Active conservation

The times when in Eastern Poland waders persisted thanks to the large fragmentation of land plots, extensive agriculture and primitive melioration of meadow and pasture areas have already ended. The experience from the whole Europe shows that agri-environmental programs give poor results in terms of preserving populations of these birds, which is confirmed by the results of bird monitoring. The proverbial nail in the coffin is the effects of climate change. Biebrza not only does not flood in the spring, but it burns. Lack of water also means unlimited access of predators such as fox or raccoon dog to loot broods. The natural conditions in which these birds functioned no longer exist. Therefore, urgent solutions are needed aimed at taking control over large areas of land in order to store water in the winter and gradually drop the water level during the breeding season in order to ensure appropriate habitat conditions for birds and allow agricultural use in the later stages of the vegetative season. In addition, these areas should be protected by an anti-predatory fences, with local control of predators in the winter months up to the breeding season. With large fragmentation of plots, such activities cannot be carried out without obtaining consents from a large number of owners, which is simply an unrealistic challenge. That is why the Foundation decided to start purchasing and managing land in the most important places for wader birds, preferably in the vicinity of already managed land by other organisations in order to increase the impact of these activities.

Cooperation and exchange of knowledge

The challenge of implementing nature conservation at the national or even regional scale is impossible to achieve without the cooperation of many organisations, scientific institutions, state administration and individual farmers / experts and volunteers who complement each other in implementing different types of activities. For example, the protection of great snipe requires: well-recognised distribution and ecology of the species, refined agri-environmental programs, appropriate water management, strategic conservation plans at various levels, reserve-type protection, predator control, state-funded monitoring and the working group coordinating the implementation of the SAP. In short - it would be good if the organisations carrying out these tasks talked to each other, even if they differ in views on other aspects of natural resource management. That is why we strive for dialogue, cooperation and exchange of experience. We coordinate the Great Snipe SAP Working Group and provide our knowledge in designing the next edition of agri-environmental programs for wader birds. We also organize an annual "Symposium for Great Snipe Practitioners". Finally, it is impossible not to mention our partners, especially the larger NGOs, without which we could not do anything. These are primarily the Lublin Ornithological Society and the Polish Society for the Protection of Birds.

Applied ecology and conservation strategies

The foundation promotes active conservation based on knowledge of target species ecology, habitat requirements and threats. Even if we do not fully know the above parameters, all protective measures are carefully monitored in terms of their effectiveness. This allows for a better design of active protection measures and recommendations for conservation plans and systemic solutions such as agri-environmental programs. As part of the project for the protection of the great snipe in the Upper Narew Valley, we have conducted comprehensive studies of the landscape scale movements using GPS and VHF transmitters as well as habitat preferences on a micro scale. Ornithologists tracked foraging birds and recorded a number of habitat variables, and took soil samples to test food abundance. Based on this research, we have developed models for optimal land use, which were included in the National Species Action Plan for Great Snipe. We used a similar approach in telemetry studies on the lesser spotted and short-toed eagles as part of the project to protect nest zone protected birds in the Lublin region. The results of these studies were included in the Regional Strategy for the Protection of Nest Zone Protected Birds. In the current project implementing the first stage of Great Snipe SAP, we have expanded the research into new habitat types and with an emphasis on females using newly available GPS-GSM transmitters. A strategic element in this project is the water management plan being prepared for the Siemianówka Reservoir.

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Our work

© Michał Korga

© Michał Korga

Foundation Natura International Polska is registered in the National Register of Associations in Poland (KRS): 0000308204. VAT: PL5783045121. REGON: 280381278

Address: Żyzna 18/16, 15-161 Białystok, Poland. Tel: +48 58 7356529. E-mail: