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Climate Change is threatening our planet. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s ‘Special Report’, if global temperatures rise above 1.5 °C (above pre-industrial levels) we will face extreme climate events, a substantial increase in biodiversity loss, and difficulties gathering fresh water.

 

Climate Change in the Alps
The situation in the Alpine region is even more alarming, with rising temperatures about “twice as large as the global trend” (Brunetti et al., 2009). Furthermore, climate change’s effects are three time stronger in the Alps than the world’s average (OECD, 2007) and gathering fresh water is becoming an increasingly urgent issue. Over 90 percent of glacier volume in the Alps could be lost by 2100. Ice melting has become a symbol of climate change in the Alps, since it is the most visible and easily measured effect of climate change and due to the glaciers’ high importance for the region’s landscapes, ecosystems and economy. ‘The Cryosphere’ review envisages two alarming scenarios in which, depending on the increase in global temperatures, Alpine glaciers may or may not survive. 
Alpine States are committed to climate change action and have adopted the Alpine Convention’s ‘Declaration on Climate Change’ (2006) and ‘Action Plan on Climate Change in the Alps’ (2009).   Since 2011, “taking action on climate change” has been one of the priorities set during the ‘Multi-Annual Work Programme of the Alpine Conference’. This brought about the establishment of the Alpine Climate Board in 2016, which coordinates all climate change-related activities.

 

Concrete actions in Alpine protected areas

Several Alpine protected areas are carrying out concrete actions to deal with the effects of climate change which mainly consist in monitoring and research, adaptation and mitigation measures, promotion, educational activities and dissemination of relevant information to the general public.


In France, the project Alpages sentinelles, started in 2000, studies and measures the effects of climate change on 31 Alpine pastures. The project’s goal is to develop adaptation measures to preserve the traditional pastoral activity in the Alps. It involves the Ecrins National Park, Vanoise National Park, Mercantour National Park, Chartreuse Nature Regional Park, Vercors Nature Regional Park, and Luberon Nature Regional Park. The partners of Alpage sentinelles met last March to analyse the results of 2018 - the warmest year ever recorded since the launch of the project. They agreed that the most effective measure is to manage the Alpine pastures in a way that avoids further stress on the grasslands. Indeed, pastures are already feeling the effects of increasing temperatures, resulting in the depletion of vegetation.
In the same direction, the National Park of Ecrins and the National Park Gran Paradiso launched the LIFE project PastorAlp. Based on a consistent activity of transboundary research, the final output of the project consists of developing a platform of tools to facilitate the adoption of climate change adaptation strategies in the two parks.

 

3pnv006188 Renoncule des glaciers. Au 2e plan les Roches Blanches au fd. de g. à dr. Col des Léchours Pointe des Léchours Col du Pelvo Roux e

 

The Interreg Alcotra CClimaTT project involves transborder protected areas from France and Italy. The objectives of the project include:  gathering more knowledge and understanding of climate change effects; involving and informing the general public; and influencing people’s behaviour toward greater environmental responsibility. Within this framework, the Ente Aree Protette Alpi Marittime and National Park of Ecrins, offered 40,000 euros to eight projects, selected by a jury of experts, that promote a resilient and climate-smart future under the motto “If climate changes… we change as well!”. The winners will implement activities for the mitigation and adaptation to climate change in Alpine areas.


The Festival scientifique “Avec ou sans Glace” is an example of a series of activities held to inform the general public on the effect of climate change in the Alps with specific reference to glaciers melting. The conference organised by the National Park of Vanoise (France) included a ‘geological hike’ to discover the impact of the melting glaciers and a conference where climate change experts interacted with the public.

Apart from informing the general public, protected areas play a key role in carrying out educational activities on climate change effects. For example, the Natural Park of Adamello (Italy), together with a local high school, organised outdoor activities dedicated to pupils under the Interreg project YOUrALPS: The trees in the Alps as a signal of climate change. Students were guided by experts to discover the effects of climate change on forests to better understand the changing ecosystem. In Austria, still under the YOUrALPS project, educational activities were carried out in the Nature Park Geschriebenstein where high school students were confronted with the issue of extreme weather events caused by climate change. During on-field activities, they experimented with climate change adaptation and mitigation measures against floods.

In Slovenia, the Triglav National Park is part of the Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve. This initiative is an intergovernmental research programme that establishes a global network of biosphere reserves. This network strives to uphold the balance between people and nature, biodiversity and sustainable development and upkeep of cultural values. This is a great example of the enhancement of an active ‘sink’ of GHGs, which is a strong mitigation measure against climate change.

Moreover, the Berchtesgaden National Park, in Bavaria, is involved in different climate monitoring activities. One of these activities is the Klimamessnetz (Climate monitoring network).  It relies on the National park service and the German weather service to track the changes in Alpine climate in the long run and in a large area. Moreover, the National Park is one of GLORIA-EUROPE research sites whose goal is to understand future scenarios we will have to face due to climate change.

Climate Change is producing severe effects on the Alps, but protected areas are fighting to resist.


Protected areas actions:


Alpages sentinelles


Pastoralp LIFE Project


Festival scientifique “Avec ou sans Glace”


Triglav National Park, the Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve


Klimamessnetz


If climate changes… We change as well!


The trees in the Alps as a signal of climate change


“Draußen unterrichten“– Biodiversity Strategies


We are Alps


Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments

 

Bibliography

Brunetti et al., 2009, ‘Climate variability and change in the Greater Alpine Region over the last two centuries based on multi-variable analysis’, in International Journal of Climatology

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2018, ‘Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5 ºC’, as seen in https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/, 25-04-2019

NASA, 2019, ‘Responding to Climate Change’ as seen in https://climate.nasa.gov/solutions/adaptation-mitigation/, 26-04-2019

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2007, ‘Climate Change in the European Alps: Adapting Winter Tourism and Natural Hazards Management’, ed. Shardul Agrawala

Zekollari et al., 2019, ‘Modelling the future evolution of glaciers in the European Alps under the EURO-CORDEX RCM ensemble’, in The Cryosphere, volume 13, pp. 1125-1146

Published in News from the Alps

Is it possible to make the Alps  climate-neutral and resilient by 2050? The Permanent Secretary of the Alpine Convention lays out concrete actions for the Alpine region to turn this objective reality in its new publication "Climate-Neutral and Climate-Resilient Alps 2050". The publication highlights three central policies, coming from the 25th Alpine Convention: The Declaration of Innsbruck, the Alpine Climate Target System 2050 and the 7th Report on the State of the Alps “Natural Hazard Risk Governance”.  The Alpine Climate Target System 2050, prepared by the Alpine Climate Board over the last two years, describes specific actions that must be taken under 12 different sectors to protect the Alps from climate change. The 7th Report on the State of the Alps describes the future for natural hazard risk governance. 

The Alpine Convention’s new publication calls for the Contracting Parties to prioritize climate change action and policies to preserve the Alps’ natural heritage. These targets showcase the Alps as being a model for international cooperation and its role in climate change adaptation and mitigation

The publication “Climate-Neutral and Climate-resilient Alps 2050" is available in English, French, Italian, German and Slovenian

Published in News from the Alps

On Thursday April 11th, 2019, the new regional platform of the Alpine network ALPARC CENTR’ALPS was officially founded in Balderschwang, Nagelfluhkette Nature Park (DE).  Directly linked by contract to the ALPARC network, the new platform has an association status based on German law. 

The creation of a regional platform is based on the decisions of ALPARC’s last three General Assemblies, who decided to put in place a decentralized structure of ALPARC to guarantee concrete work on the ground, a closer proximity towards the managers of the protected areas and local initiatives. ALPARC CENTR’ALPS shares the same objectives and working axes of its “mother organization” and represents a concrete possibility for smaller protected areas and local managers of biodiversity and natural sites to join the network.  Thanks to ALPARC CENTR’ALPS there will be an opportunity to gain access to more of the EU’s funding for the central region. 

The 10 founding members include protected areas from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Swiss Park Network, the Federation of the Austrian Nature Park and the interactive natural museum Inatura located in Dornbin, Germany. The presidency of ALPARC CENTR’ALPS is assured by Peter Oggier, the current president of ALPARC and director of the Nature Park Pfyn-Finges

To insure a regional presence of the Alpine network with regional contact points and to guarantee the proximity to the protected areas, ALPARC is planning to create a second regional platform in the south-eastern Alps (East of Italy or Slovenia). This will strengthen the network’s activities.

List of the 10 founding members of the ALPARC CENTR'ALPS:

 

The international photography contest “Fotografare il Parco” is now open for its 13th edition. The contest, organized by the Stelvio, Gran Paradiso, Abruzzo-Lazio-Molise and Vanoise National Parks, is a must do for any photographer passionate about mountain wildlife. Although these national parks may seem far from each other, they are all connected through their beauty, natural landscapes, and biodiversity of plants and animals. Participating in this event is an opportunity to enhance these protected areas, since the winners’ photos will be used in the parks’ exhibitions, publications, websites and social networks. 

Participants can compete in four categories:  The Park Landscape, The Park Wildlife, The Park Microcosmos and natural details, and The Park Plant World. For each category, photographers can send up to four photos either in color or in black and white. Winners will be awarded a cash prize in addition to stays in the national parks and a subscription to the to the magazine “La Rivista della Natura”

Participation is free of charge and the contest will be open until September 30th, 2019. Participation rules can be found on the Fotografare il Parco website

                                         

QA Stelvio              QA Parco Abruzzo                   QA Gran Paradiso low                 Parc National de la Vanoise

Thursday, 05 July 2018 15:28

New edition of eco.mont journal available

The new edition of eco.mont - Journal of protected mountain areas research is now available!

The journal is aimed at scientists, managers of protected areas and interested individuals on research and management issues related to protected areas in the Alps and other protected mountain areas. It is on its 10th anniversary and was founded as a joint initiative by the Alpine Network of Protected Areas (ALPARC), the International Scientific Committee on Research in the Alps (ISCAR), the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) and the University of Innsbruck.

eco.mont is published twice a year as a collaboration of the Austrian Academy of Sciences Press and Innsbruck University Press

The YOUrALPS challenge continues. After the start of the pilot activities in September 2017 and further scientific investigation on framework conditions for the development of the Alpine School model, the next step implies the involvement of political stakeholders in the context of the so-called infodays.


With the start of the pilot site activities since September 2017, the bottom-up development of the Alpine School model has been launched: Pilot schools and associated protected areas are aiming at integrating non-formal learning approaches in the teaching of young people either in class or outdoors. In this context the practical experience of non-formal educators enriches the nature experience and will strengthen ties between youngsters and their natural environment.

At the same time a scientific analysis on the framework conditions in all the five Alpine partner countries has been carried out. At the heart of the theoretical approach remains the UNESCO concept of education for sustainable development and its interpretation by every partner country. In this way light is shed on innovative aspects for a multifaceted and interdependent approach to learning.

Hence, in spring 2018, the time will be ripe for presenting these insights to political stakeholders over the whole Alpine territory. Infodays on the project will be held in Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and France, with the goal of mobilizing political influencers and decision takers for the aims of the YOUrALPS project. It is at the political level that willingness to cooperate has to be established and an agreement has to be found to integrate the idea of the Alpine School model into formal school curricula. It is an ambitious goal and there is still a long way to go, but the infodays will be the first step on that way, calling on  political stakeholders to take notice and take action.

ALPARC is lead partner for YOUrALPS and responsible for technical and financial management and the coordination of project partners’ activities. Moreover, the network is responsible for the project’s communication activities.


YOUrALPS is an Interreg Alpine Space project and lasts from November 2016 to October 2019. It is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg Alpine Space programme.


For further information about the project, please visit the YOUrALPS website.

The registration for the 1st Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) is now open! The event, taking place on 23-24 November 2017 at BMW World in Munich, is jointly organised by Bavaria (current Presidency of the EUSALP) and the European Commission (Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy).
 

For more details:  https://www.alpine-region.eu/news/registration-1st-annual-forum-eu-strategy-alpine-region-open

The YOUrALPS summer school carried the flag of empowering teachers and educators in order to start the test phase of pilot actions in the winter semester 2017/18. New pedagogical approaches, practical excursions and participatory activities provided inspiration and concrete instruments with regard to a first structure of an innovative school model – the Alpine School.


From August 28th to August 31st representatives from all project pilot sites met in Naklo, Slovenia to participate in the elaboration of a framework for the Alpine School model. In this way 45 participants from France, Italy, Slovenia, Austria and Germany spent four productive days together, actively engaging in discussions and fruitful exchanges concerning expectations, goals and respective approaches. In the course of the four days, the pilot sites were trained on the pedagogical approach of nature interpretation with the aim of giving young people the possibility to explore by themselves and foster individual learning. Moreover, the crucial importance of protected areas in backing mountain-oriented education was underlined, placing emphasis on several activities already in place, promoting the connection of the young generation to their living environment.


With the beginning of the winter semester 2017/18, pilot sites will start their actions for the first test phase until January 2018. Consequently, all activities will be evaluated according to specific Alpine School criteria and recommendations will be given in order to improve them for the second test phase during the summer semester 2018. The Alpine School model will be further developed and complemented by guidelines, toolkit and a certification charter such that at the end of 2019 it will ready for implementation.

The project YOUrALPS
The project YOUrALPS brings together 12 partners and 25 observers from 5 different Alpine regions and sectors. Alparc - Alpine Network for Protected Areas is lead partner and responsible for the work packages management and communication.


YOUrALPS is cofinanced by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via the Interreg Alpine Space Programme. Hence, the requirements of the Alpine Space Programme are strictly applied.

 

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Have a look at the status quo analysis report on Mountain oriented Education here

For more information on the project see: www.alpine-space.eu/projects/youralps/en/home

The International Conference that took place on the 16th-18th of May in Sölk, Sölktäler Nature Park (Styria, Austria) on "The Wolf in the alpine cultural landscape – chances and challenges" has gathered about 100 of participants. There has been some interesting debate and the subject was actively discussed in the presence of Marianne Elmi, Deputy Secretary General of the Alpine Convention.

 

For further information, please click on this link.

The event was co-organised by SÖLKTÄLER NATURE PARK and ALPARC.

 

Young people (14-25 years old) tend to leave peripheral Alpine regions due to the lack of personal and professional fulfilment, in particular regarding education and job opportunities as well as social integration. The majority of decision- and policy-makers lack awareness of the needs of young people as well as tools to better integrate them in urban and rural societies.

During the first period of the GaYA project (Governance and Youth in the Alps), ALPARC and the project consortium collected data on democratic and participatory processes across the Alps which particularly focus on youth. The aim is to highlight the best practices of youth participation in a comparative study, which is led by Eurac Research. The results will be officially presented at the international workshop “Democratic Participation in Political Decision-Making: The Involvement of Young Adults in the Alpine Region”, to be held on June 29th 2017 (9.30 am -5.00pm) at Eurac Research in Bolzano (IT).

Regarding the pilot stage following this preliminary study, the pilot site selection process is about to conclude. Overall, the project will implement trainings and pilot actions in 12 pilot sites, i.e. cities, municipalities and regions, in order to spread and exchange knowledge and encourage participation by the younger generations in democratic processes. ALPARC is work package leader in the pilot stage (End 2017-2018).

GaYA runs from November 2016 to February 2019 and is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg Alpine Space programme (Total budget: 1.092.748 € - 928.836€ ERDF grant).
 
For further information, please visit the GaYA website.

06 b GaYA Logo