Event 7-8 Oct. 2014 – Benefits after mineral site restoration: a Maastricht case study

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Eagle Owl chick at the ENCI quarry site in Maastricht, The Netherlands (c) ENCI

The city of Maastricht, The Netherlands, is a great case study where the restoration of mineral sites nearby will secure the long-term future of the area through flood alleviation and other environmental benefits.

A two-day event will be held there on the 7th and 8th of October to showcase and exchange best practice on restoration of mineral sites. Read the rest of this entry »

How do we measure biodiversity restoration?

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Wood Warbler DaD01 (David Dillon)
Birds are useful biodiversity indicators. Above, a Wood Warbler (c) David Dillon

This is a follow-up of the previous post, ”How SMART is Target 2 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy?”. As you may recall, the target is to restore 15% of degraded ecosystems. But, just how measurable is this objective?

‘M’ is indeed the tricky bit in the SMART neologism*, which stands for Measurable. It is tricky, because unlike CO2 emissions, biodiversity cannot be measured by a single unit. It is also said that biodiversity is multifaceted, so we are not sure what exactly to measure.

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From sodium carbonate to painted frogs – life of a quarry

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Species of great conservation concern such as the Iberian painted frog Discoglossus galganoi, very rare in Cantabria, or the European tree frog Hyla arborea have populations established in the former quarry. (c) Anxo Resúa
Species of great conservation concern, such as the Iberian painted frog Discoglossus galganoi, have established populations  in the former quarry.
(c) Anxo Resúa

Former mining sites often develop into artificial wetlands. This is the case of Cuchias quarry of Solvay S.A. at the bank of the Besaya river estuary in Northern Spain.

In this quarry, the freshwater wetland complex has become the perfect complement to the salt marshes habitats of the estuary.

Solvay S.A. is a chemical company with a huge environmental legacy in the area. Working with​​ SEO/BirdLife (BirdLife in Spain) in Cantabria to restore biodiversity at its former quarry is an opportunity to demonstrate commitment and responsibility to the environment.

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How SMART is Target 2 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy?

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First page of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 (c) European Commission

“By 2020, ecosystems and their services are maintained and enhanced by establishing green infrastructure and restoring at least 15% of degraded ecosystems.”

From the very beginning this text raised numerous questions. What specifically does it say? The questions I find most relevant are: What makes an ecosystem degraded or restored? 15% of what exactly needs to be restored? How do we measure it? I thought that SER2014 would be the ideal place to look for answers.

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Lake Sagsjön: restoration of a freshwater ecosystem near Gotenburg, Sweden

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Little Grebe AA3 (Shay Connolly)
The restoration of the lake will be beneficial to species such as the Little Grebe © Shay Connolly

Lake Sagsjön borders Jehander’s hard rock quarry in Kållered. Storm waters flow from the quarry to the lake and bring with them large amounts of sediment that virtually suffocate the ecosystem.

As a result, the lake is increasingly overgrown with vegetation and while several decades ago the lake was known as a good breeding habitat for birds, most birds have disappeared today.

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Impressions from the European Conference on Ecological Restoration 2014

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Fen mires in Finland © Boris Barov

In the next few posts I would like to share some thoughts and experiences from the SER2014 conference, 3-8 August 2014 in Oulu.

My first and quite positive impression was that unlike two years ago, the discussion around the EU Biodiversity policy on restoration of biodiversity and ecosystem services was much clearer and to the point.

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On my way to the 2014 European Conference on Ecological Restoration in Oulu, Finland

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© Boris Barov

Oulu the Capital of Northern Scandinavia, Finland will host the 2014 9th European Conference of the Society for Ecological Restoration.

My first participation in SER meetings was the 8th European SER Conference in 2012 in České Budějovice in the Czech Republic. I had just begun working as Coordinator of the BirdLife-HeidelbergCement partnership and had very little insight into the restoration of quarries and mining sites. SER2012 was an eye opener for me. Read the rest of this entry »