A large amount of data, information and knowledge is needed for the conservation and sustainable management of biological diversity, natural processes and ecosystem services in Prespa for the benefit of nature and people in the region – a mission that PONT and its grantees share.
The largest body of information concerning Prespa’s biodiversity is collected through field observations conducted by PONT grantees as part of scientific surveys, monitoring and research programmes covering all facets of the biodiversity and environmental processes. By combining PONT grants with funding from other donors and the governments of Albania, Greece and North Macedonia, the grantees are implementing more than 80 actions in 2020 alone.
Most of the PONT grantees participated in the 54th International Waterbird Census in the second weekend of January 2020, a survey that has been conducted simultaneously in the three countries since 2010. In July, working with the respective park authorities, the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts and ILIRIA – Protection and the Social & Environmental Development Association, will conduct surveys of 10 vascular plants species that are found only in the Galicica/Mali i Thatë mountain. Many additional surveys conducted in 2020 assess species and habitat trends or establish baseline levels of various attributes before detailed monitoring programs can be planned, such as that for the Prespa trout or the brown bear.
At the same time, some 30 monitoring tasks are being implemented this year to detect changes in the conservation status of a large number of species and habitats and assess progress towards meeting specific management objectives set out in the management plans for the protected areas in Prespa or to assess compliance with the EU directives. Some of these monitoring programmes have been implemented for a long time, such as the breeding performance of the Dalmatian and white pelicans in the Prespa National Park in Greece, implemented by the Greek Society for the Protection of Prespa since 1987. New monitoring programmes will be initiated in 2020 to monitoring the effectiveness of restoration efforts of the alder forest and wet meadows in Albania and North Macedonia.
These efforts are complemented by more than 20 scientific research projects currently carried out in Prespa by the grantees in cooperation with research institutes and universities, home and abroad, involving many young researchers conducting their Master or PhD research.
The information concerning Prespa’s biodiversity collected through the surveys, monitoring and research activities is particularly important for the regular assessment of management effectiveness of the protected areas, as well as the evaluation of other conservation programmes in the region, including that of PrespaNet.
PONT is actively cooperating with its grantees, both Protected Areas and Environmental Actors, to ensure that this information is accessible to decision-makers and that they understand the meaning of that information.
SPP Archive | S. Rusmigo “Electrofishing” (Sampling with electrofishing a stretch of the Agios Germanos stream for the Prespa trout); Fco. Marquez “Vegetation study” (Working at Lake Lesser Prespa reedbeds for assessing the effects of management on aquatic vegetation);
Valerio Vincenzo, MES, PPNEA, Galicica NP, Resen Municipality, RAPA Korça