- Country: Lithuania
- Start year: 2011
- Location: Nemunas Delta Regional Park
- Size (ha): 28870
- Area Type: Marine: coastal
- Type of protection: NATURA2000 Special Protection Areas for birds (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), included in RAMSAR convention, Regional park
- Social networks:
Managing human coexistence with natural processes in Nemunas delta
Nemunas delta region is famous for the variety and quantity of birds gathering there. At the same time, the territory remains an intensive farming area. Ensuring that peoples’ management activities are adjusted to natural processes and keeping the area as wild as it could be, becomes a crucial point.
- Habitat types: Flooded meadows, delta, wetlands (raised bogs, fen mires), lagoon, forests.
- Keystone species present: Aquatic Warbler (lat. Acrophalus paludicola), Great Snipe (Gallinago media), White tailed Sea Eagle (lot. Haliaeetus albicilla)
- Fauna (mega) species present: Roe deer, elk, wild boar
- Vegetation types present: Wet meadows (alluvial meadows), reed-beds, active raise bogs, flooded forests.
- Type of project: Large-scale rehabilitations of natural processes, including herbivores, carnivores and/or scavengers being present, Pilot projects focusing on supporting key wildlife species being present in more natural densities, showing their role in the ecosystem, Successful examples of enterprises that are based on economic values of the wild and that contribute to rewilding through generating revenues, business, jobs and income
- Description: In farming territories, we worked closely with locals in order to encourage environmentally friendly practices that are closer to natural ecosystem dynamics (mowing, water level control etc.). We communicated intensively with farmers in order to increase their pride, common ownership and responsibility for wild nature. We mostly supported Aquatic Warbler population increase. In territories unsuitable for farming It is planned to introduce large herbivores. We also encouraged nature tourism development since it is core element meeting interests of farmers and nature.
- Aim: To manage human coexistence with natural processes in Nemunas delta by managing human needs and ensuring close-to-natural ecosystem dynamics, the creation of separate wilderness areas with little human involvement and promoting nature tourism as an integral part of the two before-mentioned actions.
- Vision: Nemunas delta is one of the wildest places in Lithuania, where people find their place and value the benefits nature provides.
- Accomplished in 10 years from now: High-quality nature tourism services are offered in Nemunas delta creating an important economic value for the region.
Local farmers use nature-friendly farming practices and values the wild nature as an important source of their well-beeing.
Large herbivores are reintroduced Nemunas delta.
- Uniqueness: Perception of farmers as heroes who protect birds and nature rather that enemies that should feel responsible for damaging the nature; broad environmental perspective that seeks to find a self-sustaining economic system including nature protection and tourism.
- Results so far: Special agri-environmental measure for Aquatic Warbler conservation under Rural Development Programme of Lithuania that compensate financial losses farmers have due to postponed mowing. Achieved agreement on water level regulation that is close to natural ecosystem dynamics. More than 1300 ha of valuable habitats restored to favorable state.
More biodiversity could be found in restored areas. The increase in Aquatic Warbler population in restored habitats in two years (2014 and 2015) positive farmer’s perception towards our team and our activities. Tulkiaragė nature path with renovated pumping station became a point of tourism attraction. Tyrai nature path set up.
Few publications and deliverables made: book for farmers; book-toy for children; poster; short documentary; short project film; book about Aquatic Warbler in Latvian; project leaflet and 8 project notice boards.
We started a nature festival, which involved local community and created conditions for locals to sell their products. Local tourism operators are already planning the next year festival. We reached big media attraction, Aquatic Warbler is a regional pride and well-known bird species in Lithuania.
Local authorities recognized nature tourism as one of region’s strategic direction. We received a grant for new 7-years-long project “LIFE Magni Ducatus Acrola” where we continue to work in Nemunas delta area.
- Flagship species: Elk, Roe deer
- Other characteristics: Community involved, Eco tourism, Education, Recreational activities
- Inspirational value: A great success was a cooperation with farmers regarding management of sedge fen mires or wet marshy meadows. We see farmer as an equal part of ecosystem that has his own interests that should be met. We implemented a wide communication strategy to improve local attitude towards more sustainable management of habitats.
- Experience you would like to share: Communication with local stakeholders, ecotourism development, biodiversity protection, environmental communication.
- Experience you would like to gain: Destination area development; ecotourism service development.