts?

The proceedings of the FoumAlpinum 2018 and the 7th Water Conference of the Alpine Convention have been published online. The volume contains abstracts of all presentations and posters dealing with questions of water use in the Alpine region and foreseeable future water use conflicts, as well as measures to avoid them. The proceedings also contain a summary of the 7th Water Conference and the results of the mapping of hotspots of water use in the Alpine region, that were recorded during the conference with the participants. The key messages of the ForumAlpinum 2018 are summarized in a policy brief addressed to the Alpine Convention and relevant administrations, entitled „Action needed to prevent future conflict over the use and management of water in the Alpine region in times of climate change and growing demand“.
 
The ForumAlpinum 2018 has been organised by the International Scientific Committee for Alpine Research (ISCAR) together with the 7th Water Conference of the Alpine Convention and the Macroregion Alpine Space (www.forumalpinum.org).

Download Proceedings:  https://doi.org/10.1553/forumalpinum2018

Source: ISCAR

Published in News from the Alps

Awareness-raising and communication actions on human-nature conflicts in nature and mountain sports are growing throughout the Alpine region. To support nature conservation and to reduce the disturbance of wildlife by winter sports, flyers, web pages, videos, events and meetings have been developed in several Alpine protected areas under the umbrella of the international initiative “Be Part of the Mountain”. 

Some Protected Areas in the front line
This winter, the Vanoise National Park (France) has launched an awareness campaign on this subject, disseminating awareness messages and information on the needs of wildlife. Several communication tools have been produced with the slogan “Be Part of the Mountain” and a specific graphic design as well as t-shirts, stickers and flyers. The initiative is also supported by different local ambassadors from the field of sport for a wider dissemination of the campaign throughout the country.
In the Ecrins National Park (France) the rangers organize meetings, events, animations on the theme of winter wildlife disturbance and especially on the topic "traces and clues" for the general public including youngsters. The Park has been involved in this topic for several years with the “Chuut!” campaign.
In Italy, the Aree Protette dell’Ossola with CIPRA IT, also based on the BpM campaign, are developing several activities in the frame of the RESICETS project.The initiative involves several stakeholders of the tourism sector and aims at developing information paths for tourists, awareness-raising campaigns and training courses for local stakeholders on the impact of tourism on wildlife.


A common communication strategy: “Be Part of the Mountain”
The “Be part of the Mountain” initiative was launched by ALPARC in 2018. It is an Alps-wide communication campaign that allies protected areas, nature protection organisations, public bodies, Alpine clubs and ambassadors – across the Alps, aiming at facilitating the exchange of good practices, developing common awareness-raising tools and implementing joint communication action to initiate behavioural change in outdoor participants. The video presenting the campaign is available here. At present, 8 members have officially signed the charter and others have expressed their interest in joining the initiative.

Are you interested in the initiative? Join the BpM campaign and sign the charter!

 

For more information see: https://bepartofthemountain.org/en/

 

Further information about some initiatives in protected ares:

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