The Carpathians belong to the most important European eco-regions. They represent one of the strongholds of biodiversity and an essential ecological corridor in Europe. However, in the last few decades this natural treasure went through a significant loss of habitats and species. Increasing pressures, such as infrastructure development, increased tourism flows, habitat destruction and fragmentation, pollution, climate change and inappropriate natural resource management methods threaten the outstanding natural values of the Carpathian Mountains.
To guarantee a green future for the next generations valuing our natural environment and healthy ecosystems, we need an innovative approach to resource management and nature conservation. This approach requires joint efforts. Since nature knows no borders, #cooperationiscentral to support the co-existence of nature and people in the Carpathians.
Our CENTRALPARKS project created tools that keep the natural and cultural heritage of the Carpathians in focus. These tools will enhance the biodiversity and the landscape conservation of the Carpathians and take the needs of local communities on board. They will be available for all the protected areas at the same time.
The development of these tools started by defining a pool of international Carpathian experts. Their task was to find a joint approach for protecting Carpathian biodiversity through new guidelines that will enhance biodiversity and landscape conservation. The guidelines also had to include local sustainable tourism development and the communication between protected areas and local communities.
The project concentrates also on building capacities of protected area managers to strengthen nature conservation, which is currently lacking in human resources and expertise capacities and obstructs a long-term planning of nature conservation. A major product of the project will finally be the “Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit” to value specific contributions of the ecosystem services of the Carpathians to lowland as well as highland economies. This toolkit will convey a clear, transnational understanding about sustainable assessment and usage of such services for protected areas.
Experts are working tirelessly to merge their knowledge for the nature and people of the Carpathians. The project connects eight partners from seven countries, under the leadership of Eurac Research in Italy. Supported by the Carpathian Convention, the project communicates to and engages with Carpathian protected areas and local communities going beyond the project partnership in Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine.
The harmonization of biodiversity protection helps local socio-economic development and contributes to a greener central Europe. The CENTRALPARKS project set the path and created the necessary tools for stakeholders that, over the next decades, guarantee adequate biodiversity and landscape conservation as well as local sustainable tourism development in the Carpathians.