Nature conservation Lynx Program Sustainable Castro Verde Program Forestry Program Projects co-funded by the EU Other projects Promotion of steppe birds conservation in Castro Verde (Aves das Estepes) EVOA Tagus Estuary Birdwatching and Conservation Area Valorization Project of the Natural Heritage of Campo Branco Friendly fences for the great bustard Falco & Otis project: Protect the Lesser Kestrel and the Great Bustard Give Lesser Kestrel a new home PRACTICE Recovery and prevention actions to tackle desertification Conservation and reestablishment of the lesser kestrel in the Évora region

The project Promoting steppe bird conservation in Castro Verde (Aves das Estepes) aims to (1) improve the agro-steppe habitat, contributing to reverse the population decline of five threatened "flagship species": the great bustard, the little bustard, the black-bellied sandgrouse, the Montagu's harrier (or harrier eagle) and the rolieiro; and (2) develop and demonstrate a set of conservation actions that can be widely replicated by farmers in other steppe areas, thus multiplying the positive impacts of this project. Funded by the association VIRIDIA, the project will be implemented over one year, between September 2021 and September 2022.

 

Its area of intervention is the Baixo Alentejo region, more specifically in farms in the Castro Verde Special Protection Area (SPA) for Birds (Natura 2000 Network - European Network of Natural Spaces) and Castro Verde UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which covers the following counties: Castro Verde, Aljustrel, Almodôvar, Ourique, Mértola and Beja.

 

The Aves das Estepes project aims to address the main current threats to steppe bird populations in the Castro Verde SPA such as the decrease in available habitat due to the establishment of permanent agricultural crops, the deterioration of habitat quality due to overgrazing by cattle and forage production (such as haymaking), climate change, mainly due to increased frequency of droughts, heat waves and fire risk, and predation.

 

LPN thus intends to contribute to the recovery of the populations of 5 emblematic bird species of the agro-steppe ecosystem, contributing to improve their conservation status in the long term, through the following main strategic axes:

  • Promote the protection of all areas necessary to ensure their life cycle (breeding and post-breeding);
  • Improve the conservation status of the steppe habitat;
  • Increase knowledge about the impacts of human activities on these species (e.g. agricultural intensification, habitat fragmentation, distribution areas and population trends).

 

 

The conservation actions that are planned to be implemented in the scope of this project are based on two strands

 

I. Increasing ecosystem resilience and climate change adaptation with nature-based solutions

I.1. Removal of sediment in summer catchments on streams and small dams

I.2. Protection of riverbanks and dams from livestock grazing

I.3. Densification of riparian vegetation

I.4. Installation of small woodlands

I.5. Providing supplementary food resources

 

II. Reduce the impacts of agricultural activities during the breeding season

II.1. Reduce the impact of hay cutting

II.2. Reduce disturbance and pressure from grazing

II.3. Increase availability of nesting sites for cavity-nesting steppe birds

II.4. Protect nesting harrier

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