Conservation of priority forests and forest openings in "Ethnikos Drymos Oitis" and "Oros Kallidromo" of Sterea Ellada, LIFE11 NAT/GR/1014
This action consists of the creation, update and maintenance of a project website.
The website will be bilingual (Greek and English) and will include description of the project, its objectives, actions, project progress and results, as well as networking facilities, a forum and relevant links. It will be launched in the first year of the project and will be maintained and updated throughout the project duration. It will also be available for five years after the end of the project.
Specific reference to LIFE+ financial support including appearance of the LIFE logo will be made at all materials and activities of this action at no additional cost to the project.
This action will disseminate the results of the project worldwide instantly; it is also obligatory for all LIFE+ projects.
The website is an integral part of the communication and participation strategy. It promotes information and education material to the stakeholders and the general public, and it also allows the exchange of information, opinions and experience. It will also function as a valuable tool for networking and for information and experience transfer. Finally, it will provide a low cost communication method which will facilitate the project flow and reduce its carbon footprint.
- Project website
The purpose of this action is to train stakeholders in the regions of Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromo in the methods developed by the project for habitat conservation. It includes two subactions.
The first subaction includes training in in-situ habitat and species monitoring and restoration. This subaction will take place in the fifth (last) year of the project and will consist in two 4-day workshops, one for Mt. Oiti and one for Mt. Kallidromo. The participants will include employees of the Local Authorities and of the Management Body, members of local NGOs, and other volunteers. The workshop will include indoor seminars as well as field-work for the demonstration and training in the techniques used for habitat and species monitoring and restoration, so that the participants will be able to carry out the necessary actions for after-LIFE conservation. The exact content of the workshops will be determined by the results of the various actions of the project regarding monitoring indices and successful techniques, and they will be specified by action F.4. It is envisaged that demonstration and training will include:
- Key issues on the conservation biology of the target habitats and species, with special focus on the conservation of both forests and forest openings.
- Concrete ex-situ and in-situ conservation action techniques.
- Techniques for monitoring the species’ and habitats’ conservation status.
- Habitat mapping techniques.
- Effectiveness evaluation methodology.
The second subaction includes education and training of stakeholders (producers) in sustainable grassland management in accordance to the aims and the results of the project. The subaction includes organization of a series of 3-day educational and training seminars for stockbreeders, beekeepers and other producers of Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromo. The seminars will take place annually, starting on the second year of the project. There will be a total of 8 seminars: each year a different subject will be presented in one seminar in the region of Mt. Oiti and one seminar in the region of Mt. Kallidromo. The seminars will include indoor presentations and discussion and, when appropriate, field demonstration of the practices. The subjects of the seminars will include:
- Integrated management of mountain grasslands.
- Grassland conservation and extensive livestock farming.
- Best practices of animal farming and promotion of animal products.
- Grazing management for the conservation of habitats 6210* and 6230* based on the results of the project.
This action is necessary because it will provide to the stakeholders the skills required for the implementation of long-term conservation of the target species and habitats on Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromo, as well as in other sites.
Moreover, it will train farmers in the local communities in alternative methods of management which will be in line with the objectives of biodiversity conservation. Thus, the action will contribute to the long-term sustainability of the project results and also to the wider application of the methods developed.
- Two training workshops for in-situ habitat and species monitoring and restoration, with 20–30 attendees each.
- Eight 3-day educational and training seminars for farmers of the project sites.
The purpose of this action is the dissemination of the results of the project to the international scientific community and the priduction of a Layman's report for the general public.
The action includes the following activities:
- Presentation of the project methodology, results and analysis, regarding the integrated management of forest openings, and regarding particular habitats and species (e.g., conservation biology of Veronica oetaea*, restoration of temporary ponds) in international conferences. The MEDECOS series of international conferences will be attended.
- Publication of major findings in articles, in conference proceedings, and in scientific peer-reviewed journals.
- Participation in the network of the European Dry Grassland Group (EDGG) and publication of the relevant project findings in the EDGG bulletin.
- Participation in the meetings of the Hellenic Range and Pasture Society (HERPAS), publication of the relevant project findings in the annual HERPAS bulletin, and deposition of relevant project deliverable products, including guidelines, in the HERPAS database.
- Participation in a relevant specialised symposium of the European Grassland Federation (EGF).
- Production of a 10-page Layman’s report in two versions, Greek and English, at the end of the project. It will be published in printed and electronic format, and will be available for download at the project website. Hard copies will be distributed to stakeholders. The report will present the project objectives, actions and results in comprehensive format, appropriate for the general public.
Specific reference to LIFE+ financial support, including appearance of the LIFE logo, will be made at all materials and activities of this action at no additional cost to the project.
The project includes pilot concrete conservation actions targeting vulnerable and/or rare habitats with Mediterranean or European distribution. The methodology and results of the application of management measures will be of interest to the international scientific community and useful to managers of protected sites.
Mountain grassland management is a subject of European concern, while the management of Mediterranean mountain grasslands for biodiversity conservation is a subject which has not been adequately studied or documented. Moreover, there is actually no experience in the conservation management of mountain juniper forests.
On the other hand, there is significant experience in the management of Mediterranean temporary ponds at a European level. However, there is no experience in the management of high altitude temporary ponds and their specialized species.
The dissemination of the project results to the scientific community will contribute to the base knowledge about the target habitats and species, and will promote best practice for their conservation. Finally, the Layman’s report is considered obligatory for all LIFE+ projects. As a concise description of the whole project, it will contribute to the dissemination of its objectives results to a wide audience and raise public awareness.
- A series of presentations to international scientific conferences and of publications to conference proceedings and international scientific journals.
- Publications to the EDGG and HERPAS bulletins.
- Layman’s report in paper and electronic format.
The purpose of this action is to ensure effective overall management of the project, which will enable the achievement of the project objectives following high quality standards and on schedule. The action will start at the onset of the project, and includes management of administrative, technical, and financial aspects of the project and monitoring of project progress.
An organigram illustrating the project management structure is presented here. The staff of each beneficiary includes a team coordinator (for the coordinating beneficiary this is the Project Coordinator), scientific or specialised public body staff, technicians, and a financial administrator.
There will be 3 coordination and management teams: a) the project coordinator and the team coordinators constitute the Administrative Team; b) the financial administrators constitute the Financial Team; and c) the team coordinators of the UoA, the NAGREF, ARCTUROS, and the HSPN or their representatives, as well as the scientific staff of the project appointed by the team coordinator constitute the Scientific Team, which may also invite external scientists (through action F.5).
Project management is enacted by the Project Manager, who is assisted by the Administrative Team and the Financial Team. The latter will be in liaison with the external auditor (action F.3).
The Scientific team will support project management as a consultant by offering advice and validating the scientific results.
The Stakeholder Committee (action F.2) will support project management by providing guidance, in order to ensure public support and commitment and in order to overcome potential administrative and political problems. Communication among the personnel of the project beneficiaries and between them and the Project Manager will be facilitated by the partner intranet of the project website (action E.3).
The HSPN, as coordinating beneficiary, will be responsible for the overall project management and for the distribution of the EU financial contribution to the associated beneficiaries. The HSPN has assigned a full time Project Manager who has previous project management experience and who will direct and coordinate the project, will supervise the project progress and will be accountable for the efficient and timely completion of all actions. The team coordinator of each associated beneficiary is responsible for the implementation of the actions assigned to the beneficiary, for the production of the deliverable products, and for the financial management of the team’s budget, in which he will be assisted by the financial administrator. Team coordinators assigned by the UoA, NAGREF, and Arcturos have ample previous management experience in LIFE projects.
Each team coordinator will provide the Project Manager with an annual internal progress report, describing the implementation of actions, the state of completion of deliverable products and problems encountered. Moreover, the team coordinator will provide annually detailed financial data (cost statements) to the Project Manager who will monitor the economic liability of the beneficiaries’ expenditure, and will accredit the financial progress of the project. The Project Manager and the Administrative and Financial teams will meet 3 times annually and also communicate regularly via the partner intranet of the project website (action E.3).
The team coordinators are members of the permanent staff of the beneficiaries. The administrative bodies of the beneficiaries have decided to offer their work to the project free of charge (outside LIFE) in view of the benefits that the project is expected to confer, in terms of nature conservation, socio-economic effects, scientific and technical experience, employment opportunities and equipment acquisition. The team coordinators were involved in the formulation of this proposal, again free of charge for the beneficiaries, and are, therefore, dedicated to the project. During the implementation of the project it is foreseen that they will dedicate approximately 40 person-days per year.
The HSPN will be responsible for the timely submission of the deliverable products, technical activity reports and expenditure and income statements of the project. The coordinating beneficiary will collect from the team coordinators the information and deliverables needed for the inception, mid-term, and final reports, as well as financial statements, will compose them and will send them to the EC and to the external monitoring teams on the specified dates.
Project progress monitoring:
The coordinating beneficiary will be responsible for monitoring the project progress and will be assisted in this by the annual internal reporting and the meetings described above, as well as by the external auditor (action F.3). The coordinating beneficiary will draw up a set of project monitoring indicators to be presented in the inception report. These indicators will be estimated annually and will consist of the following:
- Project performance indicators evaluating the project operation, e.g., ratio of actual to scheduled percent of completion of key activities and deliverable products; cost-effectiveness of project execution; performance of project management; procurement effectiveness.
- Project outcome indicators evaluating the feasibility and effectiveness of progress actions (other than the impact on habitats and species evaluated by actions D), e.g., number or participants in meetings, seminars, local events and educational excursions; extent of visitor damaging activities and of fly-tipped waste.
This action is necessary for the successful evolution of the project, which is complicated and includes a large number of interrelated actions, a large number of cooperating beneficiaries, and important project-stakeholder interactions. Besides, this action is considered obligatory for all LIFE+ projects.
- Efficient and effective evolution of the project actions, in schedule completion of actions and delivery of reports and financial statements to the EU.
- Five meetings of the Administrative and Financial team (minutes will be included in the deliverable products).
- A set of project progress indicators to be delivered in the inception report and updated annually.
This action concerns the establishment and function of a Stakeholder Committee (STAC), which will support the project management by providing guidance, in order to ensure public support and commitment and in order to overcome potential administrative and political problems.
The function of the STAC is considered a key element for the success of the project. The STAC will be chaired by the Project Manager. The members of the STAC will be representatives of local and regional authorities and of the local communities, representatives of local NGOs, and representatives of local professional unions. A full list of the members of the STAC will be presented in the inception report, and a draft list is presented below:
- Project Coordinator (HSPN).
- Team coordinator (or official representative) of the RST.
- President and other representatives of the Management Body of the National Park of Mt. Oiti.
- Representative(s) of the Municipality of Lamia.
- Representative(s) of the Municipality of Molos-Agios Konstantinos.
- Representative(s) of the Local Communities of the villages in the areas of Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromo.
- Representative(s) of the Decentralized Region of Thessalia-Sterea Ellada.
- Representative(s) of the Forest Inspection of Lamia.
- Representative(s) of the Chamber of Fthiotida (union of local professionals).
- Representative(s) of local NGOs.
- Representative(s) from the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change.
- Representative(s) from the General Secretariat of Forests and Natural Environment.
The STAC will be established by the Project Manager at the onset of the project and will meet officially once a year.
The Project Manager along with the team coordinator of the RST will be responsible for inviting to the official meetings the members of the project personnel or the representatives of users’ groups (such as hunter, mountaineer, cyclist, and four-wheel drive clubs) as needed.
In addition, the members of the STAC will communicate regularly via the Stakeholder network of the project website (action E.3). The STAC will be actively involved in preparatory actions regarding stakeholder consultation (action A.11) and governance structure (action A.12), as well as in the environmental awareness and education campaign (action E.1) and the establishment of the Education and Information Centres (action E.2).
The STAC will also be informed and consulted regarding the specifications for the implementation of all the concrete conservation actions and will be actively involved in the after-LIFE management plans (action F.4).
The Stakeholder Committee is expected to ensure two pre-requisites for the success of any conservation effort:
- The consent of the local, regional and national authorities for the project actions
- The consent and participation of the local communities in conservation actions.
It will function as a consultation body for the project, as a link of the project to the local people, and as a forum for the exchange of information and opinions.
- The STAC will facilitate the project flow and enable the long-term sustainability of the results of the project.
- Five formal meetings of the STAC (minutes will be included in the deliverable products).
This action concerns the external auditing needed for the verification of the financial statements of the project.
An independent accounting editor will be nominated by the project coordinator, and will examine the project financial data and statements in order to verify that they adhere to the national legislation and to certify that all costs incurred respect the LIFE+ Common Provisions.
External auditing will take place during the project and in particular prior to the submission of mid-term and final reports.
This action is necessary in order to ensure that all economic transactions which will take place during the project will comply with the relevant National and EU legislation. Moreover, it is considered obligatory for all LIFE+ projects.
- Financial control of the project.
The purpose of this action is to produce an after-LIFE Conservation Plan for the target habitats and species. It will be implemented on the final year of the project.
The plan will include detailed specifications for after-LIFE monitoring and management of the target habitats and species. The results of actions A.1, A.2, A.3, A.4, A.5, A.6 and A.7 as well as of the actions D.1, D.2, D.3, and D.4 will be used in order to establish the minimum surveillance and operational monitoring requirements for the conservation of the target habitats and species.
The results of the D actions and the management manuals produced by the C actions will be used in order to specify the details of how and when the long-term after-LIFE management actions will be carried out. Additionally, details on who will carry out the actions and by what finance sources will be provided. The Stakeholder Committee will assist in determining the latter details.
This Action will ensure the long-term viability of the project results, and the long-term conservation of the target habitats and species. It is considered obligatory for all LIFE+ projects. Moreover, the continuation of after-LIFE monitoring and management is necessary since the impact of certain of the project actions will be fully evident only in the long-term.
- A report with the after-LIFE Conservation Plan.
This action will establish networks with other LIFE or non-LIFE projects with relevant objectives. It will start at the onset of the project and will set up informal networks on the topics of the conservation and management of mountain grasslands, temporary ponds, mountain juniper forests, large mammals, and forest bird fauna.
An official request of collaboration will be made to the leading partners of the relevant projects at the start of the project and the organisations that will respond will be given access to the project networking facilities (action E.3). Communication will also be established with existing relevant networks, such as the European Pond Conservation Network.
In addition to informal exchange of information and experience via internet and e-mail, a series of activities will be organized, which will include:
- Organisation of a visit of representatives from other LIFE or non-LIFE project teams to the sites of Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromo. This will include meetings among the project personnel and invited representatives for information and experience exchange, and visits to the project sites.
- Organisation of visits of project personnel to the sites of other LIFE projects.
- Organisation of an information platform through the project website.
- Creation of an internet directory of scientists and practitioners in the relevant topics.
- Participation of experts from similar LIFE projects to action E.4.
This action will ensure information and experience exchange on the management and conservation of the target habitats and species, and is considered obligatory for all LIFE+ projects.
The working experience and knowledge gained by similar projects will be a valuable tool for guidance of the project actions, and will enhance the expertise of the project teams. In turn, the experience and knowledge gained by the project will be efficiently transferred to other scientists and managers. Moreover, it will help establish international networks on the topics pursued.
- A comprehensive report of the experience in conservation and management of the target habitats and species at the European and Mediterranean levels.
- One visit of the representatives of other projects to the project site.
- One or more visits of the project personnel to the sites of other LIFE projects.
- Web information platform.
- Internet directory of experts.