Charities Aid Foundation - GRANT 2009 REPORT

According to the agreement between Charities Aid Foundation and Lower Silesian Foundation for Sustainable Development the donation was used as a required co-financing to the project „Natura 2000 Wardens – monitoring of species and habitats disturbance” especially for the activities taken in the Barycz Valley and Milicz Ponds Area (as an intervention, seminars for local authorities on Natura 2000 implementation).

CAF grant was used for:

  1. a web site on project „Natura 2000 Wardens – monitoring of species and habitats disturbance” in English version was lounched
  2. the necessary intervention in the Barycz Valley were undertaken
  3. necessary equipment was bought – GPS for field inventory of disturbance in population or habitats
  4. seminar for local and regional authorities on Natura 2000 were conducted
  5. legal expertise

Ad. 1.

The and web site has been developed as part of the programme „Natura 2000 Wardens – monitoring of species and habitats disturbance”. The web site has been used to gather and collate information about events when any legislation, which was meant to protect Natura 2000 habitat, has been ignored, and has lead to damage or even the destruction of the protected habitats and species.
The web site also has practical guidelines for organizations that operate in Natura 2000 areas, giving explanations of the law, descriptions of procedures applicable in particular situations, and describing the various types of investment projects that may cause environmental disturbance such as the construction of roads, railways and pipelines.
In the English version you can find summaries in English of actions taken by project team to mend or compensate the damage – “interventions”, but without unnecessary details indicated in the Polish version.

Ad. 2.

Until now, the most spectacular intervention was related to destruction of the habitat of the 1084 Hermit beetle (Osmoderma eremita) in Żmigród Forestry Unit (Nadleśnictwo Żmigród).
Location: Voivodship dolnośląskie, Borough of Żmigród, along the road between Żmigród and Radziądz.
Threatened population: Subpopulation consisting of at least 3 known sites. The estimated size of the damage – below 1% of the national and below 10% of regional (Barycz Valley) population.
Legal status: The work has been agreed with the Lower Silesian Road and Railways Office
Investor: Nadleśnictwo (Forestry Unit) Żmigród
Details of the case: In Winter 2008/2009 Forestry Unit Nadleśnictwo Żmigród removed all trees along the road and ditch (a strip a dozen metres wide) inside the Natura 2000 site. About 266 trees of different size, including old oaks (ca.170), were cut down. Almost all the stumps proved that the trees had been in good condition when they were felled. The reason indicated by the Forestry Unit was that one dead tree fell on a passing car. Five of the ten sites populated with Hermit beetle were destroyed. The cutting down of the younger trees will result in deterioration of the future conditions for the beetles.
Losses in the local population of Hermit beetle (Osmoderma eremita, code: 1084) was estimated at 30-40% of its initial level. Although several trees that this species had colonised were left standing, the breeding and feeding habitat for the beetles has been severely reduced by the removal of most of the trees in the area that are suitable for them to live in. In consequence, the remaining population faces the risk of decline, due to the gradual worsening of their habitat.
The landscape feature of the mid-forest road has been drastically changed. The older trees may have hosted bats and birds in their holes and cavities.
In April 2009 The Lower Silesian Foundation for Sustainable Development according to the Parliament Act on Prevention and Remediation of the Environmental Damage of 13 April 2007 notified the Regional Director of Environment in Wrocław about the damage. Copy of the notification was sent to the General Director of National Forests and the European Commission. Regional Director of Environment in Wrocław started explanatory proceedings and administration procedures. Independent expertise ordered from an entomologist in the stripe 3000 m long and 20-30 m wide on the both sides of the road number 439 revealed the population size of 50-100 individuals. The ecological characteristics of the species include abilities to migrate with dispersion radius limited to ca. 200m and the character of the damage i.e. “drainage of the breeding sites”, the expertise suggested remediation to be possible.
On 23 of November, 2009 the Regional Director of Environment issued decision imposing on the entity using the environment – the Z˙migród Forestry Unit - the obligation for remediation, aiming at safeguarding the presence of the Hermit beetle population on the damage area, by means of:
- leaving for natural dead and decay (in listed forestry sections – “oddział”) of the broadleaves that are inhabited or suitable for settlement by the Hermit beetle.
- assuring that around the above mentioned sections there will be left an appropriate percentage of stands of broadleaf trees or stands with dominance of broadleaf species such as oak, beech or alder.
As the result of the intervention (as was indicated by its staff) the Żmigród Forestry Unit improved internal procedures of collection and processing data concerning nature (including mapping of species) and decision making procedures in similar situations.

Ad. 3.


On 11th of December 2009, a seminar on practical aspects of management and investments in Natura 2000 areas was held in Wrocław. The 90 participants came from institutions and local authorities from Lower Silesian and neighbouring Provinces (15 of them coming form the Barycz Valley region). The invited lecturers talked about legal and practical issues, covering among others: conservation aims in Natura 2000 areas, procedures of so-called screening, definition of substantial damage, responsibility for undertaken activities which may substantially affect the Natura 2000 site. Also presented were results of to-date monitoring of the abuse of habitats and populations of protected species, carried out in 4 regions of Western Poland, as well as practical experience in resolving potential conflicts.
Thanks to the substantial feedback from participants, the organizers have got a chance to broaden and specify topics of subsequent seminars of this kind, planned for March 2010.

Ad 5.

Is awareness of the protected status for instance of the presence of particular habitat type (and so of the potential damage) a prerequisite for responsibility? In particular in the cases of ploughing of Natura 2000 meadow habitats.
What are the consequences for exemption from EIA (often issued by mayors) for development investments which later prove to be damaging for Natura 2000 sites?
Relationship between conservation of Natura 2000 habitats and local land use planning, (1. what can be done when the municipality has already planned development on the valuable Natura 2000 meadow habitats, through its land use plans or strategies? 2. How the legal requirements to protect Natura 2000 habitats and species also outside the Natura 2000 should be interpreted by municipalities?

These expert reports are used during the seminars made for local authorities and other entities operating on the Natura 2000 areas.

Tree (oak number 22) known as Hermit beetle stand.. Foreground: stump of the matured oak with developing rotting, an unnecessarily removed potential habitat for this rare insect
Tree (oak number 1) second known Hermit beetle habitat, safely located away from the road.
Log – remains of the oak number 2, destroyed, earlier unknown stand of the Hermit beetle, luckily not removed from the clearing site,
Hermit beetle excrements – diagnostic feature – on the stump of the oak number 15, another earlier unknown stand of the Hermit beetle
The purchased GPS receiver was used among others for the inventory of trees – Hermit beetle stands
Presentations and discussions at the seminar in Wrocław
Presentations and discussions at the seminar in Wrocław
Excerpts from the presentation made by the representative of local administration (Borough of Żmigród, Barycz Valley) – an example of successful cooperation in designing the bypass road
Excerpts from the presentation made by the representative of local administration (Borough of Żmigród, Barycz Valley) – an example of successful cooperation in designing the bypass road
articles in this section: information > reports
  1. Charities Aid Foundation - GRANT 2009 REPORT
  2. Dozens of small damages
Supported by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism.
Co-financing: The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF)
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