The Kingdom of Norway, Iceland and the Principality of Liechtenstein seeking to contribute to decreasing economic and social disparities in the European Economic Area, and strengthen the bilateral relations between donor countries and recipient societies, have created the European Economic Area and Norwegian Financial Mechanisms.
The European Economic Area Financial Mechanism support is designed for fifteen countries (the 12 new European Union member states as well as Greece, Spain and Portugal). The first period of the EEA and Norwegian Financial Mechanisms covered the years of 2004 – 2009. During the second 2009-2014-year funding period funds were allocated to the 13 programmes, one of which was designed to conserve biological diversity.
The LT03 programme “Biodiversity and ecosystem functions” aims to:
- Strengthen the capacity to manage and monitor the areas of the European ecological network “Natura 2000”;
- Avoid fragmentation of the ecosystems;
- Prepare strategies and measures to adapt to a changing climate;
- Integrate information on biodiversity and ecosystem services into the sectors of politics;
- Involve local communities in the conservation of biodiversity in order to promote a new approach and economically sustainable habits.
The implementation of the programme is administered by the Lithuanian Ministry of Environment together with the Central Project Management Agency. The programme partner – the Norwegian Environment Agency. For more information visit www.eeagrants.lt and www.norwaygrants.lt
On 17th February, 2014 the Lithuanian Ministry of Environment, PI Central Project Management Agency and the directorate of Žemaitija National Park signed an implementation contract of the project “Creating a biomass composting mechanism for preserving biodiversity in NATURA 2000 areas”; project code No. EEE-LT03-AM-01-K-01-008. The project promoter is the directorate of Žemaitija National Park, the project partner – Telšiai State Forest Enterprise (VĮ “Telšių miškų urėdija”).
The essence of the project “Creating a biomass composting mechanism for preserving biodiversity in NATURA 2000 areas”. In the areas of Natura 2000 – Žemaitija National Park, the area of 21189 ha, and Reiskiai Wilderness Swamp (“Reiskių tyrų pelkė”), the area of 4046 ha, valuable grasslands, pastures and wetlands situated in the state forest land are quickly covered with grass (the total area of 192 ha), and biodiversity there, including 2 strictly protected and 42 rare species, is also disappearing. Both of the said NATURA 2000 areas are assigned to the directorate of Žemaitija National Park. The directorate evaluates the overall condition here, as well as the condition of natural habitats and rare species, carries out monitoring and organizes environment clean-up work. In order to preserve valuable open grassland-wetland habitats, it is necessary to cut down bushes, mow grass and remove the biomass. Until now, Telšiai State Forest Enterprise had no interest in open habitat management because they had no necessary machinery for mowing, biomass collection, and the collected biomass could not be utilized. The biomass collected from the prospective 192 ha of grasslands and wetlands will be used for Telšiai State Forest Enterprise nursery compost production. Plateliai community will contribute to the project by participating in a seminar on biodiversity and biodegradable waste.
The project activities must be completed by 30th April, 2016. Continuity of the project activities will be ensured by the directorate of Žemaitija National Park and Telšiai State Forest Enterprise.
Come to the end the project “Creating a biomass composting mechanism for preserving biodiversity in NATURA 2000 areas”
The project “Creating a biomass composting mechanism for preserving biodiversity in NATURA 2000 areas” activities were funded at 100 percent and completed by 30th April, 2017.
Why did the idea to manage open habitats in Žemaitija National Park and Reiskiai State Telmological Reserve was born? Both areas are in Natura 200 ecological network, where open habitats and species that live in them are preserved. Natural meadows, grasslands, wetlands are a natural asset. They have survived the greatest biodiversity, many rare species. If there are no open spaces left, the landscape will uniform, and the habitats of medicinal, melliferous and other plants and animals living in them will disappear. Unused meadows, grasslands, wetlands gradually turn into forests because they are in the forest area.
When submitting an application, there was the requirement “to establish a mechanism of open habitat conservation.” We were thinking what kind of mechanism could it be? We discussed the issue with Telšiai State Enterprise. It turned out that they had an 80-hectare nursery, which needed compost. The project was assessed by the size of areas, protected habitats and species abundance. Therefore, we chose not only ŽNP territory, but it also Reiskiai Telmological Reserve which is the territory of Telšiai State Enterprise and assigned to ŽNP care. The Forestry had lacked in machinery for the management of open habitat, biomass transportation, equipment for compost production, thus we planned to buy them from the project funds. The project was called “Creating a biomass composting mechanism for preserving biodiversity in Natura 2000 areas”.
The aim of the project – to create a sustainable and long-term biomass composting mechanism preserving open habitats biodiversity in NATURA 2000 areas and to involve the local community in the project activities.
- To create a long-term mechanism for composting in Telšiai State Forest Enterprise (VĮ “Telšių miškų urėdija”);
- To preserve the open habitat biodiversity in Natura 2000 areas in Žemaitija;
- To involve the local community in the conservation of biodiversity and biodegradable waste composting.
The following project activities were put in action:
- The composting site installation technical project was prepared; the project expertise was performed;
- The composting site was equipped with the necessary equipment (1 tumbler, 1 shredder, 1 articulated loader and 1 telescopic loader, 1 scoop were purchased). The machinery for open habitat management was purchased (2 tractors, 3 haymakers, 2 trailers, 2 rakes, 1 baling equipment, 5 trimers).
- Unnecessary shrubs and trees in the neglected meadows and grasslands were cut down – in the area of 110 ha. The service was purchased. Firewood was used by the Forest Enterprise, and branches were crushed and used for biofuel. Benefits: the open habitat spaces were restored, landscape was revitalized, rare plants, fungi and animal species, valuable trees were preserved.
- Tree sprouts and grass vegetation from the neglected open habitats in Žemaitija National Park –were mowed down – 101 ha. The service was purchased. Haying was made with the machinery and brush cutters, the biomass was collected and rolled, approximately 200 rolls were brought to the places from which Telšiai Forest Enterprise with the purchased machinery transported them to a nursery in Patausalė village.
- Tree sprouts and grass vegetation from the neglected open habitats in Reiskiai Telmological Reserve were mowed down (91 hectares) and all the mowed biomass (950 tons) was taken to the nursery. It was difficult to make hay, grasslands were unimproved, rocky, not mowed down for 20 years, the machinery could not work properly and manual labour was needed. Benefits: the open habitat spaces were restored, old trees were freed; medicinal and melliferous plant plantations, endangered habitats and species were preserved.
A tour for community members (32 participants) to exchange experiences to Varniai Regional Park (15.10.2016). there we visited the Visitors’ Centre, Debesnai swamp, Medvėgalis and Šatrija mounds nature management, Biržuvėnai wooden manor complex.
2 seminars on biodiversity conservation in ŽNP (03.12.2015) and in Reiškiai Telmological Reserve (14.10.2016).
Publicity: seminars (3), articles published in the press (3), on the websites (in Lithuanian-English) www.zemaitijosnp.lt and www.telsiuuredija.lt (4); publicity boards (2), the final conference on 15.04.2016.
The advantage of the project – all the project activities were funded at 100 percent, the total project budget EUR 642 800, payments for activities are made every 3 months.
Disadvantage: The project was included in a reserve list and did not receive full funding (about EUR 290 000), the composting site was not installed. We hope to install it from another EEA funding phase.
Žemaitija National Park and Telšiai State Forest Enterprise 5 years will continue the project activities.