Promoting ecotourism

REC Bosnia and Herzegovina implemented the project Promoting Trebizat as an Ecotourism Destination, which aims to develop sustainable tourism through the promotion of local products, traditional activities, natural values and cultural heritage. The “Days of Trebizat” event was held on August 29–30 to attract visitors to the river Trebizat area. Representatives of local authorities, tourist associations, tour operators, journalists, NGOs and individuals participated in the event, which included activities such as cleaning up the riverbed, a canoe safari, a local gastronomy competition and a photo exhibition. Two educational workshops on environment and nature protection and the use of natural resources, aimed at schools, NGOs and those working in the tourist industry, were held in December.

Inventories for Natura 2000

REC Bulgaria finalised the inventory of the Natura 2000 sites Meshtica and Kocherinovo. It also completed an inventory of the abiotic components of the management plan for Bulgarka Natural Park. REC Bulgaria supported the involvement of civil society in Natura 2000 management through the preparation of guidelines, the establishment of a national working group, and model implementation in three Natura 2000 sites.

Wetlands restoration

REC Poland launched the LIFE+ Kampinos Wetlands project, in which it is responsible for managing the communication component. The project is being implemented in the second largest national park in Poland, located close to Warsaw. The main objective is to restore and maintain the many rare wetland habitats of the Kampinos woodland, and the associated plant and animal species. The digging of drainage canals had led to the gradual drying out of the wetlands, and efforts to overcome this threat to the area’s wildlife had been obstructed by the complicated ownership structure, complex legal issues, a lack of precise hydrological and wildlife data, and limited funds. The purchase of an area of private land by the national park made it possible to plan hydro-engineering solutions, leading to an increase in moisture content over a large area. Between 2006 and 2010, detailed scientific research, including an inventory of biodiversity and an assessment of socioeconomic conditions, was carried out, leading to proposals for improving the hydrological conditions. Project activities are based on this research, following consultations with local communities. Communication campaigns, aimed at increasing public acceptance of the project and improving relations between nature conservation services and local residents, are a crucial component of the project.

REC Poland was also involved in several monitoring projects related to invasive species, butterflies and plants.

Local action planning

Within the project Local Environmental Action Planning in the Western Balkans’, the REC, in partnership with the European Centre for Nature Conservation (ECNC), strengthened the integration of ecosystem services into local planning policies. Local biodiversity action plans were developed in eight municipalities in six countries, and some of the priority actions, which focus on ecotourism, fishing and the management of protected areas and natural resources, have been implemented.

IN STEP WITH NATURE: The REC promotes sustainability policies that preserve plant and animal diversity
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