Archive for the ‘Biodiversity’ Category

Building CSOs capacities on EU Nature related policies

From 24.10 to 28.10.2011  in Valjevo, Serbia, was held training entitled “Building CSOs capacities on EU Nature related policies” organized by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), and it partners Ecologists’ Movement of Macedonia , Greens of Montenegro, Bird Protection and Study Society of Vojvodina (Serbia). It aim was to strengthen civil society organizations in Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia in order to increase their role in the implementation of key EU enviromental policies and strategies.

This training is part of the EU funded project “EU Environmental Policies and Strategies in South Eastern Europe: Capacity Building for the Implementation of EU Environmental Policies and Strategies in Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia”.

Training participants had the opportunity to contribute on the topics:

• Ecological networks

• Green Infrastructure: development policy and practice implications

• Impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment of the environment

• NATURA 2000

• Policies for Rural Development

 The accession to EU is not a smooth process for Western Balkan countries, but a long journey with a number of challenges on the way. The process includes synchronization of the national legislation with the EU one, ensuring its implementation by introducing new acts at national level, genuine involvement of all stakeholders in the process of decision-making, improvement of regional cooperation etc. Additionally, raising awareness and capacity building for the implementation of the EU policies and strategies are of the utmost importance for a successful accession process.

CSOs are seen as the driving force for transformation of the society in the Western Balkans countries and establishing close cooperation and a functional network of skilled and knowledgeable CSOs is essential for achieving the above aim.


Barn owl – important and endangered …

Today is World Animal Day. With this post we want to arise public awareness about ecological and environmental role of one special species and contribute in their protection.

Birds of prey are important in the ecological balance; they scavenge and dispose of carrion, control rodent populations, and eat various pests that are harmful to crops. Owls that feed in agricultural areas provide benefits to humans by killing large numbers of small rodents which might otherwise eat crops in the field or in storage.

Barn owl (Tyto alba)

Barn Owls are specialist birds and highly adapted to suit their ecological role as hunters of small mammals in open habitat and low light conditions. Although small mammals are taken by a wide range of predators including buzzards, kestrels, cats, stoats and weasels (as well as other owls), none of these hunt in the same way as Barn Owls. The barn owl has exceptionally keen hearing and eyesight, making it a very effective hunter. It is said that a Barn Owl can actually hear a mouse’s heartbeat in a 30ft sq room.

Barn Owls are birds of open countryside. They typically forage by flying low over grassland habitat with frequent “hovering intervals” or by perching on fence posts and trees along field edges Barn Owls are found in open country such as agricultural areas, old fields and orchards, yet have a preference for pasture, sedge marshes and meadows. Prior to European settlement, Barn Owl habitat likely consisted of oak savannah adjacent to tallgrass prairie.

The Barn Owl’s diet consists primarily of small mammals, with a distinct preference for voles (Microtus spp.), shrews, moles, young rats, various species of mice, and occasionally birds, or frogs and large insects only if necessary. Estimates of adult food intake range from about 50 to 150 g/day, which is equivalent to 1–3 voles per day. It is estimated that a typical family of two adult and four young Barn Owls consumes about 1000 rodents during the 10-week portion of the year when young are in the nest.

Every Barn Owl’s home range is likely to contain a variety of predators that eat small mammals but none of these have an identical diet or hunting method. Although there is a good deal of overlap between species, there’s little direct competition because the Barn Owl’s ecological role is so unique.

Be aware that …

These helpful birds are, unfortunately, especially susceptible to extinction, partly because of natural evolutionary selection and partly because of human interference. Owls are, however, threatened by other activities of humans. They are exposed to toxic chemicals in forestry and agriculture, and this has taken a toll on some species of owls. One example is poisoning by exposure to the insecticide carbofuran, which is used to control epidemic populations of grasshoppers in prairie agriculture.

More important, however, have been the effects of habitat loss on owls. Urban, industrial, and agricultural development all degrade the habitat of most species of owls and other native species, causing large reductions in their populations and even their disappearance from many areas.

Help …

We are happy that in Macedonia there is organization which is taking care for the owl’s survival in the nature, preservation of their nests, offspring and hunting grounds. The purpose of  organization Macedonian Owl Trust is to facilitate the enlargement of the number of owls in our country by organizing activities for: mounting birds houses for nesting, implementation of monitoring of all recorded nests, feeding and tending of young owls with aim having them leave the nest in larger numbers.

If you want to help, too, now is the right time. This organization is in preparation for construction of houses for nesting which will be placed at various locations in the environment and help at preserving and increasing the number of endangered owls. You can donate wood materials (wooden boards or plywood) and tools and contribute in this process. You can find more information on Macedonian Owl Trust page.


We are part of event Blog Action Day : World Animal Day 2011

CELEBRATE animal life in all its forms by blogging, tweeting and hosting events to celebrate their magnificance and wonder.

Let’s protect the owls …

As we wrote previously, an important part of the Natura 2000 is Europa’s The Birds Directive. Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds (this is the codified version of Directive 79/409/EEC as amended) is the EU’s oldest piece of nature legislation and one of the most important, creating a comprehensive scheme of protection for all wild bird species naturally occurring in the Union. Its was adopted unanimously by the Members States in 1979 as a response to increasing concern about the declines in Europe’s wild bird populations resulting from pollution, loss of habitats as well as unsustainable use. It was also in recognition that wild birds, many of which are migratory, are a shared heritage of the Member States and that their effective conservation required international co-operation.

I write this post in desire to emphasize great ecological necessity and as a warning of the possibility of extinction a very interesting group of birds from our region.

I’m talking about OWLS (part of the group Strigiformes).

Specifically, in ANNEX I in the DIRECTIVE 2009/147/EC among other bird species as protected are listed this owl types – Strigidae, Bubo bubo, Nyctea scandiaca, Surnia ulula, Glaucidium passerinum, Strix nebulosa, Strix uralensis, Asio flammeus and Aegolius funereu. Three of them, Bubo bubo, Strix uralensis and Asio flammeus, and living in Republic of Macedonia.

It is very important to know that the Republic of Macedonia has taken steps to protect owls through the legislation, too. Namely, the Law on Hunting, Official Gazette no. 26 of 24.02.2009, first in Article 3 defines “Game are certain types of animals and birds that live freely in nature or in a fenced areas that are intensively cultivated, breed, hunt and protect” and than in Article 5 states “Under the game in terms of this Law shall mean the following types of animals and birds” where among other species are listed:

116) Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo L.);

117) Long-eared Owl (Asio otus L.);

118) Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus Pont.);

119) Common Scops Owl (Otus scops L.);

120) Little Owl (Athene noctua Scop.);

121) Tawny Owl (Strix aluco L.);

122) Barn Owl (Tyto alba Scop.);

Under the same law “Game that is under protection: Eurasian Eagle Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Common Scops Owl, Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Barn Owl” (Article 9, paragraph 2) and “permanently prohibit hunting: Eurasian Eagle Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Common Scops Owl, Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Barn Owl” (Article 13). Also “Destruction and appropriation of offspring, destruction and scattering of homes, nests or eggs of game under the protection provided by this law is prohibited ” (Article 14).

What is not projected or regulated by any law is our consciousness, our way of conduct and care for own living place. This remains our responsibility.

Let’s protect the owls …

NATURA 2000 in Macedonia

Slowly but surely first steps for network NATURA 2000 were made in Macedonia. The Center for environmental research and information “Eco-sense” within the project “Together for Natura 2000”, held two seminars for associations working in the field of environmental protection.

NATURA 2000 065

The first seminar was held from 7 – 8.05.2011, in hotel Metropol, Struga, and was dedicated to Natura 2000 in its entirety, introduction what  the Natura 2000 represents and why it is important for Macedonia to work towards its implementation. Lecturers at the seminar were Andrea Stefan from Croatia (WWF) and Andrey Kovachev from Bulgaria (Society for the wild fauna “Balkani”). Special place on the seminar took activities for development of ecological network NATURA 2000 in Macedonia and the importance of Ber convention (designed for  Emerald areas – Emerald’s policy on protection of rare and endangered species of animals, plants and birds and it is the counterpart of the Natura 2000, but it is designed for those countries that are candidates for EU), which were presented by Robertina Brajkovska from “MED” organization. The conclusion of this seminar was that it is necessary to create a grouping of civil society organizations from Macedonia, who will work alongside the local implementation of the NATURA 2000.

The second seminar was held from 27 – 05.29.2011, at City Park Hotel, Skopje and it was dedicated to building coalitions, partnerships and joint activities of civil associations. Lecturers were from Poland, Pavel Pavlachik (Naturalists Club Poland), and Andrey Kovachev from Bulgaria (Society for the wild fauna “Balkani”) and they shared their experiences in the application process Natura 2000. The rest of the seminar was aimed at planning the following activities.

Result from the two seminars was a group that will work on Natura 2000 in Macedonia. It is composed of 14 civic organizations, including: Eco Osogovija – Probistip, Green Power – Veles, Biosfera – Bitola, Grashnica – Ohrid, MEZ – Gostivar, Ekumena – Strumica, Eco-sense – Skopje, IDSB – Skopje, Greener – Skopje, CeProSARD – Skopje, SD PEONI – Skopje, MED- ​​Skopje, KALEN Platform – Skopje and Eco Skop – Skopje. The group had its first meeting on 20.06.2011 in the premises of British Council in Skopje and decide in the future to operate under the name Coalition “Natura 2000” .


Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of EU nature & biodiversity policy. It is an EUwide network of nature protection areas established under the 1992 Habitats Directive and1979 Birds Directive. This Directive provides declaration of areas with special protection (eng. Special Protection Areas – SPAs). SPA areas are declared mainly to protect the rarest and most endangered species on a European level, including migratory bird species.

The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats. The above directives included 230 types of habitat, over 1000 species of plants and animals and over 190 species of birds that are of great importance for Europe and the world.
In Natura 2000 areas is not prohibited to have human activities until those activities do not cause threat to those areas and species. In fact, NATURA areas do not present a strict sanctuary where any activities are prohibited. The selection of these areas is supported by scientific evidence and criteria which helps in protection of those species that are endangered, but are in great importance of environmental  chain, and protection of their habitats.

During  selection and declaration proceses of  areas from NATURA 2000 all Member States and candidates must pass three stages of dialogue with the European Commission. These three phases are:
Phase 1: Preparation of a national inventory of potential areas for ecological network NATURA 2000
Phase 2: Identify areas of importance for the EU (Sites of Community importance-SCIs)
3 stage: Nomination of special protection areas (Special Areas of Conservation-SACs)

NATURA 2000 is a flexible and contemporary, allows sustainable development for man and for nature. In the process of accession to the European Union, Macedonia is obliged to establish a network of “Natura 2000” areas. Under European legislation, the establishment of this network is one of the key points in the process of accession to the European Union.

%d bloggers like this: