February 2024 marks the start of two “3-year follow-up” grants from PONT in the Wider Prespa Ohrid Area (including Shebenik National Park).
Two Environmental Actors and long-term partners of PONT, PPNEA (Protection and Preservation of the Natural Environment in Albania) and MES (Macedonian Ecological Society) have once again joined efforts under the PrespaNet network to synchronise and coordinate actions.
These new grants aim to ensure continuous transboundary communication and cooperation in the area. They will focus on:
- Ecological restoration, water, wetland, and wildlife conservation,
- Participatory monitoring, environmental education, awareness raising and local engagement, and at the same time adapting to the climate crisis.
The Prespa Field Laboratory programme will be enriched with more transboundary capacity-building events, such as summer camps, bird banding camps, student internships, and celebratory transboundary field trips on species monitoring. In addition, for the first time, the grants include actions and allocated funds to support adaptive management leveraging PrespaNet’s capacity.
The ceremonies to celebrate the continuation of the cooperation with the respective grantees took place in Tirana and Prespa, the latter during the celebration of the World Wetlands Day.
Wet meadows which are regularly mowed were visited by representatives of MES, Resen Municipality, rangers of Ezerani Nature Park, Galicica National Park, and PONT. The increasing cooperation with local farmers was highlighted, farmers benefit from the hay bales but also from the prevention of destructive wildfires.
In conjunction, the restoration of Alder forests was discussed. After the wetland habitat mapping, MES started to explore the production of alder seeds and restoration. Many stakeholders are involved to protect the young seedlings which grow slowly but steadily. The restoration of Alder forests is now being replicated on the Greek side of the basin and hopefully soon on the Albanian side.