Total budget: €356.330
EU contribution: €259.515
Orange Romania contribution: €96.815
Period: 01/10/2010 - 30/09/2013.
Read the LIFE+ STIPA Final Report
The Sighisoara-Tarnava Mare SCI (Natura 2000 site declared under the EU Habitats Directive) is characterised by dry grassland habitat types which are threatened in Europe. About 6.000 ha of the 85,374 ha area is comprised of these habitats. Much of this area is common grazing, under management of the Town Halls. A significant part of these habitats in the project area is either abandoned or overgrazed, for economic reasons. Farmers do not get sufficient economic return for managing them traditionally. Overgrazing causes loss of species richness. Abandonment leads to the spread of thorny scrub, and accumulation of dead grassy material. In both case, loss of habitat condition in common grazing land and in privately owned hay meadows leads to loss of associated flora and fauna including important bird and butterfly species. These effects are obvious but still easily reversible by re-establishment of traditional management. The STIPA project is the only LIFE Nature project granted to Romania in 2010.
The STIPA project is in contact with other LIFE projects that are concerned with grassland conservation.
In 2011 we visited the Cranbourse Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (CCAONB) project in UK. CCAONB are responsible for one of the UK’s largest dry grassland sites (chalk grassland) including 5 counties and 22 organisations, and is a good model for linking conservation to communities and rural development. The CCAONB is funded 25% by local government and 75% by central government.
Although based on chalk, rather than limestone/marl as in the Tarnava Mare area, there are many similarities between the flora and the management challenges. In addition, CCAONB works with a Local Action Group (EU LEADER programme), through which they secured Euros 3m funding for the sustainable development of the area. This visit gave useful information for both projects.
In 2013 we visited the LIFE RI.CO.PR.I Project (Restoration and Conservation of arid grasslands in Central and Southern Italy), aimed at recovery and conservation of two dry grassland habitats, 6210 (Festuco-Brometalia, also target of STIPA project) and 6220 (pseudo-steppes of Thero-Brachipodietea). It is coordinated by the Province of Rome. The Province of Potenza, the Park of Gallipoli Cognato, the University of Rome Tor Vergata and the Italian Confederation of Farmers of Basilicata are associated beneficiaries.
These habitats are in progressive regression after abandonment and poor management of grassland farming. The project activities take place in three Sites of Community Interest (SCI), including two in the province of Rome - the SCI Monte Ruffi, in the municipality of Cerreto Laziale, and SCI Monte Guadagnolo mainly in the territory of Capranica Prenestina; and one in the province of Potenza, the SCI-SPA Dolomiti di Pietrapertosa, which is located in the municipalities of Pietrapertosa and Castelmezzano.
In addition, the RI.CO.PR.I meeting attended by ADEPT in May 2013 also hosted five other LIFE+ Dry grassland projects, with who much useful cross-fertilisation of ideas took place:
In June 2013 we hosted a visit from the Machair LIFE project (Scotland), http://www.machairlife.org.uk/. 5 Machair project members visited STIPA project in period 2-6 July 2013. Since the project was focused on grassland conservation and Crex crex conservation (characteristic species if STIPA project area) this was a useful exchange.
The "LIFE Praterie" Project aims at the long-term conservation of the high nature value grasslands and pastures in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park. The Park Authority is the only beneficiary of this project, and all the Park services are involved.
For further informations: www.lifepraterie.it/Eindex.php
STIPA was also disseminated in the conference paper for the grasslands conference in Thuringen, published October 2013.
Other LIFE projects that are concerned with grassland conservation:
[LIFE CCAONB] Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty project in UK. CCAONB are responsible for one of the UK’s largest dry grassland sites.
[LIFE RI.CO.PR.I] Project (Restoration and Conservation of arid grasslands in Central and Southern Italy), aimed at recovery and conservation of two dry grassland habitats which share very similar threats with the dry grassands of the STIPA project.
[LIFE PRATERIE] The "LIFE Praterie" Project aims at the long-term conservation of the high nature value grasslands and pastures in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park.
We have had contact with two other LIFE+ Nature grassland projects, with whom we have exchanged information and added links on our respective websites, to aid networking:
Community Project LIFE11/NAT/IT/234 Urgent Actions for the conservation of grasslands and pastures in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga territory (www.lifepraterie.it), aimsedat the long-term conservation of grasslands and pastures in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park. The premise of the project is the fact that the conservation of the different types of habitats cannot exclude the careful and sustainable management of the production activities connected with them, such as extensive farming and tourism. Therefore the project aims at intervening on different levels: harmonization of the grazing system, more careful ways to manage the tourist services, the spread of good conservation practices and of a new culture of sustainable utilization.
www.rale-des-genets.fr, a French project to be implemented in the Corncrake's last three strongholds, where numbers declined from 2 800 calling males in the mid-1970s to only 300 in 2011. In consequence, the Corncrake, formerly emblematic of the area's flood plains, has become designated a national endangered species. The LIFE + Nature programme "Protection des sites de reproduction et realisation d'actions novatrices et demonstratives favorables au Rale des genets" (sept.2011 / dec.2015), coordinated by LPO France, proposes to prevent the loss of the species by restoring Corncrake breeding in the Pays de la Loire (Anjou LPO), Poitou-Charentes and Picardy (CEN Picardie).
We have also had contact with other Romanian and wider EU NGOs who have dry grassland conservation and survival of traditional management of grasslands as objectives:
We attended meetings with WWF Romania and Romanian Ornithological Society to discuss amendment of agri-environment measures.
STIPA was also