Agriculture represents a great potential for establishment of new partnerships and development of new LIFE projects in Slovenia with cooperation of other European Union countries. Therefore the aim of the LIFE International networking conference was to present the opportunities LIFE programme provides also to agricultural sector as well as encouraging solving current environmental problems through LIFE projects.
KEYNOTE SPEAKERS AND MODERATORS
WHAT WAS GOING ON?
The purpose of the project is to establish measures to avoid the adverse effects of climate change on agriculture in the area of the Vipava Valley. The project team already prepared a strategy for climate change adaptation. Next steps are establishment of decision support system for irrigation and increasing the surface of green windbreaks. More on the functionality of green windbreaks, participants learnt on the field, during the visit of project area.
The project was presented by Patricija Štor, RA ROD Ajdovščina.
The project aimed to ensure long-term favourable conditions for the conservation of turloughs and other endangered habitat types and associated plant and animal species at Lake Cerknica. It simultaneously sought to promote an even development of local agriculture, forestry, fishing, tourism, recreation and education in accordance with natural values. In overall the project tackled the three main threats identified to the habitats: modified watercourses, abandoning of meadow mowing by local landowners and lack of knowledge of local nature and its conservation. Numerous nature conservation activities were performed, from restoration of the natural watercourses, mowing of abandoned meadows to raising awareness of nature-friendly farming and agricultural policy. They presented measures, performed within the LIFE project, and their continuation through ESRR project KRAS.RE.VITA.
The project was presented by Irena Likar, project manager.
Presentation of the Ljubljana Marsh Nature Park – presentation
(Centre Ig, Banija 4, 26, Ig)
Ljubljana Marsh Natural Park is a good example of a mosaic landscape with rich biodiversity, shaped through time also by agriculture. The Nature Park faces numerous challenges, from preventing the biodiversity loss and pollution to more frequent extreme climatic events. It demonstrates numerous challenges; protected area managers and farmers are facing, and will serve as basis for further discussion at the conference. At the field part measures, performed within ESRR project PoLJUBA, were presented.
The Park was presented by Barbara Vidmar, Nature protection consultant at JZ KP Ljubljansko barje.
LIFE knowledge fair
The fair was intended for informal gathering of participants and presentation of LIFE projects. 14 LIFE projects and one foreign applicant were presented with a stand.
Opening address (video)
Irena Majcen, the Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning
mag. Tanja Strniša, State Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food
dr. Patrik Kolar, Head of Department B at the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME)
Introductory panels: Environmental challenges in agriculture (video)
LIFE – new solutions for the environment and agriculture – dr. Patrik Kolar (EASME) – presentation
Contribution of LIFE programme to European agriculture
Challenges in agriculture – prof. dr. Luka Juvančič (University of Ljubljana) – presentation
Presentation of agricultural areas with highest demand for new development solutions
Agriculture and environment – dr. Marija Markeš (Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning) – presentation
Presentation of identified environmental problems in agriculture
LIFE farming (video)
Presentation of five LIFE projects from Slovenia and other member states in line with workshop topics:
- Topic “Climate Change Adaptation”: Maria Bastidas: LIFE MONTADO ADAPT: Montado and climate, a need to adapt (LIFE15 CCA/PT/000043) – presentation
- Topic “Nitrates”: dr. Giuseppe Bonazzi: AQUA – Achieving good water quality status in intensive animal production areas (LIFE09 ENV/IT/000208) – presentation
- Topic “Soil”: Stefano Brenna: LIFE HelpSoil – Helping enhanced soil functions and adaptation to climate change by sustainable conservation agriculture technique (LIFE12 ENV/IT/000578) – presentation
- Topic “Grasslands”: dr. Patrick McGurn: AranLIFE – The sustainable management of the priority terrestrial Habitats Directive Annex 1 habitats of the Aran Islands (LIFE12 NAT/IE/000995) – presentation
- Topic “Coexistence”: Rok Černe: LIFE DINALP BEAR – Population level management and conservation of brown bears in northern Dinaric Mountains and the Alps (LIFE13 NAT/SI/000550) and SloWolf – Conservation and surveillance of the conservation status of the wolf (Canis lupus) population in Slovenia (LIFE08 NAT/SI/000244) – presentation
Potential of LIFE programme for Slovenian agriculture
Five workshops where participants discussed on current problems and new possible solutions.
- Nitrates (moderator dr. Jože Verbič, Agricultural Institute of Slovenia) – how to solve the problems of excessive amount of animal manure
- Soil (moderator dr. Borut Vrščaj, Agricultural Institute of Slovenia) – soil management in relation to sustainable agriculture and ecosystem services
- Coexistence (moderator mag. Aleksandra Majić Skrbinšek, University of Ljubljana) – how to coexist with species, frequently in conflict with humans (e.g. brown bear)
- Grasslands (moderator mag. Mateja Žvikart, Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation) – how to manage Natura 2000 sites with habitat types, used by farmers (e.g. dry grasslands). Slovenian project LIFE TO GRASSLANDS (LIFE14 NAT/SI/000005) was presented within the workshop.
- Climate Change Adaptation (moderator prof. dr. Lučka Kajfež Bogataj, University of Ljubljana) – how to make Slovenian/European agriculture more resilient to climate changes
Conclusion of the conference (video)
Moderators presented conclusions of all five workshops.
The final thoughts of the conference were delivered by dr. Marija Markeš, Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning:
»May 9 is the holiday of Europe. It is worth considering how far has Europe come in those years from steel and coal and with cooperation? What did we achieve? Let me remind you that May 9 is a day of victory, and I also feel today’s energy as victory energy. I am proud of my country and the European Union, where we are able to give the agriculture and nature the right place. I see the LIFE project as a fascinating project; in every project it is also part of “my problem” and the solution to “my” and “our” problem. If we open up and we will wish to use the LIFE instrument – we have every opportunity to make good progress – to advance on exposed issues and problems and to lead them in the right direction.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone who attended the conference. To all of you who participated in the conference with your contribution and also to the workshop organizer, LIFE Capacity Building Slovenia Team. “
The conference was organized by the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning in the framework of the project LIFE Capacity Building Slovenia (LIFE14 CAP/SI/000012).