Every year, the European Natura 2000 Award showcases some of the best nature conservation actions across the EU.
We are proud that four Birdlife Partners have been selected as finalists: the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA), SEO/Birdlife, the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB), and the Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS). Don’t forget to vote for your favourite project through this link! Voting is open until the 27th of April and the winner will be awarded with the Citizen’s Award on the 18th of May.
Fishermen and seabirds, allies of the sea, SPEA (Portugal)
Across European waters, more than 200 000 birds are incidentally caught in commercial fishing gear such as hooks and nets each year. Our Partner SPEA is working hard to reduce this threat with simple, yet effective, means. They have developed a bird scaring device that can be fixed to fishing vessels, warning seabirds to stay away. This helps birds avoid getting caught in the fishing gear and drown, and helps fishers reduce the damage made to their gear. On top of that, the scaring decoy is cheap and easy to produce, easy to assemble and repair, and it does not interfere with fishing dynamics. A win-win solution for people and nature! Vote for this project here!
Social inclusion and managing invasive alien species, SEO (Spain)
Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) is an invasive alien species (IAS) that affects numerous habitat types by displacing native plants and affecting soil quality. To eradicate pampas grass from five coastal Natura 2000 sites in Cantabria in Spain, the LIFE Stop Cortaderia decided to not only stop the spread of this IAS, but to simultaneously address the serious difficulties faced by people with disabilities to enter the labour market. To do that, their project included over 60 people with disabilities over a four-year period in the mechanical eradication of the IAS, the management of green waste, and the replanting of natural vegetation to obstruct future re-growth of the IAS. The cooperation between LIFE Stop and SEO/Birdlife to set up a project like this demonstrates the effectiveness of partnerships between social and conservation NGOs. To learn more about this project and to vote, click here!
Protecting Pelicans in the lower Danube, BSPB (Bulgaria)
The Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) is the rarest member of the pelican family, breeding in just three EU countries: Greece, Romania and Bulgaria. In Bulgaria, due to the destruction of floodplains where the species would originally have bred, the pelican population had been restricted to only one breeding site, the Srebarna Lake, hosting 80 breeding pairs. Since 2012, our Bulgarian Partner BSPB has fought to increase the population of these pelicans and expand their breeding sites. To achieve this, they first used artificial breeding platforms at the Kompleks Belenski Ostrovi Natura 2000 site. In 2021, the globally innovative idea of using decoy pelicans was successfully tested at the Kompleks Kalimok Natura 2000 site. This led to the return of the pelicans to the two sites after more than 60 years of absence from these regions. The new breeding sites counted 91 breeding pairs, doubling the number of Dalmatian Pelican in Bulgaria! Read more and vote for this project through here!
Adaptation of Eleonora’s Falcon to climate change, HOS (Greece)
Greece is home to more than 80% of the Eleonora’s Falcon’s (Falco eleonorae) global breeding population, which is extremely vulnerable to climate change. To help the species adapt, the EU LIFE-funded ElClimA project focused on improving its breeding as well as its conservation status at its foraging areas across seven Greek Natura 2000 sites. The seven sites combined host 3 150 breeding pairs. Among the actions taken, the project partners ran the largest-ever rat eradication operation in Greece to protect eggs and chicks, planted the fruit trees, bushes and cereals that the passerines feed on, and installed over 1000 artificial nests. All in all, the project increased the breeding success of Eleonora’s Falcons by 42% in the project area, as well as leading to an improvement for local ecosystems and other important species. For more details and to vote, click here!