From September 2023, a cross-border project, E-NAT2CARE, has been launched with the main objective of conserving and restoring a high level of biodiversity and ecosystem richness, from the Alps to the karst landscape. The project will last 24 months.
The E-NAT2CARE project builds on the excellent results of the NAT2CARE project from the previous Interreg Italia-Slovenia 2014-2020 programming period, which showed that cross-border areas need coordinated management to halt the decline in biodiversity and the deterioration of habitats and species. Forests, which consist of old trees with stunted trunks and contain large amounts of dead wood, are among the most diverse ecosystems. They harbour many animal and plant species, have an important economic value, an educational and aesthetic function and help to mitigate climate change. These forests are severely threatened by deforestation, climate change and unpredictable and violent natural events such as fires and floods, including in the Alps and karst. This also threatens many species that need such forests to survive. On the other hand, there is a growing need for sustainable management of water resources. The project will thus also focus on developing a methodology for mapping ecosystem services and involving the population and local businesses in activities for active protection and collective responsibility towards this resource, which also has an economic value.
And on Tuesday, 5 September 2023, the National Institute of Biology in Ljubljana, as the lead partner, organised the kick-off event. At this meeting, the starting points and objectives of the project were discussed, further activities were defined and a more detailed plan and organisation of the work was prepared. The next meeting will take place in Italy in January 2024.