Last week, we presented three examples of projects funded by the Operational Programme Environment. This time we will focus on projects supported by the LIFE Programme and its priority called Nature and Biodiversity, which supports, among other things, the management of habitats and species protected by the Natura 2000 network.
By July 2019, LIFE Programme had provided funding for 13 projects. It also supported our One Nature project, on the website of which you are now, by more than EUR 12 million. We are pleased to present other projects supported by LIFE Programme in the Czech Republic.
From 2016 to the end of 2020, the project LIFE for Minuartia aims to save the rare species of Minuartia smejkalii and to increase its population by 40%. This small, white-flowering plant is a Czech endemic and occurs in only two areas in our country, in the Želivka Site of Community importance and in Hadce u Hrnčíř Site of Community importance.
The total cost of the project is almost EUR 736,000, of which the LIFE Programme provided approximately EUR 550,000. The Botanical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences in cooperation with the Czech Union for Nature Conservation in Vlašim were thus able to ensure activities to mitigate the negative effects on the Minuartia smejkalii population, such as spreading of self-seeded trees, development of competitively strong grasses or moss layer, illegal dumps, illegal plant collection, vandalism and inappropriate forest management.
The habitats were revitalized through mowing, sheep grazing or manual plucking of plants. A gene pool bank was established (this is the so-called ex-situ protection, i.e. outside the territory of natural occurrence of the species), populations in nature were strengthened directly. There was also reintroduction and also local people got involved in the conservation of the species through the newly created programme Rescue Cultivation in Private Gardens.
The LIFE Programme also supported the Military LIFE for Nature project (the total cost being EUR 2.34 million) with almost EUR 1.7 million, which aims to improve the statuses of two European important species, the Jersey tiger and the greater pasque flower, and seven natural habitats (Pánov near Hodonína, Načeraticeký kopec near Znojmo, Mašovická střelnice and Havranické vřesoviště in the Podyjí National Park and Blšanský chlum near Louny).
BELECO Association, together with other partners, Česká krajina (Czech Landscape) or Wetland Ltd., takes various measures in these areas, such as removal of self-seeded trees, long-term disturbance management, grazing of mixed flocks of sheep and goats and introduction of “wild” horses grazing. In addition, they raise general public awareness of natural scientific importance of abandoned military areas and the possibilities of their conservation and management, in which local communities are also involved.
The last example is the project LIFE Osmoderma 2017 – Protection of hermit beetle in SCI Poodří, which received almost EUR 700,000 from the LIFE Programme. It focuses on supporting the environment for a robust beetle about 3 cm in size, whose environment is in hollow, long-lived trees growing outside the forest, such as willows, pears, poplars or oaks.
Arnika – Citizen Support Centre, in cooperation with the Czech Union for Nature Conservation in Studénka, Faculty of Science, University of Ostrava and Polish Foundation for Sustainable Development (Fundacja Ekorozwóju), looks after and plants trees, especially willows, pear trees and other native local tree species in the Site of Community Importance Poodří (Odra Valley) in 2018 to 2023.