LAND for LIFE


photo: Svetoslav Spasov / www.NatureImages.eu

Restoration and sustainable management of Imperial Eagle’s foraging habitats in key Natura 2000 sites in Bulgaria (LIFE14 NAT/BG/001119)

Project objectives:

1. Develop and test models for restoration and sustainable management of open-grassland habitats to ensure long-term preservation of the Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) involving key stakeholders to ensure building ownership on project results.

2. Restore and enhance the feeding habitats of the Imperial Eagle by implementing urgent measures to stabilize and increase the micro-populations of its main prey – small birds, reptiles and mammals, including the globally threatened European Souslik (Spermophilus citellus), and strengthening the national legal framework to secure its long-term protection.

3. Mitigate the effects of loss of nesting substrate by providing artificial nesting platforms.

4. Strengthen the strategic planning framework of the national and EU agri-environmental policy to minimise the detrimental effect of land-use changes in the project area.

5. Build up community pride in and support for the conservation of the Imperial Eagle, and the Natura 2000 sites where over 80% of its population is concentrated.

 

Duration: 5 years (01.09.2015 - 31.08.2020).

 

Project sites: Special Protected Areas within the Natura 2000 network: Sakar, Derventski vazvisheniaq Zapadna Strandzha, Adata – Tundzha, Kamenski bair and Sinite kamani - Grebenets.
 

Project partners:

Coordinating beneficiary: Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds / BirdLife Bulgaria

Associated beneficiaries: NATURE PARK SAKAR, AGROFIELD OOD, ART IST EOOD, BIOFIELD OOD, BV AGRO OOD, KIT OOD, LAVENDA OOD, MALBREG EOOD, ODRISI EOOD, OT FERMATA EOOD



Activities: 

  • Development of Detailed Plan for Restoration and Sustainable Management of Imperial Eagle Foraging Habitats
  • Mapping Destroyed Feeding Habitats around Imperial Eagle’s Nests to Inform Land Purchase Strategy and Actions
  • Study the Imperial Eagle’s Prey Species to Inform Habitat Restoration Activities
  • Study the Opportunities for Natural Recolonization and Restocking of the European Souslik (Spermophilus citellus)
  • Develop National Action Plan for the Conservation of the European Souslik in Bulgaria
  • Restore Imperial Eagle’s Foraging Habitats on Tilled Arable Lands
  • Restore Imperial Eagle’s Foraging Habitats on Overgrown Pastures
  • Test Models for Pasture Management Inside Natura 2000 Sites in Favour of Imperial Eagle and proposal of management techniques for the future SPA management plans.
  • Enhance Conditions of Foraging and Breeding Habitats at Project SPAs through planting trees, restoring mosaic habitats and installation of artificial nests.
  • Pilot Reintroduction of European Souslik in Project SPAs
  • Engage With the Farming Community to Increase Awareness of Eagle-Friendly Agriculture and  encourage Uptake of Appropriate Agri-Environment Measures
  • Communiocation and awareness rising activities

 

 

Expected results:

  • Developed and tested sustainable land-management models within the key grassland habitats
  • Restored
  • Restored 250 ha of tilled grasslands
  • Restored 550 ha of overgrown grasslands
  • Sustainably managed 1400 ha of grasslands trough natural grazing of sheep, cattle and horses
  • Local farmers trained in sustainable grassland management in areas with breeding Imperial Eagls
  • Improved Imperial Eagles foraging habitats
  • 600 planted trees
  • 40 artificial nests installed in suitable habitats  
  • Developed and endorsed National Action Plan for Conservation of European Souslik
  • One extinct colony of European Souslik restored
  • Improved local support for conservation of Imperial Eagle and biodiversity in Natura 2000 areas.

 

Financing: Project budget: 3,555,173 Euro of which 75% is co-finances by the LIFE programme of the European Union and 25% by the project partners.  

Project website: www.LANDforLIFE.org

Pictures