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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

Is it possible to make the Alps  climate-neutral and resilient by 2050? The Permanent Secretary of the Alpine Convention lays out concrete actions for the Alpine region to turn this objective reality in its new publication "Climate-Neutral and Climate-Resilient Alps 2050". The publication highlights three central policies, coming from the 25th Alpine Convention: The Declaration of Innsbruck, the Alpine Climate Target System 2050 and the 7th Report on the State of the Alps “Natural Hazard Risk Governance”.  The Alpine Climate Target System 2050, prepared by the Alpine Climate Board over the last two years, describes specific actions that must be taken under 12 different sectors to protect the Alps from climate change. The 7th Report on the State of the Alps describes the future for natural hazard risk governance. 

The Alpine Convention’s new publication calls for the Contracting Parties to prioritize climate change action and policies to preserve the Alps’ natural heritage. These targets showcase the Alps as being a model for international cooperation and its role in climate change adaptation and mitigation

The publication “Climate-Neutral and Climate-resilient Alps 2050" is available in English, French, Italian, German and Slovenian

Published in News from the Alps

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

The international photography contest “Fotografare il Parco” is now open for its 13th edition. The contest, organized by the Stelvio, Gran Paradiso, Abruzzo-Lazio-Molise and Vanoise National Parks, is a must do for any photographer passionate about mountain wildlife. Although these national parks may seem far from each other, they are all connected through their beauty, natural landscapes, and biodiversity of plants and animals. Participating in this event is an opportunity to enhance these protected areas, since the winners’ photos will be used in the parks’ exhibitions, publications, websites and social networks. 

Participants can compete in four categories:  The Park Landscape, The Park Wildlife, The Park Microcosmos and natural details, and The Park Plant World. For each category, photographers can send up to four photos either in color or in black and white. Winners will be awarded a cash prize in addition to stays in the national parks and a subscription to the to the magazine “La Rivista della Natura”

Participation is free of charge and the contest will be open until September 30th, 2019. Participation rules can be found on the Fotografare il Parco website

                                         

QA Stelvio              QA Parco Abruzzo                   QA Gran Paradiso low                 Parc National de la Vanoise

Monday, 04 March 2019 12:05

We are Alps compact 2019

Every year, the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention invites journalists on the We are Alps, a tour across the Alps to experience interesting initiatives in the Alps hands-on and meet various stakeholders, travelling with trains, buses and other sustainable means of transport. 
This year, the tour will take place as the “We are Alps Compact” edition, being held on Wednesday 3 April – Thursday 4 April simultaneously to the XV Alpine Conference and focussing on the topics of Climate Change, Natural Hazard and Governance. Excursions in and around Innsbruck (AT) will demonstrate how these three issues are approached, taking into account the particularities of the Alpine natural features. Furthermore, the participants will get the chance to converse with political representatives of the 8 Alpine Countries in the run-up to the XV Alpine Conference (taking place in the morning of 4 April) and participate in the closing Press Conference.

The call is open until Sunday, 10 March for interested journalists from all types of media, particularly from Alpine countries to apply for a place on the tour.

Further information and the application documents can be found on the Alpine Convention’s website.

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

ALPARC is currently carrying out the Destination Parks project, which aims to promote the exchange of Alpine park destinations on sustainable tourism and to develop a common positioning of these regions in Alpine tourism. In October and December, regional exchanges took place in three best practise regions: the Queyras Nature Park in the Southern French Alps, the Gesäuse National- and Nature Park Region in Styria and the Dobratsch Nature Park in Carinthia.
In France, in the Queyras, the participants exchanged notably on the development of sustainable products for park tourism and their marketing (target groups, nature-oriented activities and packages). The marketed tourism products are tightly linked to the natural and cultural heritage of the Queyras valley. The visits to the regions in Carinthia and Styria were successfully organized by ALPARC as a study trip: In the Gesäuse region, the exchange focused primarily on regional branding and cooperation (for whom, how and what). The presentation of the successful development of the "Gesäuse" brand by the regional tourism organisation made the exchange very concrete and the discussions highlighted important success factors. At the Dobratsch, Villach's local mountain in Carinthia, the participants were then given a lively demonstration of what the future of low altitude ski resorts in the Alps could look like. Since 2002, the local stakeholders have positioned the Nature Park as a sustainable nature showplace (NaturSchauPlatz) for everyone, whereby the tourism strategy is coupled with a holistic visitor guidance concept. As part of the "Magische Momente" (Magic Moments) campaign, nature-based tourism offers are cross-marketed in Carinthia's nature parks.
The exchanges in the three regions have provided the participants with many good examples of a more sustainable Alpine tourism. In all three regions, success factors for the cooperation between tourism organisations and protected area managements as well as for the development of partner programmes also came to light. The partner programmes in particular are extremely important for sustainable tourism and the valorisation of regional production, as they can promote ownership of the protected area idea among locals and visitors alike.
The project is carried out with support of the Federal Office for the Environment (BAFU, Switzerland).

Sunrise on a bright autumn day in a mountain nature reserve, somewhere in the Swiss Alps. Several chamois and ibex graze here and there in a pasture above the tree line.  Suddenly, there is a movement and a noise in the sky and all the animals are gone within seconds. What has happened? A small multicopter appears flying along the mountain ridge, probably to film the vertiginous view from the heights. 


Small flying devices, drones, equipped with high performance photo or video cameras as well as a lot of other technical equipment are more and more often seen in mountain areas, and therefore in the Alpine protected areas. Their presence can mean a great risk of disturbance to wildlife that needs to be taken into account and managed by those responsible for these conservation areas. On the other hand, the new and innovative technology offers a large variety of interesting tools and possibilities to facilitate the day-to-day work of protected areas managers when used in a responsible way.


An international ALPARC conference that took place the 26-27 March 2018 in Dobbiaco (I) was the opportunity to hear about current experiences with the new technology in Alpine protected areas. Indeed, several protected areas are already using drones for vegetation mapping, remote sensing activities, the development of 3D elevation modelling or technical interventions in inaccessible areas. An expert for a British research institute presented “guidelines of good practice of drone use” developed in an international context for another highly sensitive area, Antarctica.  Three round tables offered the possibility to exchange about prospects for the use of drones for conservation communication issues, to discuss the multiple legal situations in the Alpine countries and to imagine possible developments in drone robotics adapted to specific (research) needs in protected areas. Finally, the prospect of a common Alpine guideline on the use of drones in sensitive protected natural areas was discussed by the conference delegates.

Further information about this event and the presentations are available online:

http://www.alparc.org/resources/item/894-unmanned-aircraft-systems-drones-in-protected-areas-i-conference-presentations

 

02 ALPARC Article Drones 02 Michael Schmalzl Alpsvision GmbHs.r

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the delegates to the ALPARC conference on drones in protected areas watching a flying demonstration. Picture taken by a drone.

© Michael Schmalzl, Alpsvision GmbH/s.r.l.