Pesticides

Pesticides: Economic nonsense?

2016-03-25 to 2016-03-25

Paris, France

The cost of pesticides may far outweigh their benefits, according to the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), which has conducted a study on the external costs of these products. EurActiv’s partner Journal de l’Environnement reports.
The news will not please advocates of conventional agriculture, many of whom tend to admit that pesticides do cause damage to human health and the environment, but who tend to argue that this is more than balanced out by the benefits they bring. But INRA researchers Denis Bourguet and Thomas Guillemaud have found evidence that the costs my significantly outweigh the benefits.
Published in the Sustainable Agriculture Review, their study examined data from 61 scientific publications. The researchers analysed four types of cost: regulatory (decontamination, surveillance, etc.), human health, environmental and defensive. This last category includes “the extra cost of the part of organic food consumption due to aversive behaviour linked to pesticide use”.


Read more on EurActiv

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URL: http://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/pesticides-an-economic-nonsense/

Ecophyto

L'envolée des pesticides continue

2016-03-16 to 2016-03-16

Paris, France

Le ministère de l'Agriculture vient de rendre publiques les données sur les produits phytosanitaires en 2014. Implacablement, la consommation augmente. Sauf dans les fermes Dephy, qui prouvent qu'une autre agriculture est possible.


L'envolée des pesticides continue

Suivi du protocole d'observation "incidence des traitements phytosanitaires sur la culture" Xavier Remongin/Min.agri.fr


Comme chaque année, à la même période, le ministère de l'Agriculture fait le bilan du programme Ecophyto, qui travaille à la réduction de l'usage des produits phytosanitaires. Et chaque année, les chiffres augmentent.
En 2014, la progression de l'usage des produits phytosanitaires augmente de 9,4 % par rapport à 2013, et de 5,8 % entre 2012 et 2014 – les chiffres calculés sur trois ans permettent de lisser les variation saisonnières annuelles.
Exprimés en tonnage, les chiffres sont encore plus parlant : + 16 %, soit un total de 58 989 tonnes pulvérisés dans les champs français en 2014. Pire, les substances CMR (cancérigènes, mutagènes, reprotoxiques) s'envolent avec une progression de 22,6 %. Le tout, pour des rendements plutôt stables depuis 2009.
Pour rappel, le programme Ecophyto devait aboutir à une réduction de l'usage des produits phytosanitaires entre 2013 et 2018. Faute de résultat, Ecophyto a été lancé à l'automne dernier, avec des délais plus modestes : une réduction de 25 % d'ici à 2020, puis d'ici à 2025. Mais la trajectoire n'est toujours par amorcée.

Lire l'article complet sur Actu-Environnement

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URL: http://www.environnement-magazine.fr/article/46778-envolee-pesticides-continue/

2016 LIFE Call

Indicative planning for the 2016 LIFE Call

2016-03-07 to 2016-03-07

Brussels, Belgium

The European Commission has anounced a indicative planning fir the 2016 LIFE call.


The deadlines for submitting an application (trough the e-proposal system) are:


Climate (all objectives: CCA, CCM and GIC): 07/09/2016


Environment (ENV - Environment and Resource Efficiency): 12/09/2016


Environment (NAT - Nature and Biodiversity and GIE - Environmental Governance and Information): 15/09/2016


For more information or support in the preparation of an application, do not hesitate to contact Barthelemy Maillard, from Euroquality (barthelemy.maillard@euroquality.fr).

E-mail: barthelemy.maillard@euroquality.fr

URL: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/funding/life.htm#planning16

Biodiversity chellenges

Urgent action needed to halt biodiversity loss

2015-03-04 to 2015-03-04

Keystone, Switzerland

With only 6.5% of its land set aside as protected area, Switzerland occupies last place out of 38 European countries in the latest State of the Environment report from the European Environment Agency (EEA). Swiss environmental groups seized on the publication of the Europe-wide report to highlight Switzerland’s inadequacies in the area of biodiversity conservation.


Click here for more information

E-mail:

URL: http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/urgent-action-needed-to-halt-biodiversity-loss/41305012

Biodiversity and health

Harnessing agricultural biodiversity to reduce hunger and malnutrition

2015-02-23 to 2015-02-23

Paris, France

Agricultural biodiversity, health and nutrition are vitally connected. The biological variety that exists among crops, animals and other organisms used for food and agriculture plays an important role in providing the diversity of nutrients needed for healthy growth and living. It can also provide a local solution to diet-related nutrition and health conditions, such as nutrient deficiencies and obesity, which are becoming a growing burden on already stretched health budgets and economies. Yet much of this diversity and traditional knowledge associated with it is disappearing.

E-mail:

URL: http://agrobiodiversityplatform.org/par/2015/02/23/harnessing-agricultural-biodiversity-to-reduce-hu...

Project in progress

BioDiVine: Final meeting

2014-09-02 to 2014-09-03

Vilafranca del Penedes, Spain

Hosted by INCAVI (Spain), the final meeting of the LIFE+ BioDiVine project tool place on September 2nd and 3rd. This meeting was the occasion for partners to meet all together for the last time before the end of the project, on December 31st 2014. 


9 PM


During this meeting, partners have evaluated the nearly final results obtained by all partners in terms of conservation actions as well as monitoring process. The last months of the project will mainly be dedicated to the development of several dissemination tools (educative webtool, technical guides...) and to the reporting phase.


Partners have been very pleased to take part to this LIFE+ project and hope to find further opportunities to collaborate all together.

E-mail:

URL:

Project in progress

BioDiVine: project meeting n°8

2014-03-21 to 2014-03-21

Reguà, Portugal

From March 18th to 20th, BioDiVine partners met them in the Douro Region (Portugal) for the 8th Progress Meeting. Organised by ADVID, the three-day meeting took place in three different domains ("Quinta").
                         Group picture             Lunch
Partners and the external monitoring team had the opportunity to meet some winegrowers involved in the LIFE+ BioDiVine project and to discover the wonderful landscapes of this Region classified under the UNESCO programme.

E-mail:

URL:

European project

ECOWINERY: innovative training tool for cellar eco-design

2014-02-15 to 2014-02-15

Paris, France

The Leonardo Da Vinci project ECOWINERY, coordinated by the French Institute of Vine and Wine, aims at developing an innovative training support to cellar eco-design.
By creating an interactive e-learning platform, any interested stakeholders will be able to discover and learn about all the notions of "eco-design".
This collaborative project involve the Autonomous Univeristy of Barcelona (Spain), the Univeristy of Applied Science of Aschaffenburg (Germany), the Engineer School of Changins (Switzerland) and Euroquality (France) as IT developer and financial and administrtaive manager.

The e-learning platform should be available soon. Training sessions will be oragnised in Spring 2014 in France, Spain, Germany and Switzerland. If you're intrested in organizing such a session, do not hesitate to contact Barthélémy MAILLARD (barthelemy.maillard@euroquality.fr).

E-mail: barthelemy.maillard@euroquality.fr

URL: http://ecowinery.eu/

Website

BioDiVine website: new results available

2014-01-30 to 2014-01-30

Paris, France

The "Results" page of the BioDiVine website has been reorganised. You'll now be able to find the project results action by action.
Since some actions are still in progress, the results page will be regularely updated with the new project outputs!

E-mail:

URL: http://www.biodivine.eu/results.php?lang=fr

Project in progress

BioDiVine: Technical workshop

2014-01-21 to 2014-01-22

Bordeaux, France

On January 21st and 22nd, Biodivine partners met in Bordeaux for a technical workshop. 
Because the LIFE+ BioDiVine project is entering in the last year of implementation, beneficiaries wanted to discuss the different pedagogic material to be developped in order to guarantee the After-LIFE period.
Technical guides and an educative webtool will be available in the second semester of 2014.
Technical workshop
Partners will also organise a final conference in Autumn. More information will be available in the coming weeks.

E-mail: barthelemy.maillard@euroquality.fr

URL:

Project in progress

BioDiVine: Progress meeting n°7

2013-10-09 to 2014-01-10

Rodhilan, France

The 7th Progress Meeting took place on Wednesday 9th and Thursday 10th 2013 in Rodilhan, France.
A feedback has been done regarding technical and financial aspects reported in the last Mid-term report.


7 progress meeting


The progress done so far and the remaining objectives have been discussed among all partners. Partners have agreed to set up during fall 2013 a precise planning for the remaining period in order to reach the objectives by the end of the project.
The next progress meeting will take place in (19th and 20th March in Douro, Portugal, organized by ADVID

E-mail: barthelemy.maillard@euroquality.fr

URL:

Agriculture

Sustainable Agriculture: A key ingredient to food security in Europe

2013-07-08 to 2013-07-08

Brussels, Belgium

Food security and food sustainability are key EU priorities in 2013. By the end of 2013, the European Commission is expected to follow up on its Resource Efficiency Roadmap with a Communication on Sustainable Food.
How can this new policy framework best integrate a long- term approach to food and the environmental, social and economic pillars of sustainability? What options are at our disposal in Europe?
See the video on Euractiv.

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URL: http://www.euractiv.com/video/sustainable-agriculture-key-ingr-529128?utm_source=EurActiv%20Newslett...

GiESCO

18th International Symposium GiESCO 2013

2013-07-07 to 2013-07-11

Porto, France

The 18th International Symposium GiESCO 2013 (Group of international Experts of vitivinicultural Systems for CoOperation) takes place from July 7th to 11th at the Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto – Portugal. The Symposium will cover the main fields of viticultural sciences, and it will be expected to join about 200 presentations (oral and poster) by 250 researchers and scientists from more than 17 countries.
Started as a European group, by Alain Carbonneau and colleagues, GiESCO, originally focused on training systems and ecophysiology, studies nowadays an extended number of topics of basic and applied Viticulture.
This Symposium is also a good occasion to visit two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ALTO DOURO WINE VALLEY and PORTO HISTORICAL CENTER, and to know the latest advances in Viticulture and Portuguese wines production.

E-mail:

URL: http://www.fc.up.pt/giesco2013/index.html#PORTUGAL

EU co-funded projects

Discover EU co-funded projects and win!

2013-06-20 to 2013-08-23

Brussels, Belgium

EC wants you to help them celebrate projects which are making a real difference to improve citizens' lives and benefiting your local community.
For your chance to win €1000 worth of camera equipment, plus a trip to Brussels in October, take a photo of any project with a plaque or billboard highlighting EU investment and showing the EU flag.
Share up to 3 such photos here to enter the Europe in my Region photo competition 2013.
The winners will be chosen by popular vote and by an independent jury of communications and photography professionals.
The competition opens on 19 June and the deadline to submit your entry is 23 August 2013, 12:00 Central European Summer Time.
Find out more about the EU's Regional policy and other EU funds. Or go straight to the Europe in my Region photo competition.

E-mail: paula.lopez-paredes@ec.europa.eu

URL: https://www.facebook.com/EuropeanCommission/app_386310531430573

Pesticides

Green NGOs hail 'historic' victory in pesticides vote

2013-05-03 to 2013-05-03

Brussels, France

The three neonicotinoids pesticides – imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam – are used to coat seeds before germination, and are added to soil or sprayed on plants. They are produced mainly by Germany's Bayer and Switzerland's Syngenta.
In scientific reports published earlier this year, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said the three neonicotinoids posed “high acute risks” to honeybees in certain crop uses. The EFSA reports triggered a proposal by the Commission on banning the three substances.
On Monday, officials from the EU's 27 national governments failed to reach a consensus on whether or not to impose a two-year ban on the neonicotinoids, with 15 voting in favour of the proposal.
Tonio Borg, Health and Consumer Commissioner, said that although a majority of the member states now supports the Commission's proposal, the necessary qualified majority was not reached. As a consequence, the Commission said it will issue only a temporary ban.
"The decision now lies with the Commission. Since our proposal is based on a number of risks to bee health identified by EFSA, the Commission will go ahead with its text in the coming weeks," Borg stated.
Read more on Euractiv

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URL: http://www.euractiv.com/sustainability/environment-ngos-hail-historic-v-news-519428?utm_source=EurAc...

Interview

EEA chief: 'Scientific uncertainty is not a justification for inaction'

2013-04-15 to 2013-04-15

Brussels, Belgium

Use of the Precautionary Principle in EU decision-making has been criticised by some business groups but it must remain a central plank in responsible policy process, argues Jacqueline McGlade, the executive director of the European Environment Agency.
Jacqueline McGlade responded to written questions submitted by EurActiv’s Arthur Neslen.
Industry advocates often talk about the precautionary principle as a well-meaning luxury that Europe cannot afford at a time of recession. Why do you believe they are wrong?
Lessons from history tell us this is incorrect – indeed, precaution is a catalyst for innovation, which could benefit Europe during times of recession. This is particularly true when precaution is supported by smart regulation or well-designed tax changes. It is encouraging to see some corporations have fundamentally embraced sustainable development objectives in their business models and activities in recent years.
Don’t environmental regulations place an unbearable burden on industry that hurts their international competitiveness?
You could ask, should we allow companies to continue to market products which have been shown to harm users, solely in order to maintain their international competitiveness? It is important to consider what we want our economy to do for us. Policy makers’ priority must be maintaining the welfare of citizens, not economic competitiveness at any cost.
From a purely economic competitiveness angle, responding to early warnings can provide immense savings – avoiding companies becoming locked into paths which have to be discontinued due to the harm, or avoiding expensive compensation when a long history of harm has been proven, as was the case with mercury poisoning in Japan. Companies that respond quickly to early warnings are often front-runners in their industries.
Virtually all reviewed cases in our report show that early warnings about harmful effects were available, but that the prospect of short-term profit generated strong economic incentives for companies to continue with their practices. For example this has incentivised the most efficient fishing methods, the sales and use of cheap and effective substances such as benzene, lead in petrol, asbestos, insecticides, or growth hormones for meat production. In these cases – and there are many more examples – there were subsequent costs.


Read the full interview on Euractiv

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URL: http://www.euractiv.com/climate-environment/eea-chief-scientific-uncertainty-interview-518183?utm_so...

Green Business

Brussels unveils green performance scheme for products

2013-04-15 to 2013-04-15

Brussels, Belgium

The European Commission has proposed EU-wide methods for companies to measure and communicate their ‘greenness’ and the environmental footprint of their products.
The voluntary scheme, called Building the Single Market for Green Products, will make use of the EU Joint Research Centre's controversial “lifecycle assessment” method (LCA) for calculating the environmental performance of a product.
A three-year testing period will begin after the Commission adopts the communication, aimed at developing product-specific green rules and benchmarks, easing the application of environmental footprint methods by companies, and assessing different compliance and verification systems.
The EU executive will also weigh different strategies for communicating the green credentials of products and organisations to consumers, including packaging and pricing signals.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik told reporters on Tuesday (9 April): “To boost sustainable growth, we need to make sure that the most resource-efficient and environmentally-friendly products on the market are known and recognisable. By giving people reliable and comparable information about the environmental impacts and credentials of products and organisations, we enable them to choose. And by helping companies to align their methods we cut their costs and administrative burdens.”
Companies now wishing to highlight their green credentials must handpick from the many different methods recommended by governments and private organisations, which often confuse consumers and incur high costs.
The communication proposes EU-wide standards as well as recommendations for companies and organisations on how to carry them out.


Read more on Euractiv

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URL: http://www.euractiv.com/consumers/brussels-unveils-green-performan-news-519030?utm_source=EurActiv%2...

Europe

Sugar mounds and wine lakes? Not likely, quota advocates say

2013-03-26 to 2013-03-26

Brussels, Belgium

Butter mountains and milk lakes. Those were the images invoked in the European Parliament this week by opponents of extending vineyard planting limits and protections for sugar beet farmers.
Britta Reimers, a German liberal MEP, was among a number of lawmakers debating the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) who drew on the surpluses of the past to oppose the revival of quotas and, in the case of grape production, limits on how many vines can be cultivated.
“History has demonstrated that we have made mistakes and that we have seen things go wrong,” she told the Parliament on Tuesday (12 March).
“We don’t want milk lakes and butter mountains. European farmers over the last few years have shown that they can cope with market conditions, they are to a very large extent able to compete and we have to help them take that final step rather than going back to the old world.”
Dearth of sugar
The throwback to the wasteful practices in the early years of the CAP was not successful. The European Parliament voted, by a margin of 375 to 277, on Wednesday (13 March) for the market support measures that will carry the sugar quota through 2020 and planting limits for grape producers until 2030.
And the analogy doesn’t necessarily hold today.
Read more on EurActiv

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URL: http://www.euractiv.com/cap/sugar-mounds-wine-lakes-quota-ad-news-518510?utm_source=EurActiv%20Newsl...

Quotas européens

Pas de montagnes de sucre et de lacs de vin selon les défenseurs des quotas

2013-03-26 to 2013-03-26

Brussels, Belgium

Les détracteurs de la prolongation de la limitation de plantation de vignes et des protections pour les producteurs de betteraves sucrières ont utilisé cette image cette semaine au Parlement européen pour rappeler les montagnes de beurre et les lacs de lait.
L'eurodéputée libérale allemande Britta Reimers, présente lors des débats sur l'avenir de la politique agricole commune (PAC), a utilisé l'exemple des excédents du passé pour s'opposer à la reprise des quotas et, dans le cas de production de raisins, à la limitation de la quantité de vignobles à cultiver.
« L'histoire nous a démontré que nous avons commis des erreurs et que nous avons vu les choses se dégrader », a-t-elle déclaré au Parlement mardi (12 mars).
« Nous ne voulons pas de lacs de lait et de montagnes de beurre. Ces dernières années, les agriculteurs européens ont montré qu'ils peuvent gérer les conditions de marché, qu'ils sont capables, dans une large mesure, d'être compétitifs. Nous devons les aider à aller de l'avant plutôt que de retourner à un vieux monde. »
Pénurie de sucre
Le retour aux pratiques qui entraînent un gaspillage au cours des premières années de la PAC n'a pas porté ses fruits. Le Parlement européen a approuvé mercredi (13 mars), à 375 votes pour et 277 contre, des mesures en faveur du soutien du marché qui prolongeront les quotas de sucre jusqu’en 2020 et les limitations des plantations pour les viticulteurs jusqu’en 2030.
L'analogie n'est pas de rigueur à l'heure actuelle.

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URL: http://www.euractiv.com/fr/pac/pas-de-montagnes-de-sucre-et-de-news-518548

Domaine de Begude: a BioDiVine demonstration site

Biodiversity at Begude

2013-03-19 to 2013-03-19

Limoux, France

Working with Nature is very important to us at Begude and to this end we have been part of a Europe-wide study since early 2011.
3 wine making regions- St Emilion, Costieres de Nimes & Limoux- have been chosen in France together with another 3 in the Iberian Peninsular. Data is being gathered of what animals, birds & insects live on the various vineyards and how we can best protect these co-inhabitants and work together with them in harmony.
The study is being conducted by La Chambre d'Agriculture.
The results are available on the Domaine website, with pictures of birds and some exciting videos of little mammals.

E-mail: james@domainebegude.com

URL: http://www.domainebegude.com/index.php/nature.html

LIFE+ Call for Proposals 2013

The 2013 LIFE+ Call for Proposals was published by the European Commission on 19 February 2013.

2013-02-20 to 2013-02-20

Brussels, Belgium

The seventh LIFE+ call for proposals was published on 19 February, 2013, with up to €278 million available for co-financing of projects under three headings: Nature and Biodiversity (NAT); Environment Policy and Governance (ENV); and Information and Communication (INF).
Project proposals should be submitted to the relevant national authority using the eProposal tool no later than 16:00 hours (Brussels time) on 25 June, 2013.
Member States will forward proposals to the European Commission by 5 July, 2013. The earliest possible starting date for 2013 projects is 1 June, 2014.
Please note that applicants must only use the eProposal tool to create and submit proposal(s) under the 2013 LIFE+ Call for Proposals.
For more information on the call, click here.

E-mail:

URL: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/funding/lifeplus2013/call/index.htm

May 22nd is International Day for Biological Diversity

Building biodiversity back into the wine business

2012-12-05 to 2012-12-05

London, United Kingdom

May 22nd is International Day for Biological Diversity; this year's theme, Biodiversity and Agriculture, aims to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable agriculture to preserve biodiversity, but also to feed the world, maintain livelihoods, and enhance human wellbeing.
Biodiversity (short for biological diversity, which, simply put, means the variety of life of earth), is the basis of agriculture; it is the origin of all crops and livestock and the variety within them. Although agriculture can contribute to the maintenance of biodiversity, it is one of the major drivers of biodiversity loss. Farmers and other producers are custodians of agricultural biodiversity.
Since 2005, Earthwatch and Syngenta have been working together to raise understanding of environmental stewardship, through research on ways of combining crop production and biodiversity conservation in European agriculture....


Read more.

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URL: http://www.earthwatch.org/europe/expeditions/exped_research_focus/rf_bordeaux.html

Organic farming demonstrates clear advantages for biodiversity over conventional farming.

Organic agriculture promotes biodiversity

2012-11-12 to 2012-11-12

Frick, Switzerland

Organic farming demonstrates clear advantages for biodiversity over conventional farming. Depending on altitude, organic farms have between 46 and 72 percent more semi-natural habitats and host 30 percent more species and 50 percent more individuals than non-organic farms. The lower farming intensities and higher proportion of semi-natural areas enable site-typical plant and animal species to exist on organic farms and allow farmers to benefit from an intact and therefore sustainably functioning ecosystem.


Contents:


-Agriculture creates biodiversity
-Intensive farming as one of the main causes of species decline
-Biodiversity: More plant and animal species on organic farms
-Rare and endangered species on organic land
-Habitat diversity: More semi-natural areas on organic farms
-Higher biodiversity benefits farmers
-Main causes of higher biodiversity
-Literature


Read the article

E-mail: oliver.balmer@fibl.org

URL: http://www.fibl.org/en/fibl/themes/biodiversity.html

Green Economy

RIO+20: What balance sheet?

2012-11-08 to 2012-11-08

Bruxelles, Belgium

The major UN conference held from 20th to 22nd June doesn’t really seem to have lived up to expectations. What precisely did it say?
Entitled “The future we want”, the summit’s outcome document runs to 283 points arranged in six major chapters: “Our common vision”; “Renewing political commitment”; “Green economy”; “Institutional framework for sustainable development: “Framework for action and follow-up”; “Means of implementation”.
Besides reaffirming the principles of Rio and the action plans adopted, the “Renewing political commitment” section acknowledged that the progress made over the last twenty years had been very unequal and highlighted the need to engage major groups and other stakeholders. The following two sections, “Green economy” and “Institutional framework for sustainable development”, were more specifically devoted to the major themes of the conference but it was with these two themes that there were problems in the drafting and which finally appeared shorn of most of the subjects where there was a lack of uniformity.


Read more

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URL: http://blog.pollutec.com/rio20-what-balance-sheet.html#.UKTLT4cdWP8

Best LIFE Environment Projects 2011

New publication out!

2012-10-18 to 2012-10-18

Bussels, Belgium

The EU Member States represented on the LIFE Committee and the European Commission's LIFE Unit have announced the Best LIFE Environment Projects 2011. 


The results of the selection, as approved by the LIFE Committee members in the spring of 2011, are the 5 projects featured in this publication. These projects represent the most recent successful LIFE Environment projects in terms of their contribution to immediate and long-term environmental, economic and social improvements; their degree of innovation and transferability; their relevance to policy; and their cost-effectiveness.


 


Download the document: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/publications/lifepublications/bestprojects/documents/bestenv11.pdf

E-mail:

URL: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/publications/lifepublications/bestprojects/documents/bestenv11....

A mega meeting of the United Nations on biodiversity

QUANTUM LEAP: Do not put a price tag on biodiversity

2012-10-15 to 2012-10-15

London, United Kingdom

A mega meeting of the United Nations on biodiversity is underway in Hyderabad for almost a fortnight now.


Such meetings are notorious for being high on protocol and low on substance. The one on in Hyderabad is no exception.


For beginners, this is the eleventh meeting of signatories to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which came into force in December 1993.


You may wonder why conservation of biodiversity –– plants and animal species –– is such a major issue. Plant species are becoming endangered and many are getting extinct...


Read more.

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URL: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2218200/Do-price-tag-biodiversity.html#axzz2K...

New report describes SEBI approach

Measuring biodiversity with indicators

2012-09-19 to 2012-09-19

Brussels, Belgium

The continuing loss of biodiversity – made up of genes, species and ecosystems – is a matter of growing concern in Europe. Yet measuring the extent of the loss and the threat it poses is a huge challenge.


In recent years the Streamlining European Biodiversity Indicators (SEBI) process coordinated by the European Environment Agency (EEA) has developed a set of indicators to measure progress against targets to halt biodiversity loss. The EEA has now reviewed the successful process which created the indicators in a new report.


The report, 'Streamlining European biodiversity indicators 2020: Building a future on lessons learnt from the SEBI 2010 process' summarises achievements to date and is intended to help form the next stage of improving indicators for new biodiversity targets for 2020.


The SEBI process started in 2005 as a partnership with a pan-European dimension. Almost 150 experts helped to build a set of 26 indicators which show among other things genetic diversity of domesticated animals, trends in species populations and the extent of selected ecosystems and habitats, including protected areas. Other indicators look at threats to biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources, funding to protect biodiversity and public awareness of biodiversity issues.

E-mail:

URL: http://www.eea.europa.eu/highlights/measuring-biodiversity-with-indicators

Lanscape and biodiversity

Increasing fragmentation of landscape threatens European wildlife

2012-09-05 to 2012-09-05

Brussels, Belgium

Roads, motorways, railways, intensive agriculture and urban developments are breaking up Europe’s landscapes into ever-smaller pieces, with potentially devastating consequences for flora and fauna across the continent, according to a new joint report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). The report, 'Landscape fragmentation in Europe', demonstrates how areas of land are often unable to support high levels of biodiversity when they are split into smaller and smaller parcels.


As new roads and railways criss-cross Europe, the further fragmentation of the landscape increases the isolation of animal populations in smaller and more vulnerable fractions. This also increases the number of animals killed in collisions with vehicles, and transport routes block their access to resources and breeding mates. These problems are compounded by the growing area taken up by transport infrastructure and the area bordering these developments – many animals cannot live in the fringe areas. Moreover, landscape fragmentation also facilitates the spread of invasive species and reduces the ecosystem services that human society relies on.


Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency (EEA), said: "Landscapes change constantly but in recent decades humans have often shaped them with little thought to the cumulative impacts and at a pace that is unprecedented."


"For the first time, this report presents the extent of landscape fragmentation across an entire continent using a scientifically sound method. It reveals the most relevant driving forces behind fragmentation, demonstrating that varying factors are relevant in different parts of Europe. The picture it paints is worrying."

E-mail:

URL: http://www.eea.europa.eu/highlights/increasing-fragmentation-of-landscape-threatens

Monitoring arthropod diversity in Douro wine region vineyards

Monitoring arthropod diversity in Douro Wine Region vineyards.Rataux, A. et al. lleida 2012

2012-07-31 to 2012-08-31

lleida, Spain

Monitoring arthropod diversity in Douro wine region vineyards
Nowadays, many actions aim to enhance the biological control in agro ecosystems in order to improve their resilience and sustainability.


To what extent does the landscape structure improve biodiversity? Is it possible to adapt vineyard management or surrounding landscape to improve the
presence of ecological infrastructures and thus increase biodiversity? Those two questions are the basis of the European project LIFE+ “BioDiVine:  Demonstrating functional biodiversity in viticulture landscapes”.


In Portugal, ADVID is in charge of the implementation of conservation actions and for monitoring their impact in three experimental sites located in the Douro Valley, with a global surface of nearly 500 hectares. In 2011, two types of traps (combi and pitfall) have been set up in five  main  habitats:
vineyard, scrubland, urban, olive groves and olive hedgerows.


The arthropods caught during seven weeks of assessment (April-June) were sorted out using the Rapid Biodiversity Assessment (RBA) method. Biological indexes were calculated and correlated with landscape characteristics (Shannon’s landscape index) calculated through a GIS database to investigate the way habitats influence arthropods’ biodiversity and, in the particular functional biodiversity (Coccinellidae and Staphylinidae, Araneae and Opilionidae). More than 52000 arthropods were counted and 789 morphospecies identified, belonging to 18  orders of Insecta and five orders of Arachnida. Arthropods caught by combi traps were more abundant on scrublands. Some positive correlations have been established between landscape components and arthropods presence. Staphylinidae abundance and richness were higher in more diverse landscape. Concerning other taxa, each order appears to be differently influenced by the landscape’s structure.

E-mail: advid@advid.pt

URL: http://www.advid.pt/download.php?download=YTo0OntzOjg6ImlkX3Bhc3RhIjtpOjE7czoxMToiaWRfZmljaGVpcm8iO3...

And the winners are…

LIFE 20 years

2012-04-19 to 2012-04-19

Brussels, Belgium

 

To mark the 20th anniversary of the LIFE programme in 2012, the LIFE Units organised two competitions open to all beneficiaries and project partners, past or present: a photo competition and a competition to sum up, in 20 words or less, what LIFE means to you.
From the numerous entries received, a panel of judges had the hard task of selecting the 20 "Best" photos and 20 "Best" texts. This long-list of "Best" entries was then whittled down to select the three "Best of the Best" photos and texts, which are presented in the LIFE 20 years website.

E-mail:

URL: http://life20.eu/?form=2

Best LIFE Nature Projects 2010

New publication out!

2011-12-19 to 2011-12-19

Brussels, Belgium

The EU Member States represented on the LIFE Committee and the European Commission's LIFE Nature Unit have announced the Best LIFE Nature Projects 2010. The 18 projects selected represent the most successful of the recently completed LIFE Nature projects, in terms of best practices and/or demonstration actions on nature conservation and the implementation of the Habitats and Birds Directives.

E-mail:

URL: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/publications/lifepublications/bestprojects/index.htm#bestnat10

News about LIFE's successor has been released from the European Commission!

Proposals for the new 2014-2020 LIFE Programme regulation released!

2011-12-13 to 2014-04-30

Brussels, Belgium

News about LIFE's successor has been released from the European Commission which confirms a proposed LIFE budget of €3.2 billion over the 2014-2020 financial period. The new draft regulation refers to a LIFE Programme for the Environment and Climate Action and has been designed to build on the success of the existing LIFE+ Programme. The proposals introduce innovations to strengthen LIFE's structure, enhance its strategic role and simplify operations through greater flexibility.


Emphasis will also be placed on better governance and the LIFE regulation proposal includes clearer definition of priority areas for the Programme, based on multi-annual work programmes being adopted in consultation with Member States. The current LIFE + components will be replaced by 'sub-programmes' covering Environment and Climate Action.


Read more about the future of LIFE here

E-mail:

URL: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/about/beyond2013.htm#proposal

Help LIFE celebrate its 20th anniversary!

Help LIFE celebrate its 20th anniversary!

2011-12-01 to 2011-12-01

Bruxelles, Belgium

The LIFE programme celebrates its 20th anniversary in May 2012. To mark this important milestone in the history of the EU's financial instrument for the environment, the LIFE unit invites you to take part in not one but TWO special competitions.
The LIFE Photo Competition: View details and submit your photos on the LIFE 20 Years website (closing date 15 December).
The LIFE 20 words Competition: submit your 20 words or less on what your LIFE project means to you on the submit 20 words page (closing date 15 December).
Finally, to mark LIFE's 20th birthday, events will take place across Europe. Upload details of your event and be part of the LIFE's 20th anniversary calendar.
Twenty years of LIFE is well worth celebrating. With your help we can make it an occasion to remember!

E-mail:

URL: http://www.life20.eu/

Best LIFE Environment Projects 2010

New publication out!

2011-09-01 to 2011-09-30

Luxembourg, Luxembourg

The EU Member States represented on the LIFE Committee and the European Commission's LIFE Unit have announced the Best LIFE Environment Projects 2010. The results of the selection, as approved by the LIFE Committee members in the spring of 2011, are the 13 projects featured in this publication. These projects represent the most recent successful LIFE Environment projects in terms of their contribution to immediate and long-term environmental, economic and social improvements; their degree of innovation and transferability; their relevance to policy; and their cost-effectiveness.

E-mail:

URL:

LIFE preventing species extinction

Safeguarding endangered flora and fauna through ex-situ conservation

2011-07-01 to 2011-07-31

Luxembourg, Luxembourg


Most LIFE Nature projects focus on conservation action ‘in-situ’, i.e. within the natural habitat of a particular threatened species. This may not be enough to help the most vulnerable species, however, in which case ‘ex-situ’ conservation measures are required to address the threat of extinction.

The LIFE programme has a distinguished track record of funding crucial ex-situ interventions targeting a wide range of vulnerable species, ranging from flagship species such as the brown bear and golden eagle, to lesser-known but equally important fish, invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians and plants. LIFE-funded actions to support habitats ex-situ have contributed to enhancing biodiversity, supporting the EU’s policy goals. The Commission is at present evaluating the contribution that ex-situ conservation has to make to the conservation of European species.

This LIFE Focus publication highlights more than 80 LIFE Nature projects that feature ex-situ conservation actions, with the goal not only of highlighting innovative ideas and good practice, but also of pointing out some of the problems that previous LIFE projects have faced so that they might be avoided by current and future projects working in the challenging field of ex-situ conservation.

LIFE preventing species extinction


E-mail:

URL: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/index.htm

Focus on landscape management

Manipulating the landscape to influence functional biodiversity is a new option

2011-04-15 to 2011-04-15

Sofia Antipolis, France


Manipulating the landscape to influence functional biodiversity is a new option in the construction of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy. The idea is to eventually enhance natural controls (ecosystem services) by acting at the landscape level for the benefit of agricultural crops.

It is a promising but challenging area, demanding a range of scientific expertise. A number of ENDURE teams have explored the possibilities it offers, including researchers examining biological controls and field vegetables.

Indeed, ENDURE’s work in this sphere has stimulated the recently launched PURE project (Pesticide Use-and-risk Reduction in European farming systems with Integrated Pest Management) to include research on ‘exploring pest suppressive landscapes’ in its four-year work programme. PURE’s work in this area will be led by Graham Begg from the Scottish Crop Research Institute, who will be working with colleagues from France’s National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and Wageningen University in The Netherlands.

Landscape management is also the focus of an International Organisation for Biological Control (West Palaearctic Regional Section) (IOBC) Working Group to which ENDURE has made an active contribution.


E-mail:

URL: http://www.endure-network.eu/

LIFE and European Mammals

Improving their conservation status

2011-03-31 to 2011-03-31

Brussel, Belgium

Europe is home to a wide range of mammals from the smallest shrew to the massive European bison, which can weigh up to 920 kg and is the largest land-based mammal native to this continent. Maintaining stable and healthy populations of mammals is an essential part of conservation. Many mammals are 'umbrella' species and actions targeted at these species can have a positive impact on the populations of a whole series of other species and a range of habitat types. These include emblematic species such as the Iberian lynx, the Abruzzo chamois and the monk seal, which also catch the imagination of the public, and thus help to raise awareness of biodiversity and nature conservation.

Though strategically important for Europe's rich biodiversity, many mammals have suffered as a result of habitat degradation and loss, in addition to other direct threats such as excessive hunting and human disturbance. While many species remain endangered, EU conservation policy has addressed threats to mammals, and some positive results have been achieved.

This brochure highlights many of the actions that the EU has supported and offers a valuable overview of what has been achieved and how we, together with a wide range of stakeholders, can succeed in securing the future of Europe's diverse range of mammals, both great and small.

E-mail:

URL: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/publications/lifepublications/lifefocus/documents/mammals.pdf

A European project on Biodiversity

BioBio- Indicators for Biodiversity in Organic and Low-input farming

2011-02-22 to 2011-02-22

Zurich, Switzerland


BIOBIO is a European Project which aims the conceptualization of criteria for a scientifically based selection of biodiversity indicators for organic and low-input farming systems. In addition, the assessment and validation of a set of candidate biodiversity indicators in representative case studies across Europe and in ICPC countries (Uganda, Ukraine and Tunisia). The output will be the preparation of guidelines for the implementation of biodiversity indicators for organic and low-input farming systems for Europe and beyond.

Organic and low-input farming systems have been shown to benefit farmland biodiversity although a generic indicator system to assess these benefits at the European level is lacking. The BioBio project will therefore pursue the following objectives: 1) Conceptualization of criteria for a scientifically-based selection of biodiversity indicators for organic/low-input farming systems; 2) Assessment and validation of a set of candidate biodiversity indicators in representative case studies across Europe (and in ICPC countries); 3) Preparation of guidelines for the implementation of biodiversity indicators for organic/low-input farming systems for Europe and beyond.

Existing indirect farm management indicators as well as direct indicators for genetic, species and habitat diversity will be assessed for their scientific soundness, practicality, geographic scope and usefulness for stakeholders. Candidate indicators will be tested in a standardised design in twelve case studies across Europe and later in three ICPC countries. Case study regions will include Pannonian, Alpine, Boreal, Atlantic and Mediterranean grassland systems (both organic and/or low-input), rain fed organic farms under temperate and Mediterranean conditions, mixed organic farming, organic special crops and low-input tree/agroforestry systems. Plot, farm and regional scales (where applicable) will be addressed. The investigation will include new agricultural practices, e.g. soil conservation, crop rotation management, seed and crop mixtures and economic issues relating to the costs of indicator measurement and to benefits of biodiversity as perceived by different groups of the population. Stakeholders (farming communities, conservation NGOs, administrators) will be integrated at critical stages of the indicator selection process. A handbook with factsheets will be produced for validated indicators and a sampling design for biodiversity monitoring in organic and low-input farming systems across Europe.


E-mail: felix.herzog@art.admin.ch

URL: http://www.biobio-indicator.wur.nl/UK/

Workshop on “landscape heterogeneity and biodiversity in farmland”

Workshop on “landscape heterogeneity and biodiversity in farmland”

2010-10-21 to 2010-10-21

Montpellier, France

In this International Year of Biodiversity the question of the capacity of manmade landscapes for wildlife is more relevant than ever.

This ability does not decline only in terms of conservation but also in terms of management and operation of these ecosystems and the services they render. The presentations and forums that are proposed in this morning will rise the scientific interest in biodiversity in landscapes dominated by agriculture. They will all be available for guests at the workshop on biodiversity and spatial heterogeneity in agricultural landscapes.

The workshop will be held from October the 17th to the 20th in the hinterland of Montpellier.

E-mail:

URL: http://www.cefe.cnrs.fr/

How Can Territories Face Biodiversity

Second International Meeting of ClimSAT

2010-10-07 to 2010-10-09

Brest, France


Organized by UNDP-ClimSAT in partnership with FAO and UNEP


E-mail: alain.retiere@undp.org

URL: http://www.biodivine.eu

Soil, land-use & agriculture: LIFEnews features 2010

Sustaining mountain soil quality on Europe’s hillside vineyards

2010-09-15 to 2010-09-15

Marseille, France

LIFE funded project work from upland Spain and France has identified new techniques and methods for enhancing the environmental performance of vineyard production systems by boosting soil quality, reducing chemical inputs and increasing the efficiency of water use. Vineyards remain one of the most economically productive uses of European hillsides and their coverage is common place in many southern or central Member States.

These uniformed landscapes of terraces and winding access routes create characteristic upland features but associated environmental impacts can be considerable. Soil erosion is one of the most noticeable effects of intensive viticulture on sites where undergrowth and ground cover plants have been removed to make way for the grape vines. In such circumstances, erosion caused by wind and rain can badly affect the quality of soil resources, which in turn has negative consequences for the vineyard products that remain heavily reliant on soil quality. Inappropriate irrigation systems can further exacerbate these problems and increase pressures on scarce water supplies.

Furthermore, soils in wine growing regions can also be contaminated by excessive use of fertilisers and chemical products. The combination of these environmental issues indicates a need for more sustainable approaches to viticulture and a multi-national LIFE project has demonstrated that low impact production systems can help conserve mountain soils and at the same time support regional wine economies.

E-mail:

URL: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/themes/soil/features2010/vineyards.htm

Compilation of recently approved LIFE Environment Policy & Governance projects

LIFE Environment Policy & Governance 2010

2010-07-01 to 2011-07-31

Bruxelles, Belgium


The European Commission has approved funding for 104 new environmental innovation projects in 18 countries under the LIFE+ Environment Policy & Governance programme 2010. These projects will demonstrate new methods and techniques for dealing with a wide diversity of Europe's environmental problems. The projects are led by 'beneficiaries', or project promoters, based in Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. They represent a total investment of €286 million, of which the EU will provide some €109 million.

LIFE Environment Policy & Governance 2010


E-mail:

URL: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/index.htm