Dear friends, Welcome to our first e-newsletter on the conservation of the Lesser Kestrel. Twice a year we will give you updates on our efforts to promote the conservation of the Lesser Kestrel in Italy & Greece. Happy reading!
The LIFE FALKON Project started moving its first steps in July 2018. The consortium involves TECLA (Associazione per la Cooperazione Transregionale Locale e Europea) as lead partner of the action, three technical partners namely the Hellenic Ornithological Society, the University of Milan and the Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA), and the European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA) which coordinates the communication and visibility of the initiative. The project is co-funded by the European Union under the LIFE and Nature 2000 Programme and by the Fondazione Cariplo, and it targets especially the Nature protection and Biodiversity EU legislation and the Directive 79/409 – Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979). The target species of the project is the lesser kestrel, a trans-Saharan migratory raptor which mainly breeds in Mediterranean countries. This species suffered a dramatic population decline during the last century, due to changes in farming practices and climate change. The lesser kestrel is nowadays a species of EU priority interest because of its unfavourable conservation status.
Why another LIFE Project on the Lesser Kestrel?
Being a priority species for conservation in the EU, in the past decades several LIFE projects have focused on the lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni). Such projects have been highly successful in consolidating the population strongholds in several European countries and in promoting range expansion. With LIFE FALKON we take a different approach and focus instead on those populations settled at the northern edge of its current distribution range. According to niche modelling exercises, ongoing climate change is expected to result in range contraction in the Southern breeding range and expansion towards the north-east in the near future. The Central-Eastern Mediterranean region will thus play a crucial role for any future northward expansion, which will likely be triggered by those populations located at the North-Eastern distribution range margins. However, the persistence of these small and isolated populations is currently negatively affected by both intrinsic (e.g. small population size) and extrinsic (e.g. destruction of nest sites) threats.
The main idea behind LIFE FALKON is thus to foster the resilience of the species to climate change by improving the conservation status of Italian and Greek populations breeding at the north-eastern edge of the breeding range.
SOUNDS INTERESTING, RIGHT?! Let’s go more in detail!
What are our main goals?
Foster the resilience of the central-eastern European population to climate change, improving the conservation status of Italian and Greek populations;
Improve foraging and nesting habitat quality in intensive farmland areas and SPAs where the species breeds in the project areas;
Establish a collaborative international network;
Promote public awareness concerning the lesser kestrel and biodiversity conservation, with emphasis on environmental education;
Obtain an accurate assessment of the conservation status of those populations crucial for the northward breeding expansion.
What we will do
Provide nest-boxes and nesting towers to foster the settlement of lesser kestrel;
Implement communication actions addressed to key stakeholders (architects, geometricians, farmers) and decision makers;
Share experiences with conservation experts and beneficiaries of previous LIFE projects targeting lesser kestrel;
Organise public awareness campaign;
Set up standardized monitoring protocols providing maps of breeding sites, suitability maps for both breeding and foraging needs.
Discover more in the LIFE FALKON Media channels and follow our Lesser kestrels conservation actions!
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Be aware of the demolition consequences for the Lesser Kestrel in the Po Plain
On 14 October 2018, UMIL (LIFE FALKON partner) visited the study areas located in the municipalities of Poggio Rusco (Mantova) and Mirandola (Modena) and surprisingly discovered that some of the buildings which hosted 2-4 pairs of lesser kestrel during the past years were demolished during the summer.
The 2nd European Meeting for Young Ornithologists – 26-28/10/2018
Photo by Susanne Jaehnig
On 26-28 October the 2nd European Meeting for Young Ornithologists was held in Turin (Italy) thanks to the collaboration of the Centro Italiano Studi Ornitologi (CISO), the Hessische Gesellschaft für Ornithologie und Naturschutz (HGON), the Gruppo Piemontese Studi Ornitologici “F.A. Bonelli” ONLUS ( GPSO), Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e Biologia dei Sistemi dell’Università di Torino (DBIOS), and the European Ornithologists' Union (EOU).
LIFE17 Kick-off meeting NATURE in Brussels – 8-9/11/2018
Photo by Homeotech
On 8-9 November 2018 in Brussels, the LIFE FALKON consortium has attended the Kick-Off Meeting addressing the projects funded under two priorities of the LIFE Programme: LIFE Nature & Biodiversity, LIFE Environmental Governance & Information. The aim of the meeting, organized by the European Commission, Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), was to provide the beneficiaries with an overview of the relevant policy topics.
New nest boxes for the Lesser Kestrel of Baricella (BO)
The lesser kestrel colony sited in the municipality of Baricella (Bologna) is one of the largest of the entire Po Plain, hosting up to 8-12 pairs in 2018. The LIFE FALKON is ready to install some nest boxes in order to protect the species.
Have a look at the video and click here to discover more about the Natura 2000 EU programme, the largest existing network of protected areas in Europe… “because there is no future, without healthy nature”!
Photo by Javier Milla
Birds conservation: good manner and good places
Click here to learn more about IBAs, namely Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas in Europe and Central Asia. These represent priority sites for bird conservation as they regularly hold significant populations of one or more globally or regionally threatened, endemic or congregatory bird species, or highly representative bird assemblages.
This newsletter has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union under the LIFE and Natura 2000 Programme and with the financial contribution of the Fondazione Cariplo. The contents of it are the sole responsibility of the consortium of LIFE FALKON and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union or the Fondazione Cariplo.