Report 2012

Cost-effectiveness of LIFE
Cost-effectiveness of LIFE 

 

LIFE projects have represented the backbone of conservation efforts across Europe, delivering outstanding results for very small investments. The ecological, economic and social benefits delivered by the LIFE programmeaddress multiple EU policy objectives, and yet the LIFE programme represents only 0.23% of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).

 

 

Effective management in Finland

 

Monitoring is essential to determine if Important Bird Areas (IBAs) are being adequately managed. A recent analysis of IBA monitoring data by BirdLife Finland has shown that insufficient funding has caused a significant deterioration in the conservation status of the country’s protected area network. This study showed that effective management, especially through large-scale restoration projects, had a very strong positive effect. Without exceptions, these successful ‘large projects’ had been funded by the EU LIFE-fund. At the network level, however, LIFE-funded management has not prevented overall deterioration, as there are four times too few management projects compared with real needs.

 

The trend in conservation values at wetlands sites with different levels of management. Effective management (e.g. restoration funded by LIFE, red line) clearly has a more positive impact compared with modest management (blue solid line) or no management at all (black solid line). However, even effective management efforts have not completely prevented the deterioration of habitats at network level.

 

Further reading:

Ellermaa, M. and Lindén, A. (2011) Suomen linnustonsuojelualueiden tila: suoejlu on unohdettu ja linnut voivat huonosti [Birds are not taken seriously in Finnish bird protection areas] Linnut Yearbook 2010, 142-168. [In Finnish with English summary]

 

BirdLife Datazone – full case study

Contact:

BirdLife Finland

Teemu Lehtiniemi, teemu.lehtiniemi(at)birdlife.fi

 

 

 

 

Priolo – Azores Bullfinch Habitat Recovery

 

The Azores Bullfinch (Pyrhula murina), known locally as ‘Priolo’, is one of the most endangered bird species in Europe and can only be found on the island of São Miguel in the Portuguese Outermost Region of the Azores. LIFE funding enabled the Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves (SPEA), BirdLife partner in Portugal, to restore and enlarge the Priolo’s habitats, by removing invasive plant species and replanting with native plant species.

 

The multiple benefits of investing in nature:

Pico da Vara / Ribeira do Guilherme is a Natura 2000 site on the island of São Miguel Island in the Azores, Portugal. The area is home to many endemic species including the Azores bullfinch (Pyrrhula murina). In addition, nearly 50 percent of endemic plants and all endemic vertebrates of the Azores are present in this area. The protection of this area is critical for the endemic species found there, but also for the provision of valuable ecosystem services.

 

In 2009, a team of researchers aimed to identify the full range of ecosystem services provided by the Natura 2000 site, and where possible estimate the monetary value of these benefits.

 

  • The islands face water shortages to the extent that in 2008, water had to be transported to drought areas. The vegetation cover provided by the N2K site aids the recharging of the aquifer and assures water availability in dry periods. Benefits> €600,000 per year.
  • Vegetation plays an important role in regulating water flows and protecting against flood and landslide risks. In 1997, floods and landslides caused the death of 29 people and caused €20,000,000 of damages. Benefits: avoidance of damage costs and loss of life
  • It is estimated that the vegetation on the site sequesters 465,000 tC per year. In addition, the area of peatland within the site is estimated to sequester 223,667 tC per year. Benefits: 689,000 tC sequestered per year.
  • Landscape and amenity values and existence values of the site were valued by a willingness to pay enquiry for the protection of the N2K site. The survey found that the local community values the conservation of the area between €500 to 800 per person. Benefit: over €3,000,000

 

The SPA Pico da Vara / Ribeira do Guilherme was financed, between 2003 and 2008, mainly by a LIFE Priolo Project. This funding enabled the restoration and enlargement of the habitat, by removing invasive plant species and replanting native species. The size of the Natura 2000 site was tripled. By the end of the project, the population of the bullfinch had increased from just 120 pairs in 2003, to 500-800 pairs in 2008. It had simultaneously helped protect the provision of ecosystem services and created over 25 full-time equivalent jobs in the local area for four years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The trend in conservation values at wetlands sites with different levels of management. Effective management (e.g. restoration funded by LIFE, red line) clearly has a more positive impact compared with modest management (blue solid line) or no management at all (black solid line). However, even effective management efforts have not completely prevented the deterioration of habitats at network level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Azores Bullfinch
Credit: Pedro Monteiro

 

 

Further reading:

The SPEA project website

 

Case study in IEEP, 2009: Socio-Economic Benefits of Natura 2000 

 

CRUZ, A., BENEDICTO, J. and GIL, A., 2011. Socio-economic Benefits of Natura 2000 in Azores Islands – a Case
Study approach on the ecosystem services provided by a Special Protected Area. Journal of Coastal Research.

 

BirdLife Datazone – Azores Bullfinch

 

Contact:

SPEA (BirdLife partner in Portugal)

Joaquim Teodósio, joaquim.teodosio(at)spea.pt