ACTION D.1: Wildlife Monitoring

The monitoring of the conservation status of the wildlife populations of the two project areas is strictly necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of the restoration actions of the targeted habitat (91E0*, 3170*, 5230* and 91M0). The maintenance of the demographic trend of populations is considered as an indicator of success. The action is also deemed necessary to keep improving the knowledge of the distribution and composition of the habitats as well as to permit making corrections and adjustments on the planned conservation actions.

The target species of community interest (Habitat Directive 92/43/CEE, Ann. II and IV) are the following: Emys orbicularis (habitat 3170* and 91MO), Testudo hermanni and Callimorpha quadripunctuaria* (habitat 91E0*, 5230* and 91M0), Phasianus c. colchicus (habitat 3170* and 91E0*). The latter lives exclusively in the Nestos area. Other important species are Carabus alysidotus (Coleoptera, Carabidae), Triturus vulgaris, Hyla italica (Amphibia), Elaphe quatuorlineata, E. longissima (Reptilia), Hystrix cristata, Muscardinus avellanarius, Meles meles (Mammalia). Presence/absence is also recorded for bird species either nesting and wintering in the target habitats. The sensitivity to the environmental changes as well as the patterns of feeding, distribution and habitat usage, make all these species suitable bio-indicators for the evaluation of the habitats and ecosystems conservation status.

The area subjected to the monitoring comprehends the whole site of Community Interest of Palo Laziale Wood and Nestos Delta but, eventually, it might be enlarged to the surrounding areas in consideration of the vagility of the targeted animal species.

The monitoring is performed according to a Monitoring Protocol which sets both qualitative (direct/indirect opportunistic observations) and semi-quantitative methods (e.g. pitfall traps for soil macro-invertebrates, linear transects for terrestrial vertebrates, singing surveys through linear transects and from listening spots for birds, surveys though map sampling for all). The surveys are performed by a team of experienced naturalists/biologists which will provide detailed reports at the end of each field campaign.

In particular, the populations of Emys orbicularis is surveyed through a non-invasive method (i.e. floating traps) that exploit the basking attitude of the turtles (sun exposition of the animal for raising the body temperature). Testudo hermanni is instead sampled through CMR methods (capture-mark-recapture) along fixed transects (50 m x 1 km). Callimorpha (Euplagia) quadripunctuaria* is sampled along transects of 5/10 m x 100 m in homogeneous vegetation plots. Where appropriate, it will be also considered a method based on the attraction to the artificial lights of the adult moths in nocturnal activity.

At the end of each annual monitoring session will be drafted a report, the check-list of the surveyed species and the distribution maps.

Beneficiary responsible for implementation:

HSPN is responsible for the monitoring either in the Nestos Delta and Palo Laziale.

HSPN employs:

1 Senior Zoologist Expert, with at least ten years of experiences in the field of wildlife monitoring to supervise and validate the monitoring protocol, the field campaigns, the elaboration of the data collected, and the related monitoring reports.

1 Zoologist Expert, with at least seven years of experiences in the field of wildlife monitoring, in particular of those listed in the Annexes of Directive Habitat and Birds and in-depth knowledge of the Nestos area. He/she will (i) elaborate the monitoring protocol for both the two project areas, (ii) carry on the data collection in the SCI of Nestos, and supervise the data collection in the SCI of Palo Laziale, (iii) elaborate the data collected in the two project areas, (iv) draft the final monitoring report.

1 Zoologist Expert, with at least four years of experiences in the field of wildlife monitoring, in particular of those listed in the Annexes of Directive Habitat and Birds and in-depth knowledge of the Palo Laziale area. He/she will (i) support the elaboration of the monitoring protocol for both the two project areas, (ii) carry on the data collection in the SCI of Palo Laziale, (iii) support the elaboration of the data collected in the two project areas, (iv) support the drafting of the final monitoring report.

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