‘Model’ wilderness area in Alps based on Wild Europe definition

Gateway to the Sulzbachtäler/Hohe Tauern Wilderness © Josef Schrank

Author: Bernhard Kohler, WWF Austria

A wilderness area covering 6,700 hectares has been unveiled in the North West of Hohe Tauern National Park in Austria, following formal designation in 2019.

This is based on criteria from the Wild Europe definition and comes under the aegis of the Salzburg municipality.

The wilderness area has great promise as a model for the restoration strategy to implement targets in the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy – echoing Wild Europe’s own objectives of strict protection for at least 10% of EU and non-EU terrestrial areas.

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“LEAF” initiative to support 2030 BioStrategy forest protection target

Logging lorry
An Early Warning System can help prevent illegal logging (Agent Green, Romania)

A proposal by Wild Europe involves the creation of an international network of local NGOs, individual conservationists, land owners and community members dedicated to protection of old growth/primary forests.

Named by its acronym of LEAF, Last European Ancient Forests, the network would be coordinated by a small secretariat. Its initial objective will be to provide an Early Warning System: monitoring the condition of those forests, identifying and reporting any threats from logging or other degradation.

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Support the IUCN Motion on old growth forest

A Motion calling for improved policy and funding support for old growth/primary forest is now proceeding.

Based on the Protection Strategy from Wild Europe’s 2017 Brussels conference and associated consultations, the Motion for this Resolution was developed by Daniel Vallauri of WWF France. It is currently being discussed online: (https://www.iucncongress2020.org/motion/125).

The Motion will be proposed for adoption online in late March (online), or in June during the IUCN Congress in Marseilles. The resulting Resolution will provide a significant platform at the 2020 IUCN Marseille Congress for promoting stringent protection and extensive restoration across Europe.

ACTION: Please comment online, support – and forward this information to your networks. Deadline 11th of March!

POSTPONED India welcomes you to the World’s premier wilderness gathering

WILD 11, the World Wilderness Congress, will be held in the city of Jaipur, in the Rajasthan province of North West India from 19th to 26th March.

In what has become the premier global wilderness gathering, some 1500 participants from 60 countries are expected.

Birla Auditorium
The magnificent Birla Auditorium at the Convention Centre, opened in 1963 by Pandit Nehru

Based at the Birla Convention Centre, the Congress provides an opportunity to shape policies and actions on wilderness, in time to influence ambitious wild nature targets at the seminal UN CBD Kunming Congress in October 2020. Surrounding this focus is a vibrant array of talks, specialist symposia, workshops, youth programmes, training sessions, exhibits and expeditions.

Jaipur and its surrounding province, with its palaces and forts, lush tiger forests of Ranthambore and arid Thar Desert, is steeped in history of the British Raj and Maratha and Moghul empires before it – stretching back thousands of years to the most ancient Indus civilizations.

See https://wild11.org/the-congress/#2020 for WILD 11 objectives, programme detail and ancillary activities.

IUCN ‘Rewilding’ Task Force meeting in Brussels

IUCN offices
IUCN offices at 64 Boulevard Louis Schmidt, where the meeting took place.

The recently established IUCN Task Force on Rewilding was unveiled on 8th of October in Brussels, at a meeting hosted by Wild Europe.

Taking place in the IUCN offices on Boulevard Louis Schmidt, the meeting was attended by representatives from DG Environment and DG Clima, with participation and written inputs from conservation NGOs and land user organisations.

Steve Carver, Co Chairman of the Task Force, explained the objectives and operating principles of the Task Force. There was some debate on the extent of the overlap between rewilding and restoration, and feedback included the suggestion of a collation of existing rewilding experience. Clear objectives and targets were also recommended.

As ‘rewilding’ gains momentum in Europe, there is a need for a formal definition of the concept, together with a standardised framework which the various initiatives can reference.

Any requests for further information via info@wildeurope.org please.

President of Slovakia to participate at Wild Europe conference

President Zuzana Caputova. Photo credit: Jindřich Nosek (NoJin) - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79831552
President Zuzana Čaputová. (Photo credit: Jindřich Nosek)

Her excellency Zuzana Čaputová, recently elected President of Slovakia and Goldman Prize winner, has provided her patronage for a conference in Bratislava on 20 – 21st November which she will also be attending.

The conference will be attended by government ministers, MEPs, senior figures from the EU, Council of Europe and UNESCO together with leaders from conservation, forestry, landholding and other sectors.

Addressing the challenges and opportunities facing wilderness and old-growth forest, its two main objectives are:

  • To produce new initiatives aimed at strengthening the protection agenda and supporting larger scale ecological restoration, on the 10th anniversary of our involvement in the 2009 EU Parliamentary Resolution on wilderness, passed by a massive and enduring 538 vote mandate.
  • To determine and develop next steps for the old growth forest protection strategy, building on the projects initiated with the 550,000 euro raised since our Brussels conference in 2017
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