(C)=cultural (N)=natural There is some crossover between disciplines

Country Dates Partner
Bulgaria 30th April – 7th May 2017 Devetaki Plateau Association (C)
Norway 25th – 31st May 2017 Evenstad University (N)
Slovakia 25th – 31st May 2017 Krajina and High Tatras National Park (N)
Estonia NEW 5th -22nd May 2017 NE Estonia – The Estonian National Museum (C)
Iceland 1st – 8th June 2017 Fornverkaskólinn Turf Building (C)
Slovenia 05th – 11th July 2017 Vitra Centre for Sustainable Development (N)
Romania 22nd -29th August 2017 Satul Verde (Green Village) (N)
Poland 26th Jul – 01st Aug 2017 EUCC and Ujscie Warta National Park (N)
Latvia 1st – 07th September 2017 Latvia State Forest Service (N)
Cyprus 14th -21st September 2017 Kato Drys Municipality (C)
Finland 18th-24nd September 2017 Tampere University.
Norway 2015 Joint Report
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Norway 2015 Joint Report

The objective was to develop our understanding of conservation issues and exchange ideas through meeting experts and seeing practical examples of research and wildlife management in Norway. We also all had our own personal development objectives that we wanted to achieve.
Our host for the week was Marius Kjonsberg, lecturer for the Applied Ecology and Agricultural Science Facility at the University of Hedmark. We were based mainly at the Evenstad campus, located in the south east of Norway. Marius was a fantastic host and managed to co-ordinate a great variety of topics and arranged for pertinent site visits and talks. We learnt a great deal that we hope to apply to the management of our own natural resources.

Forestry in Finland – 2nd-9th May 2015
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Forestry in Finland – 2nd-9th May 2015

Our first day saw us travel 50km north of our base in Tampere to Seitseminen National Park. Founded in 1982 and covering an area of 45.5km², the National Park is managed by the state owned enterprise Metsähallitus. Seitseminen National Park frames a mosaic of landscapes with a diverse mix of habitats which include; ancient forests, esker ridges & open bogs.

Sustainable Development & Biodiversity in Slovenia – A GIS Storymap
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Sustainable Development & Biodiversity in Slovenia – A GIS Storymap

Secovlje Salt Pans
We learned that the park is on the list of Ramsar wetlands of international importance. In fact, in 2003 the solina was damaged which meant no harvesting took place, however European funding helped restore the site for birdlife, which in turn enabled salt harvesting to resume. It was really interesting to see how much of an asset wildlife has been for the park, as it enabled them to restore the salt-pans, and the park clearly takes great pride in its wildlife.

Visitor Management in the West Pomaranian region of Poland
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Visitor Management in the West Pomaranian region of Poland

I work as a ranger at Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park where my job can be best described as ‘helping visitors enjoy the National Park in a safe and responsible way’. This can be done through sharing of information, education and also enforcement through patrolling. My main patrol area is Loch Lomond so I was very keen to visit similar wetland environments in Poland and see how land managers do things there.

Breeding wader conservation in West Pomerania
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Breeding wader conservation in West Pomerania

Grazing management in Poland currently appears to be wader friendly and it was encouraging to hear that many efforts are being made to make sure grazing is appropriate. At Ujscie Warty, large extents of the park’s floodplain meadows are rented out to local farmers for cattle grazing. Although farmers are keen to get stock out onto the meadows as soon as possible, the park authorities make an attempt to prevent cattle introduction until the second half of June to reduce trampling risk to wader nests but also prevent excessive damage to soft wet ground.

Gamebird hunting and raptors in Norway
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Gamebird hunting and raptors in Norway

By participating in the survey and reporting bag numbers the hunters themselves are key figures in game management. Due to the vastly different cultural heritage of hunting in Norway, where hunting is much more a way of life than an elite hobby, divides between shooting and conservation communities simply do not exist as they do in the UK. However it is inspiring to see what can be achieved when all parties recognise the requirement for robust and contemporary population data and work together to ensure gamebird hunting is carried out at a sustainable level each year.

Forestry in Norway
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Forestry in Norway

The important role of the mountain forests for ground’s stability has been observed at Dovre National Park. Betula pendula, B. pubescenis, B. nana, Juniperus communis, and Salex spp cover waist area overhead 1000 m above the sea level between stands of coniferous and alpine zone. Roots system holds poor, stony and wet soil and well protects against landslides. The woodland habitat creates much better biodiversity than post-grazing grassland. That is a good example for land management of similar areas in Scotland.

Connecting with nature in West Pomerania
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Connecting with nature in West Pomerania

I was inspired by the focus placed on face to face engagement in Poland to connect people with nature. Given the small size of the teams overseeing the nature areas I felt the decision to concentrate on being out amongst people rather than focusing on producing written communications for press and social media allowed them to build support for nature with the people living next door to it. It highlighted the importance of having local people engaged with nature and supportive of their work which in turn helps with the delivery of conservation.

Differences between the protection, education and public awareness of nature sites in Poland and Scotland.
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Differences between the protection, education and public awareness of nature sites in Poland and Scotland.

a common tactic seemed to be limiting public knowledge of the parks as much as possible, reducing pressure on the environment and disturbance to wildlife as there is just not the staff or infrastructure to support them. Has this resulted in Ujscie Warty National Park having one of the highest densities of birds in Poland? or Dabskie Lake in Szczecin having the highest number of White-tailed Eagles in Europe?
Of course, this is not to say they don’t want visitors, they just can’t currently handle them without the resources. Hopefully in the future perceptions will change and they will be awarded the funding they deserve, and be able show off the wonderful nature and wildlife of Poland in a sustainable way.