A. PREPARATORY ACTIONS
This preparatory action is divided into two sub-actions which:
- Compose an inventory of the locations of the habitat types and species that are included in Annexes of Directive 92/43/EEC, determining their exact boundaries / distribution in the field and their mapping;
- Conduct a survey to accurately identify and determine the threats and pressures directly and indirectly affecting the habitats’ and species’ vitality and the detailed mapping of these threats and pressures.
The action aims to:
- map and describe existing organizational structures for the management of protected areas / biodiversity,
- map capacities and gaps,
- identify potential organisational systems,
- examine applicability and analyse advantages and disadvantages,
- define a sustainable mechanism for securing staff resources and competences for nature management on-the-field operations, including operational procedures and financing,
- develop a participatory approach to Natura 2000 site management with emphasis on engaging and involving Local Authorities and NGOs.
The overall objective of this action is to enhance nature conservation on privately owned land in Natura 2000 sites. The active engagement of landowners in the management of Natura 2000 sites will only bring benefits by improving the conservation status of habitats and species and by enhancing the long-term sustainability of the Natura 2000 network. The concept of land stewardship will be examined further and explored for its potential implementation in Cyprus.
The development of selected (20 in total) Habitats and Species Action Plans listed in the Habitats Directive, intend to be used as a tool for identifying priority measures for restoration across their range. They will provide information about ecological requirements, the conservation status, pressures and threats and key actions that are required to improve their conservation status.
The Preparatory Action A.4 aims at filling the knowledge gaps and providing more species-specific and habitat-specific management schemes that are more focused and detailed on the “needs” of the targeted taxa and habitats.
Favourable Reference Values (FRVs) and Conservation Targets have already been set for the qualifying species (‘trigger’ species) for the 30 Special Protection Areas (SPAs) of Cyprus. However, there are some knowledge gaps relating to specific ecological requirements of some of these trigger species. These ‘gaps’ relate mostly to the specific requirements of some species for feeding, nesting and resting, as well as quantification of threats. Filling these ‘gaps’ allows targeted conservation actions to improve the status of these trigger species at specific SPAs, enabling the achievement of species- and site-specific conservation targets by the end of this 10-year project.
The aim of the action is the establishment of the conceptual framework for the National Ecosystem Assessment, in which the methodology will be developed based on the existing methods [like the Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) assessment for Europe and the UK National Ecosystem Assessment]. The final goal of the action is the development of a methodology specifically adapted to the local conditions (e.g. ecosystem types, drivers, impacts, etc.) and the establishment of the CY National Ecosystem Assessment Method (CY NEA).
This action involves the development of action plans for Invasive Alien Species (IAS), either per species or per taxonomic group for species that have common pathways and/or require similar management strategies. The plans include: (i) a list of actions to tackle pathways of introduction, (ii) measures to implement at initial invasion stages to eradicate populations of IAS, (iii) measures to manage widely spread IAS and (iv) measures to restore impacted and damaged habitats and ecosystems.
In the related to Nature Conservation Cypriot Scientific Community, it is generally acknowledged that deeper knowledge and improved skills into more specific issues by all involved parties is a necessity in order to improve effectiveness and efficiency of Biodiversity Policies, Nature Directives and relevant National Legislation already in place. Key players involved in consultations, assessments, evaluations, law enforcement, NGOs, protected area management, community involvement, local outreach, etc., need to build and upgrade their capacities to become even more proficient in their role. Under this Action, a tailor-made Capacity Building and Training Action Plan is drafted on issues identified and assessed as “Opportunities for Improvement” per stakeholder groups of common interests and levels of influence.
The aim of this action is to assess quantitatively and qualitatively the extent to which fishing measures and in particular, restrictions in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are effective by comparing them to other Natura 2000 sites with no protection in place. This assessment will take place in two Natura 2000 areas, in the MPA of Cavo Greko and the planned MPA at Kakoskali (Akamas). Scientific data will be collected using classic on-board, harbour and logbook surveys and will be combined with underwater visual census methodologies to compare fish biodiversity and biomass in both protected with non-protected zones.
C. CONSERVATION ACTIONS
This action is divided into two sub-actions: one dealing with capacity building for the Appropriate Assessment (AA) procedure and the other with the implementation of the Capacity Building Action Plan for the implementation of Protected Areas.
Through these sub-actions, as well as in conjunction with other Actions of this LIFE project, various milestones are met for combating current known AA procedure pitfalls such as ineffective approaches adopted for the IROPI (Imperative Reasons for Overriding Public Interest) precedent, the evaluation of alternative solution options and proposition of compensation measures, poor quality of AA reports, lack of skills/knowledge of the procedure, etc.
The aim of this action is to create a digital and web-based database for habitats and species (flora and fauna) occurring in Cyprus. The database will include updated information (regarding biodiversity) from the competent authorities, universities/ research institutes and NGOs, including data for species reported under Article 17 of the Directive 92/30/EEC.
This action constitutes the main conservation action of the project and for its implementation the input/ outcome from Actions A is required (mainly Actions A.1, A.4 and A.5). Its implementation has been separated into seven sub-actions, each one with specific aims.
- The first sub-action will focus on implementing conservation and where necessary restoration actions for priority and other selected habitats in order to maintain or improve their conservation status.
- The second sub-action involves the establishment of Green Infrastructure (GI), in order to reconnect fragmented natural areas and restore degraded habitats.
- The third sub-action aims to update the Management Plans for eight Natura 2000 sites, while a conservation decree will be established (or revisited) for the management of all Natura 2000 sites (Special Areas of Conservation – SACs) in Cyprus, with the aim to increase awareness of Natura 2000 amongst the general public and stakeholders.
- The fourth sub-action aims to the improvement of the protection and the representativity of the species Astragalus macrocarpus lefkarensis*, Phlomis brevibracteata and Crepis pusilla within the Natura 2000 Network of Cyprus.
- The fifth sub-action aims to define the ecological flow in dams and reservoirs downstream of Natura 2000 sites and develop conservation measures for aquatic ecosystems.
- The aim of the sixth sub-action is to implement the conservation measures suggested through Action A.5. The conservation actions for bird species focus on the qualifying species for twelve Special Protection Areas (SPAs), though some of the actions are horizontal in nature and applicable to all 30 designated SPAs in Cyprus.
- The seventh sub-action aims to carry out satellite tagging for the two marine turtles Chelonia mydas and Caretta caretta, in order to identify the migrating routes of the two species and enable their further conservation efforts.
The action will implement the Action Plan developed in Action A.2 for the establishment of a management structure for Natura 2000 site management. In particular, this action will (amongst others) take the necessary administrative and regulatory steps for the establishment of the selected structure, secure funds for its establishment and operation, obtain appropriate staff and infrastructure for the operation of the structure at pilot scale, etc.
The aim of this action is to provide a complete assessment through mapping and economic valuation of ecosystem services in Cyprus’ Natura 2000 sites under different policy scenarios. The implementation of this action will include:
- Identification of datasets for mapping the ecosystem services present in the study areas;
- Liaison with experts to identify the best indicators for mapping these services;
- Consultation with competent authorities;
- Review of existing Ecosystem Services Decision Support System (ES DSS) tools and
- Liaison with policy makers to explore scenarios for Ecosystem Services (ES) delivery in Natura 2000 sites.
The main purpose of this action is to apply an innovative method for land Natura 2000 management. The action will implement the outcome of Action A.3 in a pilot area (after consultations with landowners and users), so as to evaluate its conservation effectiveness.
The main objective of this task is to design and develop two platforms, i.e. a Management and a Communication Platform, to be used by officials and by the public, respectively.
The Management platform will allow the introduction, management and analysis of field data, which will facilitate the organization, implementation and monitoring of data related to the environment.
The Communication platform will include an online application providing the broader public with explanations to what the Natura 2000 network is and which are the various Natura 2000 areas within the Republic of Cyprus.
This demonstration action aims to create the conditions for establishment of (future) facilities on keeping seized or captured animal considered as Invasive Alien Species (IAS). The action will explore possible solutions for keeping specific taxa of animals that are seized as non-compliant, such as cages for mammals, aquaria for fish with special requirements, and tanks for terrapins and turtles.
This action includes two sub-actions:
- The first aims to the development of capacity to support controls for Invasive Alien Species (IAS) at entry points. This need relates to official controls to prevent intentional introductions from non-EU countries and to checks required to tackle priority pathways for intentional and unintentional introductions of IAS.
- The second aims to implement the action plans developed in Action A.7, aiming to prevent the introduction, spread and establishment of IAS to reduce their impacts at various habitats.
The aim of this action is to develop an integrated monitoring system for habitats and species targeting to assist the implementation of Article 17 of the Habitats Directive (HD). The action aims to set up a monitoring scheme, according to Article 11 of the HD, to evaluate and report the status of habitats and species, the area they occupy, their range, population size for species and any changes in their conservation status, every six years. The developed methodology will also include the evaluation of the Favourable Conservation Status (FCS) for habitats and the Favourable Reference Values (FRVs) for species.
The action aims to:
- Develop capacities and knowhow for the absorption of funds from EU funding programmes;
- Establish mechanisms to actively seek and develop revenue earning activities within Natura 2000 sites;
- Stimulate cooperation between the Public Departments, Knowledge/Research Centers and businesses and promote innovation and entrepreneurship in Natura 2000 sites;
- Facilitate networking and cooperation at National and EU level and
- Promote public –private partnerships and benefit sharing schemes with the local communities.
D. MONITORING OF THE IMPACT OF THE PROJECT ACTIONS
E. PUBLIC AWARENESS AND DISSEMINATION OF RESULTS
The aim of this action is to promote public awareness and information on the significance and importance of the Natura 2000 network. The ultimate goal is to change the perception and behaviour of the public towards the importance of the Natura 2000 protected sites. This action includes the elaboration of a Communication Plan and the implementation of the related Campaign. The implementation of the proposed communication activities is of paramount importance as the target audiences and the stakeholders shall be invited to commit in an effort to reach the underlined objective of the project.
This action will be implemented through various sub actions. The first sub action is to set up awareness-raising and information activities for targeted stakeholders. The second sub action will include the conduction of Seminars/trainings focusing on the ecological value and socio-economic benefits of the Natura 2000 network. The last sub-action involves the development of a Transfer and Replication Plan.
The purpose of this action is to establish networks between the proposed project and other relevant LIFE and non-LIFE projects. Networking and exchanging experiences with organizations from abroad on the approaches they have used to implement similar LIFE IP projects, will provide the project with significant knowledge and experience on the most effective ways of managing Natura 2000 Network and biodiversity therein.
This action focuses on the presentation, publication and promotion of the project’s activities and outcomes, as well as on collection of scientific data and general information about the Natura 2000 network in Cyprus, through the development of a website/or websites. Thus, this action aims towards disseminating information and keeping the audience and stakeholders continuously informed for both the project’s implementation and the project’s objectives and activities, as well as the Natura 2000 network.
The action aims to the development of two guides for the habitat types present in Cyprus and specifically a Handbook and a Red Data Book (RDB).
Through this action, the national Red List of the Birds of Cyprus will be carried out following the guidelines, requirements, criteria and categories of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, in close collaboration and under the guidance of the Red List Authority for Birds, BirdLife International.
F. PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND MONITORING OF PROJECT PROGRESS
This Action aims on the effective administrative, scientific and financial coordination and proper implementation of the project, as well as to secure the continuation of specific activities after the end of the project.
The goal of this action is to closely follow the implementation of all activities that have been attributed to complementary funds. The Department of Environment (with the collaboration of other Governmental Departments) will carry out a monitoring scheme, compile the necessary data and information from all competent authorities of the complementary funds and provide updates on the planning, tendering, implementation and delivery of projects that are listed in the inventory of complementary activities and actions of this IP project.