ADEPT’s project funded by LIFE+ (EU Life Nature: Saving the Important Pastoral Ecosystems of Transylvania (STIPA)) aimed to improve the conservation status of two priority dry grassland habitats in the Sighisoara -Tarnava Mare SCI: semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) with important orchid sites, and sub-Pannonic steppic grasslands. Both of these habitats are included in Annex I of the Habitats Directive.
The project aimed to create conservation action plans for the two habitats, by establishing a priority zone in the area and five micro-reserves in certain hotspots that include simple and practical management agreements with land owners. It was also foreseen to include payments for certain private owners where necessary. The project would moreover support local communities to ensure that they continue or revert to traditional grassland management. To encourage long-term habitat conservation, the project aimed to contribute to the development of an integrated management plan for the broader combined SPA/SCI and to the design of national and regional agri-environment schemes for 2013-2019.
The STIPA project achieved its overall objectives, though these objectives were adjusted during the project. After thorough and innovative mapping of the project area, the beneficiary found that the targeted habitats cover only slightly over half of the initially estimated area. The priority habitats covered a total of 5 895 hectares. As a result, targets were adjusted, while still addressing around 80% of the previously targeted habitats. The project applied three methods of habitat restoration: clearing of scrub with the Brielmeier mower, clearing of invasive species at sheepfolds and improving grazing management over a large sheep grazing area. In total, payments were made for the restoration of 327.72 ha. This contributed to the creation of six micro-reserves in the area, four of which are located at biodiversity hotspots. (Eight information panels were erected in Romanian and English).
At present ADEPT is partner in another LIFE + Projject – ELCN (Development of an European Land Conservation Network).
The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation by co-financing projects with European added value.