In May 2020, PONT and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) awarded a grant to Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Art (MASA) concerning the conservation of six endemic vascular plant species in Galicica National Park in North Macedonia. By combining existing data with field investigation, the conservation status of 4 endemic species (Edraianthus horvatii, Festuca galicicae, Laserpitium ochridanum, Sempervivum galicicum and Centaurea galicicae) was assessed in 2020, using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria at the national level.
The field investigations were resumed in June 2021 with a focus on two additional local endemic species, Dianthus galicicae and Centaurea soskae, whose distribution is particularly restricted, with their populations numbering a few dozens and several hundreds of individuals, respectively.
The staff of the Public Institution Galicica National Park (PIGNP) is being closely involved in all stages of the study, from literature review, field investigations and Red List assessment to developing conservation actions and measures. The collaboration between MASA and the PIGNP not only addresses some of the highest priority conservation issues identified in the Management Plan of Galicica National Park, but also proved to be particularly effective in building technical capacity of the park’s managers and staff, young professionals in particular.
These efforts are complemented by a similar collaboration between the non-governmental organization Protection and the Social & Environmental Development Association – ILIRIA and the Regional Administration of Protected Areas – Korca, managing the Prespa National Park in Albania. Collectedly, these collaborations encompass most of the endemic vascular plants restricted to the transboundary Galicica/Mali i Thatë mountain.
These collaborations are representative of PONT’s distinctive approach to conserving nature for a sustainable future in the transboundary Prespa-Ohrid ecoregion combining coordinated and complementary grants to co-finance operational costs of Protected Areas with grants to co-finance the work of scientific and academic institutions and non-governmental organizations.