A health check for habitats in transboundary Prespa!

11 Nov 2021

The PrespaNet partners strengthened cross-border co-operation by working together to map and assess wetland habitats in Prespa, producing a transboundary plan for how to protect these vitally important places for the first time.

Since 2018, the PrespaNet partners, MES, PPNEA and the SPP, have been working together on mapping the key wetland habitats around our shared transboundary lakes and assessing their conservation status, as well as the pressures and threats they are under.

This work was part of the network’s first large-scale project together, starting off as a stand-alone activity in North Macedonia, with support from the SPP in sharing long experience of using the Natura 2000 standards in this process, and growing to include all three sides of the basin by the end of the project – providing a constructive example of how expanding collaboration and exchange of knowledge across borders can bring positive results for all.

Working with eminent phyto-sociologist Prof. Giorgos Fotiadis from the Agricultural University of Athens, who led the expert team implementing this work, earlier this year the SPP completed the study cycle and published the final report on the outcomes of this effort, together with a basin-wide map. For the first time at transboundary level, we have a clear understanding of the region’s most important wetland habitats, several of which are EU priority habitat types for their ecological importance. Most importantly, with this report we can better understand the picture across all three countries sharing the Prespa lakes and utilise its management recommendations in order to help protect and maintain these crucial parts of our ecosystem, enabling us to work with management authorities across the basin to safeguard our shared wetlands for the future.

The PrespaNet project, “Strengthening NGO-led Conservation in the Transboundary Prespa Basin” (2018-2021), was funded by the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation (AVJCF) and the Prespa Ohrid Nature Trust (PONT), with support from EuroNatur. Since March 2022, the PrespaNet partners and EuroNatur have been working on a follow-up programme, “The Prespa Project: Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Prespa” (2021-2024), also funded by the AVJCF and PONT, which includes work for the conservation of wetland habitats.

A health check for habitats in transboundary Prespa!