21. stu 2014.

The majestic Drina Canyon and the mystical Peruć

We spent the second day of our study journey in sightseeing of the natural beauties of the Republika Srpska.

It is such a pity we cannot ger on the bridge, but it is closed for visitors due to reconstruction.
There is a bridge on the Drina River, there is a cheerful community of nature guards from the entire region by the bridge in Višegrad that is commenting the beuaty that Ivo Andrić described in his awarded novel The Bridge On The Drina. Although Andrić was not born in Višegrad, due to the earlier mentioned novel this city has obtained its special part – the city biult within the city, Kamengrad. Just as Drvengrad from which we have headed further this morning from Mokra Gora in Serbia, Kamengrad was made as place for itself in which there are museum, church, university, numerous coffee bars and restaurants, bookshop etc.

Life is an inapprehensible miracle
However, neither Ivo Andrić nor Višegrad are the reason of our visit. On our way to Sutjeska National Park, the first protected area in Bosnia and Herzegovina we have visited during our study journey, we admire the Drina Canyon and listen to the story of Dragan Kovačević from the Republic Institute for Protection of Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage about the future Drina National Park. He claims that all the studies and researches have been finished. It is just awaited for the Government to declare this wonderful nature a national park. The Park is going to cover southern parts of the Srebrenica County and is going to spread over 6.000 hA, which covers around 33 kilometers of the Drina Canyon.

Perfection of the Drina Canyon

Pančić's spruce, more than 200 trees and black pines on cliffs of the canyon set off among basic values of the Park. There is a significant number of chamoises and numerous bird species. The highest peak of the Park is situated on the altitude of 1.200 meters. Medieval tombstones called 'stećci' are the cultural heritage due to which the Park has been nominated by UNESCO. The old city called Klotjevac with the Karno monastery from the 13th century is also situated in the Park area. However, since the Park still has not been declared a protected area, it is still not known who will manage it.

Paradise for foresters
We are very excited because the sequence of our journey leads us to Perućica, one of the largest and best preserved primeval forests in Europe with its surface of 1,481 hA. It had been protected 10 years before the declaration of the Sutjeska National Park that was established in 1962. While driving towards the only gazebo from which spreads the view to the pleace each forester from our region wants to visit, we admire the fores through which we pass. If this forest is so beautiful, what can we expect from the beauty of Perućica?

Our colleagues from Albania are impressed by Drina
Unfortunately, we did not find it out. Unwanted guests of this journey, steady rainfalls and fog, make it impossible for us to enjoy the view on the primeval forest and the Skakavac waterfall which has 75 meters of altitude. However, Vlado the ranger invites us to enter the forest and hear the noise that the waterfall is creating. Natural perfection! We are positive that the view is perfect too. It will stay mystical, just as Perućica.

Vlado, the primeval forest ranger, reveals an idea of what we can't see due to bad weather conditions 

Perućica, the mystical primeval forest
The Perućica River flows into the Sutjeska Canyon. The lowest point of the primeval forest is in the Sutjeska River (around 600 meters of altitude). The highest peak is Magića, 2.635 meters of altitude. There is over 1700 meters of altitude difference in Perućica. The river which has the same name divides it in two parts. As we have found out, the river is not the only thing that divides the primeval forest because there is also a forest path that leads to the peak Magića and also divides it. Mr Kovačević has also said that is not allowed to enter the primeval forest without notifying the Park management that can organize the tour across the forest for a decent amount of money, but only for scientific and research purposes.

We descend from the gazebo and come to the Mladost Hotel in Tijentište. The visitor center of the Sutjeska National Park is situated beside the hotel. We are welcomed by Mr Zoran Čančar, the director of the Park. He familiarizes us with the facilities of the Park: four water courses, the Skakavac waterfall that flows into the Perućica stream that flows into the Sutjeska River. There are also a couple of mountaineer objects, a camp of capacity of around 100 tents, sports and recreational center, a stadium, a museum... Famous memorial home dedicated to the Battle of Sutjeska, temporary seasonal shepherd homes called 'katuni' in Zelengora and Prijevor are also in the Park area.

Foresters in Perućica
Mr Đorđe Vuković, the expert assistant in the Park, explains that we are situated in the lowest altitude of the Park that spreads over 16.052 hA. Animal wildlife of the Park is quite rich and diverse: there are 36 species of mammals, 5 species of fish, 114 species of ornithofauna, numerous species of amphibians, reptiles and butterflies. We also find out some plans for the future project – protection of decay of natural lakes that Sutjeska NP plans to make with Durmitor NP from Montenegro and Macedonian national parks. Mr Vuković says that the cold drive of the Park is financed by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, while the money from ticket payment is used for development, protection and equipment.

Only 0.89% of the Republika Srpska territory is protected
Although we are focused upon the Sutjeska National Park where we are at the moment, Dragan Kovačević is also familiarizing us with system of protection in the Republika Srpska. Only 0.89% of the territory is under protection. Along with Perućica there are primeval reserves Janj and Lom. The only mycological reserve Lisina is also situated in the Republika Srpska. There are 411 mushroom species, among which 60 species can be found in the European Red List (a review of the conservation of 6000 European species). The Institute in which Dragan works was established in 2007 and by now it has declared 14 protected areas. Special nature reserve Gromiželj that is managed by the local community is famous for the fish specie European mudminnow that survived the Ice Age and along with this locality it inhabits another one in Slovakia. There is a legend that the European mudminnow can survive for six months in mud outside water.
WWF dynamic duo Petra and Leon with Ivo Andrić, the Nobel prize winner

Kozara was declared a national park in 1967. It spreads over 4.600 hA and is inhabited by 860 species. The Memorial Complex, a significant monument of the state, is situated in the Park. The Republika Srpska counts 14 caves out of which seven caves are under protection as monuments of nature. Perhaps the only yellow beech (Fagus sylvatica) in Europe that is 250-300 years old is also found in the Park. When the sky gets dark, the leaves of this tree become green, Dragan accentuates. Concerning protection in future, along with declaration of the Drina National Park, there are preparations for three future nature parks: Javorina, Lisina-Šibovi and Krupa in Vrbas. Dragan has announced an establishment of special reserve in Popovo Polje that used to be inhabited by griffon vulture. Experts try to bring the specie back to the area.

Two parks, two states, one city and one bridge. It is enough for just one day, isn't it? Our community needs a rest because tomorrow we are going to visit the protected areas of the Sarajevo Canton.

Find out more about the next part of our journeyhere.

Text and photos: Petra Boić Petrač, WWF

19. stu 2014.

Delegati iz više od 160 zemalja obvezali su se uložiti više napora u zaštitu prirode

Globalni tim WWF-a u Australiji
Na upravo završenom Svjetskom kongresu parkova u Sydneyu WWF predstavio rezultate procjene dobrobiti ekosustava u parkovima naše regije

SYDNEY, Australija - Preko 5000 delegata iz više od 160 zemalja, među kojima su visoki predstavnici država i međunarodnih organizacija, upravljači zaštićenih područja, predstavnici privatnog sektora i lokalnih zajednica, sudjelovalo je na IUCN-ovom Svjetskom kongresu parkova u australskom Sydneyu. Ovaj jedinstveni događaj, koji se održava jednom u desetljeću, završen je zajedničkim “Sydneyskim obećanjem” svih sudionika da će uložiti više napora u očuvanje prirode, borbu protiv klimatskih promjena i smanjenja biološke raznolikosti, ali i da će inspirirati ljude diljem svijeta da ulažu u jedinstvene prirodne vrijednosti kako morskih tako i kopnenih zaštićenih područja.

Predstavnici WWF-a sa svih strana svijeta su nazočili ovom bitnom događaju kako bi diskutirali o zaštiti i upravljanju osjetljivim staništima i ekosustavima od kojih su mnoga bitna i za opstanak čovječanstva.

“Širom svijeta, milijuni ljudi se oslanjaju na usluge koje pružaju zdravi ekosustavi u zaštićenim

područjima od hrane, vode, čistog zraka, stabilizacije klime do mogućnosti zapošljavanja. Zaštićena područja su ključ zdrave, raznolike i produktivne okoline, koja je temelj dugoročnog održivog razvoja”, izjavio je Marco Lambertini, generalni direktor WWF-a.

“Sydneyskim obećanjem” se naglašava put ka postizanju globalnog cilja za zaštitom 17 posto kopnenih i 10 posto morskih područja do 2020. godine. Iako su nedavni izvještaji Međunarodne unije za zaštitu prirode (IUCN) i Programa Ujedinjenih naroda za zaštitu okoliša (UNEP) pokazali da je planet na putu da dostigne ovaj cilj, potrebno je više truda kako bi se područjima, koja su bitna za bioraznolikost i usluge ekosustava, dobro i ravnopravno upravljalo.

Na Kongresu je također naglašeno da je buduća zaštićena područja neophodno uspostaviti tako da ona zaustave daljnje istrebljivanje vrsta. Uslijed rastućeg apetita za prirodnim resursima, 310 novih vrsta je dodano na IUCN-ovu Crvenu listu ugroženih vrsta.

Glavni fokus je bio na ekonomskim dobrobitima i isplativosti svjetskih prirodnih područja, uključujući njihov doprinos u mitigaciji i adaptaciji na klimatske promene. Globalno, zaštićena područja igraju važnu ulogu u smanjenju emisije ugljičnog dioksida u atmosferu, ali su sada i ona

ugrožena uslijed klimatskih promjena. Stoga je WWF na Svjetskom kongresu parkova prezentirao novu metodologiju za adaptaciju na klimatske promjene, poznatiju kao CAMPA (Climate Adaptation Methodology for Protected Areas), kojom se znatno može povećati otpornost parkova na klimatske promjene. WWF se također pridružio drugim organizacijama koje su se zalagale da se na području prirodnih dobara s Popisa svjetske baštine ne vrši ekstrakcija nafte i plina.

Predstavnici WWF-a iz naše regije predstavili su metodologiju procjene dobrobiti zaštićenih područja koja je u posljednje dvije godine provedena u 58 zaštićenih područja regije, uključujući i 18 zaštićenih područja u Hrvatskoj. Ova metodologija je implementirana na regionalnom nivou u okviru WWF-ovog projekta Parkovi Dinarskog luka. Što se tiče samih podataka vezanih uz našu regiju, istaknuto je kako su najveći ekonomski iskoristivi resursi u parkovima turizam, komercijalna upotreba vode, šume i zapošljavanje. Nacionalne organizacije WWF-a iz Meksika, Brazila, Italije i drugih zemalja zainteresirani su u svojim zemljama provesti ovu metodologiju, koja je prvi put kod nas provedena na nacionalnom, odnosno regionalnom nivou, dok je Institut Luc Hoffman, u suradnji s Oxfordom, zainteresiran za daljnju obradu podataka zaštićenih područja Dinarskog luka.

Na Kongresu su predloženi i novi modeli financiranja uključujući kombinaciju javnog i privatnog financiranja. Moderna tehnologija se pokazala kao bitna nova stavka u zaštiti prirode s uvođenjem novog Google podvodnog “street view”’-a, kao i alata uz pomoć kojeg se identificira nelegalni ribolov. NASA je omogućila najsuvremeniju satelitsku tehnologiju u snimanju zaštićenih područja kako bi se njihovo praćenje poboljšalo.

Svjetski kongres parkova prvi put je održan 1962. godine, i od tada se organizira jednom u deset godina, posljednji put u Durbanu, Južna Afrika 2003. godine. Ovogodišnji kongres pod nazivom “Parkovi, ljudi, planet: inspirativna rješenja”, održao se od 12. do 19 studenoga, u organizaciji IUCN-a i Vlade Australije.

17. stu 2014.

U Tirani predstavljeni rezultati projekta Parkovi Dinarskog luka- Albanija

Prezentacija projektnih rezultata
5.11.2014, Tirana- Predstavnici Ministarstva zaštite okoliša, turističkog sektora, stručnjaci iz zaštićenih područja, te članovi lokalne uprave okupili su se u hotelu Tirana International kako bi nazočili prezentaciji rezultata projekta "Parkovi Dinarskog luka" u Albaniji.

Projekt je započeo u listopadu 2013. godine i proveden je od strane WWF-a u suradnji s INCA-om (Institut za zaštitu prirode u Albaniji) i Ministarstvom zaštite okoliša. Analiza rezultata bila je usmjerena na četiri glavne komponente: integracija u mrežu regionalne suradnje; komunikacija za promociju zaštićenih područja; procjena vrijednosti zaštićenih područja i razvoj održivog turizma.

Prilikom održavanja 13 radionica procjene vrijednosti zaštićenih područja diljem Albanije, WWF stručnjaci prikupili su pregršt podataka na nacionalnoj i lokalnoj razini koji bi se mogli koristiti od strane središnjih i lokalnih institucija u pripremi planova za upravljanje parkovima. Analiza podataka pokazuje da nacionalni parkovi imaju poseban značaj u razvoju sektora, kao što su turizam i seosko gospodarstvo, opskrba stanovništva pitkom vodom, da pružaju energiju kroz drvo, te da su podrška stočarskoj proizvodnji.

Projekt također promovira turizam u prirodi kroz izradu i distribuciju dvojezične brošure o albanskim nacionalnim parkovima. Više od 12.000 primjeraka promotivne brošure distribuiralo na se graničnim prijelazima Albanije na ulaznim točkama u nacionalne parkove, u turističkim agencijama i u uredima turoperatora. Promocijom zaštićenih područja želi se ne samo zaštiti njihove prirodne vrijednosti, već i potaknuti nove mogućnosti razvoja zajednicama koje žive na tim područjima. U vidu održivog turizma, WWF je pokrenuo proces pripreme Nacionalnog parka Valbona za stjecanje Europskog certifikata za održivi turizam.

Voditelj projekta Parkovi Dinarskog luka Leon Kebe, u svom je govoru rekao: "Sretni smo podijeliti rezultate našeg rada u Albaniji s raznim dionicima. Naš dugoročni cilj je podržati albanske stručnjake na putu k učinkovitom upravljanju zaštićenim područjima. Međutim, problem je kada ti stručnjaci nemaju ovlasti da obavljaju svoju dužnost unutar svojih zaštićenih područja- tada je vrlo teško govoriti o podršci. WWF se zalaže za rad na projektima održivog razvoja, kako bi ljudi shvatili da zaštita prirode nije nedostatak za ekonomski razvoj zajednica koje žive unutar ili u blizini zaštićenog područja, već da je to upravo prilika za poboljšanje života lokalnog stanovništva ". Gospođa Elvana Ramaj, direktorica biološke raznolikosti u Ministarstvu zaštite okoliša obavijestila je sudionike da Vlada namjerava osnovati Agenciju za upravljanje zaštićenim područjima u cilju poboljšanja trenutne situacije tog sektora, štonje veoma važna i pozitivna vijest!

Odeta Stavri, WWF

14. stu 2014.

Radionice o adaptaciji na klimatske promjene održane u Albaniji i Makedoniji

Vježba s "magičnim" grahom
U sklopu projekta Parkovi Dinarskog luka, od 3.-7. novembra održane su radionice na temu klimatskih promjena. Radionice su održne u Tirani (Albanija) i u Skopju (Makedonija).

Voditelji radionica bili su Shaun Martin, Ryan Bartlett i Anita Van Breda iz WWF SAD, koji se već dugi niz godina bave adaptacijom na klimatske promjene i snalaženjem u kriznim situacijama, te Ivana Korn Varga i Duška Dimović iz regionalnog ureda WWF-a.

Na radionicama je sudjelovalo više od 80 sudionika iz različitih sektora poput sektora prostornog planiranja, okoliša, upravljanja vodama, nevladinih organizacija, zaštićenih područja, fakulteta šumarstva, instituta zdravstva itd.

Sudionici su na radionicama mogli saznati više o tome kako klimatske promjene utječu na svaki od navedenih sektora, obzirom da posljedice nisu za svih iste.

Radionice su trajale dva dana u svakoj zemlji, a bilo je govora o klimatskim promjenama općenito, o adaptaciji na klimatske promjene, ublažavanju posljedica klimatskih promjena te o snalaženju u kriznim situacijama. 
Vježbe su važne kako bi se shvatila teorija

Važna poruka koja je prožimala radionice je bila upravo da se osvjesti sudionike kako klimatske promjene nisu daleka budućnost, nego kako upravo oni/mi sada živimo u vremenu kada se klima drastično mijenja, te se već osjete posljedice tih promjena.

Cilj treninga nije bio samo pružiti nove informacije i znanja, već upravo potaknuti slušatelje da sami razmišljaju o klimatskim promjenama i u svom daljnjem radu koriste stečena znanja uzimajući u obzir sve što klimatske promjene nose sa sobom.


Pred sam završetak, voditelji radionice pozvali su sudionike da s grupom podijele svoje ideje gdje oni vide budući rad u svojim zemljama po pitanju klimatskih promjena. Iz ove vježba, proizašlo je mnogo dobrih ideja na koje će WWF svakako pokušati obratiti pozornost u svom budećem radu u regiji Dinarskog luka.

Ivana Korn Varga & Martina Šubašić, WWF 

7. stu 2014.

Presentation of the DAP Albania project results in Tirana

WWF, INCA and Ministry of Environment 
The representatives of the Ministry of Environment, tourism experts, the specialists of protected areas, and members of local government gathered at Hotel Tirana to attend presentation of results and findings of the project "Dinaric Arc Parks" in Albania. 

The project started in October 2013 and was implemented by WWF in collaboration with INCA (Institute of Nature Conservation in Albania) and the Ministry of Environment. The analysis of the results was focused on four main components: integration into network of regional cooperation; communication for PAs; assessment of the benefits of PA, and development of sustainable tourism. Dinaric Arc Project supported the establishment of the Albanian network of PAs’ specialists which collaborates with the colleagues from Western Balkan region, for improving PAs management and promoting our common destination - Parks Dinarides. 

 By developing 13 workshops throughout Albania, WWF experts collected multidimensional data at national and local level that could be used by central and local institutions in preparation of the management. Data analysis shows that national parks have a special significance in the development of sectors such as tourism and rural economies, supplying the population with drinking water, providing energy through the timber, and supporting livestock production.

The project promoted nature tourism through the publication and distribution of a bilingual brochure on Albanian nature destinations. Over 12,000 promotional brochures are being distributed at the borders of Albania in entry points of national parks, tourism agencies and tour operators. Promotion of PAs heritage aimed not only protecting their natural values but also developing opportunities for the communities living in these areas. Actually WWF is supporting the application process of Valbona National Park for the membership in European Parks Federation. This will make Valbona NP, the first park in Albania where tourism development is planned to be built in a sustainable way.

Regional manager of DAP, Mr. Leon Kebe said among others in his speech "We are pleased to share the results of our work in Albania with various stakeholders. Our long term goal is to support the Albanian specialists towards effective management of PAs, but on the circumstances when these specialists lack or do not perform their duty inside their PAs, it is very difficult to talk about support, management and achievements in the field of nature protection. WWF is committed to work in sustainable development projects, in order to make people understand that protecting nature is not a disadvantage for the economic development of PAs communities, rather it is an excellent opportunity to improve the lives of local residents ". While Mrs. Elvana Ramaj, Director of Biodiversity at Ministry of Environment informed the participants that government intends to establish a PAs management agency in order to improve the current situation in PAs. DAP project is followed by two other projects of WWF in Albania. The first project is focused in development of a management plan for sustainable tourism in the Karaburun-Sazan NP while the third one aims at raising the awareness of decision makers about the risks of hydropower construction, as the only way to produce energy for the country.

Odeta Stavri, WWF 

3. stu 2014.

Marine Protected Area Torre del Cerrano - Europe's first Marine Charter Park

Marine Protected Area Torre de Cerrano

This summer 18 Charter verifications were carried out by 10 verifiers in six countries across Europe. One of these parks, the Italian Marine Protected Area Torre del Cerrano (MPATC), was Europe’s first Marine Charter Park to be verified for the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas(ECST).

Marine Protected Areas are similar to terrestrial protected areas but instead protect wildlife in parts of the oceans, seas and coasts. According to the WWF "only 2.3 % of the world's oceans are protected" and those that do exist are not managed very well. With the state of our oceans deteriorating due to overfishing and climate change it is no wonder that MPAs have recently been a hot topic in the field of conservation and politics across the globe. The situation seems to be improving slowly but surely, though. In July, for example, Scotland announced 30 new MPA allocations and Italy already has 30 MPAs and will be allocating 17 new ones over the next few years.

Giacomo Benelli was responsible for the Charter verification of MPATC. He has been an expert in protected area management for the last 20 years and a verifier for EUROPARC Consulting in Italy for a number of years now. In an interview, Giacomo kindly took some time to tell us about MPAs in Italy and his verification visit to MPATC.

Giacomo, please can you tell us a little bit about the Charter in Italy? There are currently 20 Charter Parks in Italy and six more (including the MPATC) are currently awaiting a decision regarding their certification. This means that Italy has many committed, professional and passionate Charter ambassadors at national, regional and local level. They believe the Charter is a great tool for combining nature protection with sustainable development. In addition, the Charter has proved a very useful tool for establishing better relations between several types of stakeholders and the parks, which in turn become more recognized, accepted and supported by the locals. The main reason for the rapid increase in Italian Charter Parks over the last few years, however, is the great involvement of FEDERPARCHI – EUROPARC’s Italian Section. FEDERPARCHI provides technical assistance to the parks wishing to obtain the Charter and is also trying to raise awareness about the benefits of the ECST.

What does the role of Charter verifier mean to you personally and what are the best and most challenging things about being a verifier?I feel honoured and lucky to be able to work as verifier. Being able to use my experience and passion in this context makes the work rewarding and exciting. Verification is a deep analysis of each park and its stakeholders and I am often surprised to find myself immersed so quickly into their local contexts.

Creating and maintaining an open, positive atmosphere throughout the verification process is the key to a good verification. This can, however, prove to be somewhat of a challenge because the actors have many different backgrounds, attitudes, expectations and languages. In most cases though the Charter process is strongly supported and encouraged.

Can you tell us a little bit about the MPAs in Italy?MPAs in Italy are a growing network of protected areas [see figures above]. They are designated and funded by the national government in Rome and the Italian MPA programme is managed and administered by the Ministry of Environment and Territorial Protection. The parks themselves are managed by a local entity, such as a city, or a consortium of entities. Local communities that are part of a managing entity often put forward local funds to assist management at a site. This can mean substantial, valuable commitments in terms of staff, land and/or buildings being provided for office space, visitor centres and other facilities. Each MPA is divided into four zones A, B, C and D with different degrees of protection where the maximum protection goes to the no-take zone, Zone A, which contains the areas of greatest environmental value.

Tell us a little bit about the MPA you evaluated. What are the challenges and issues there? How do they feel about the ECST?MPATC, a Natura 2000 site since 2013, is located along the Adriatic coastline in the Province of Teramo (in the Abruzzi Region, central Italy). It includes seven kilometres of coastline and covers 37 km² of which 3,431 ha are water. It protects the typical sandy bottom of the Adriatic Sea (always subjected to intense pressure from the fishing industry) and an area of half-submerged boulders, the remains of the L-shaped pier of the ancient Roman port of Atri. To protect all this biodiversity and cultural heritage and to manage the MPATC, a Consortium was established in February 2008, consisting of the Abruzzi Region, Province of Terni and Municipalities of Silvi and Pineto. Since it became officially active in April 2010, the Consortium has already attained several achievements and awards and is very active in the region.

One of the main challenges in the area is the interaction with large fishing fleets (especially hydraulic clam dredgers) that would still like to harvest the small and tasty clams found in the MPA. During the verification visit there was a protest by local clam fishermen, illustrating how difficult it can be to implement protection measures in heavily populated and developed areas, where there is a big fishing industry lobby.

All members of the park staff are highly motivated to implement the Charter and all agree with its principles. It is quite rare to see such a unified team working together so effectively and cohesively. Also impressive was the involvement of the managers of the popular local beach bar resorts. In addition, the MPATC has developed a number of exemplary Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) that consolidate its presence and role in the territory and strengthen its economic capacity. These partnerships have been so successful that the park has established its own private company, Cerrano Trade, whose profits are now essential for the park’s annual turnover, paying additional staff salaries and support a wide spectrum of activities.

Is there anything you would like to add about the verification at MPATC?

The whole process of verification for the Charter was well organised and executed. The entire team of the MPATC and all the Charter partners showed a very good understanding of the Charter and its benefits and are highly committed to achieving the award. At the recent EUROPARC Conference in Killarney, Ireland, I was pleased to hear that best practices from the MPA have already been adopted by the Lastovo Park in Croatia, in particular regarding the application of the no-take zones. I am positive that its great best practice examples, agreements with beach bar resorts and method for self-financing will mean that many more will copy the approach of MPATC and that it will be used as a model at European level.