Protected area

Building forward better: pillars of successful nature conservation in Georgia

In our two months in Georgia, we have met many people who work in the field of nature conservation: protected area staff including rangers and visitor centre specialists, environmental NGOs, the government’s Agency of Protected Areas and activists to get an insight into nature conservation in Georgia has developed since the collapse of the Soviet Union and, most importantly, the way forward for the future.

In this article, we want to cover three important pillars in Georgian nature conservation which we have not specifically covered so far: funding with a special focus on the Caucasus Nature Fund, the political agenda to enlarge the protected area network made possible by the Agency of Protected Areas, and the crucial work of rangers.

Once decimated, now returning – East Caucasian tur monitoring with NACRES

Throughout its 30 years of existence, NACRES has become a centrepiece in the conservation puzzle of Georgia. We had the chance to accompany the conservation team on their field work to monitor the East Caucasian turs in the mountainous Kazbegi National Park. We spent the days searching for Caucasian turs on the majestic slopes of the Kazbegi National Park, while the evenings were filled with talks about Georgian biodiversity, human-wildlife conflict, effectiveness of protected areas and capacity building of rangers.

The intricate web of nature protection in Hatay

As we approached the province of Hatay, we had no idea yet how intricate and strong the nature protection community really is here. But soon enough, we found out that like the underground network of trees in a forest, the protectors of Hatay developed a unique and diverse network, consisting of academicians, conservationists, media personnel and nature enthusiasts, working as coordinated as we have not seen before.

And what are they protecting? Taking up only 0.7% of Turkey, Hatay hosts 60% of all of the country’s mammal species. Moreover, it is a major bottleneck for migratory birds and hosts some of Turkey’s most important wetlands belonging to the Asi river basin.

The turbulent history of the Agigea sand dunes

We visited the Agigea Ornithological Observatory on the Romanian black sea coast to talk about why ringing birds is so important and what we can learn from it. What we did not expect is to learn about the 100-year-old protected sand dunes located in just next to the port of Constanta.

The ‘Dunele Marine de la Agigea’ (sea dunes of Agigea) are in fact the only natural sea sand dunes left on the entire Romanian coastline outside the Danube Delta. But how can a 100-year-old, so strategically located protected area survive world wars as well as communism? Not easily, we can tell you this much…

Naturpark Taunus – an organization connecting the metropolis of Frankfurt with local nature

Our second visit was a personal one for me (Jonas). My first ever job in nature conservation was at the Naturpark Taunus, a nature park located in the Central Upland range of the Taunus mountains in Central Germany with an area of 1348 km2. I did a voluntary year called “FÖJ” here after I graduated from high school. Shortly before …

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