Monday, 13 August 2012

Wilderness knows no boundaries

Today PAN Parks announced Europe’s first successful verification of a trans-boundary wilderness area between Oulanka (Finnish) and Paanaj√§rvi (Russian) National Parks. This verification will strengthen the protection of wilderness across political boundaries.

Oulanka and Paanaj√§rvi were certified PAN (Protected Area Networks) Parks, but artificially divided by the country border between Finland and Russia. After a decade of working hard to harmonise the two areas management plans, the third-party verification conducted by PAN Parks’ experts confirms that natural values of the two areas are taken care by the two management bodies in close cooperation.

Home to some of Europe’s rarest creatures - bear, wild reindeer, lynx, wolf and wolverine this collaborative approach will aid their survival.

Photo: Andy Gehrig
The trans-boundary status of the area is the largest protected area within the European Wilderness Preservation System set up through the PAN Parks’ network. The two parks cover over 132,000 hectares, from which 103,000 hectares are managed according to wilderness principles. ‘These principles mean there is no extractive use within the wilderness zone! No hunting, no logging, no grazing with domestic animals, but nature developing on its own!’ explains Vlado Vancura, conservation director of PAN Parks Foundation.

This approach is still unique in Europe and unfortunately the few existing wilderness areas cover less than 1% of Europe’s land territory compared to 5% covered by artificial surfaces (roads, industry, housing, etc).

Monday, 6 August 2012

Our Wetland Wildlife weekend – 8th and 9th September

The UK’s wetlands range from small ponds and trickling streams to gushing rivers and massive reservoirs, and all are vitally important natural resources.

As well as supporting a huge variety of wildlife, including charismatic species like otters and marsh harriers, they also provide a range of crucial ecosystem, economic and cultural services – such as food, fuel, flood prevention, water storage, recreation and transport.

Despite this, wetlands are some of our most damaged habitats, and are still being lost at an alarming rate. 

The Wildlife Trusts are in the forefront of efforts to protect and restore the UK’s precious wetland habitats, in the face of threats from climate change, drainage and development. 

Wildlife Trusts across the UK are holding a series of ‘Our Wetland Wildlife’ events on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September.  The events form part of The Wildlife Trusts’ Centenary celebrations.

Be among the first to visit the new lagoons and hides at Rutland Water, spot water birds in Lincolnshire, identify moths in Cumbria, or take a wetland bat walk in Cheshire. Celebrate the wetland restoration work carried out in Radnorshire, go pond-dipping in Warwickshire, or check out the beavers back in Scotland after 400 years of extinction.