LIFE Project Cover Photo

Re-establishment of the Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) in Portugal

Reference: LIFE02 NAT/P/008481 | Acronym: Peneireiro

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

The lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) can be found in the Mediterranean region, principally in Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal. In recent years there has been a dramatic decline in virtually all of its distribution areas, so much so that the species is now classified as "vulnerable" at a European level. In the past, in Portugal, the lesser kestrel was found virtually throughout the country, with the exception of a few northern areas. Today however, the 31 known breeding colonies are almost all found in southern Portugal in the south of the Alentejo region. The project targeted 86-87% of the total Portuguese lesser kestrel population (estimated in 2002 at 233-234 pairs), which is threatened among others, by the disappearance of feeding sites in breeding and wintering sites, the reduction in the number of nesting and roosting sites, the use of pesticides and other human disturbances.


OBJECTIVES

The project aimed at the recovery in Portugal of this globally-threatened species. The geographical areas for actions were the Special Protection Areas (SPAs) of Castro Verde, Vale do Guadiana and Campo Maior. Actions would focus mainly on improving feeding opportunities and increasing the numbers of nesting sites favoured by the birds. The project would map sensitive areas, identify the main factors limiting the growth of colonies and implement other measures to reduce competition between species and predation. Specific actions included: - the construction of walls, or towers, specially designed to provide breeding sites; - the purchase or lease of structures (e.g ruined buildings) suitable for breeding in the Castro Verde SPA; - increasing the quality of the feeding areas, for example by the promotion of farming techniques that are beneficial to the main prey occurrence (grasshoppers and gryllotalpa); - monitoring of power lines in the main areas and informing the relevant authorities of the threats posed; - drawing up of zonal plans for the Vale do Guadiana and Campo Maior SPAs. The project also included measures for monitoring colonies and their habitats, campaigns for raising the awareness of local people and visitors, and exchanges with other Life projects focusing on similar problems.


RESULTS

This was an ambitious project covering an extensive area in the south of Portugal. Despite some unexpected delays, which resulted in a prolongation of the project period, all the main objectives were fully met. The project achieved important results on a European scale, in terms of its contribution to the European Union?s Natura 2000 network of conservation sites, and nationally in terms of its benefits to the target species (Falco naumanni). It contributed to the preparation of preliminary zonal plans for two of the three SPAs identified for action under the project - Vale do Guadiana and Campo Major ? (the third site, Castro Verde already had a zonal plan), devised management plans for the main colonies and implemented a set of concrete conservation measures for the species. The results showed an increase in the breeding populations: in 2006, there was an estimated 427-462 pairs, (compared with an estimated 340-370 in 2003), and these were distributed across 55 colonies (compared with 31 known colonies at project start). Similar positive results were recorded in 2005. This favourable trend was mainly reflected by positive results for the Castro Verde SPA, due to an increase in numbers of breeding sites, supported additionally by an agri-environmental measure, ?Plano Zonal de Castro Verde?, which focused on conservation of the birds favoured steppe habitat. The trend in the Vale do Guadiana SPA is fluctuating: indicating some instability among colonies there. Meanwhile at the third site, the Campo Maior SPA, there are still no breeding pairs. Overall, considerable improvements were made to the birds nesting habitat: providing 817 new places suitable for breeding (615 cavities in walls and other structures and 202 nesting-boxes/ clay nesting pots). Some 37% of these were occupied - representing 22% of the total Portuguese populations. Following the 2005 breeding period, five more new walls were constructed to encourage breeding within the Castro Verde SPA, and two more were constructed within the Vale do Guadiana SPA. In order to improve the species? feeding habitat, works were also carried out over 199 ha in the Vale do Guadiana SPA. Finally, all the foreseen awareness-raising activities were successfully carried out. These included the hosting of an exhibition, and publication and distribution of information leaflets and educational kits. A number of other activities were also organised such as a workshop, visits, a congress and various courses. Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report (see "Read more" section). This project has been selected as one of the 26 "Best" LIFE Nature projects in 20This was an ambitious project covering an extensive area in the south of Portugal. Despite some unexpected delays, which resulted in a prolongation of the project period, all the main objectives were fully met. The project achieved important results on a European scale, in terms of its contribution to the European Union?s Natura 2000 network of conservation sites, and nationally in terms of its benefits to the target species (Falco naumanni). It contributed to the preparation of preliminary zonal plans for two of the three SPAs identified for action under the project - Vale do Guadiana and Campo Major ? (the third site, Castro Verde already had a zonal plan), devised management plans for the main colonies and implemented a set of concrete conservation measures for the species. The results showed an increase in the breeding populations: in 2006, there was an estimated 427-462 pairs, (compared with an estimated 340-370 in 2003), and these were distributed across 55 colonies (compared with 31 known colonies at project start). Similar positive results were recorded in 2005. This favourable trend was mainly reflected by positive results for the Castro Verde SPA, due to an increase in numbers of breeding sites, supported additionally by an agri-environmental measure, ?Plano Zonal de Castro Verde?, which focused on conservation of the birds favoured steppe habitat. The trend in the Vale do Guadiana SPA is fluctuating: indicating some instability among colonies there. Meanwhile at the third site, the Campo Maior SPA, there are still no breeding pairs. Overall, considerable improvements were made to the birds nesting habitat: providing 817 new places suitable for breeding (615 cavities in walls and other structures and 202 nesting-boxes/ clay nesting pots). Some 37% of these were occupied - representing 22% of the total Portuguese populations. Following the 2005 breeding period, five more new walls were constructed to encourage breeding within the Castro Verde SPA, and two more were constructed within the Vale do Guadiana SPA. In order to improve the species? feeding habitat, works were also carried out over 199 ha in the Vale do Guadiana SPA. Finally, all the foreseen awareness-raising activities were successfully carried out. These included the hosting of an exhibition, and publication and distribution of information leaflets and educational kits. A number of other activities were also organised such as a workshop, visits, a congress and various courses. Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report (see "Read more" section). This project has been selected as one of the 26 "Best" LIFE Nature projects in 20

ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


Reference: LIFE02 NAT/P/008481
Acronym: Peneireiro
Start Date: 01/02/2002
End Date: 30/09/2006
Total Budget: 832,379 €
EU Contribution: 624,284 €
Project Location:
Project Website:

CONTACT DETAILS


Coordinating Beneficiary: Liga para a Protecção da Natureza (LPN)
Legal Status: OTHER
Address: Estrada do Calhariz de Benfica, 187, 1500-124, LISBOA,
Contact Person:
Email:
Tel:
Fax:


LIFE Project Map

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

THEMES

  • Birds

KEYWORDS

  • monitoring
  • protected area
  • land purchase
  • endangered species

TARGET HABITAT TYPES

  • 01 - Unknown (site without information)

SPECIES

  • Falco naumanni

BENEFICIARIES

Name Type
Liga para a Protecção da Natureza (LPN) Coordinator
None Participant

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