Conservation of selected Natura 2000 insect species in transboundary area (CZ-SK) of Western Carpathian Mts.

Reference: LIFE16 NAT/CZ/000731 | Acronym: LIFE for insects



In the second half of the 20th century, the landscape of the Western Carpathians was altered radically as a result of intensive, large-scale agriculture, fundamentally affected by Communist-era collective farming methods. Traditional, extensive agriculture was only continued in small, inaccessible sites, which consequently became refuges for many native flora and fauna species. Small-scale land owners, however, gradually lost interest in the traditional mowing of these pasturelands and use of animals for grazing of meadows. As a result, areas rich in biodiversity, which were inadvertently saved from intensive agricultural machinery, gradually became encroached by self-seeding shrubs and trees. At some sites, on both the Czech and Slovak sides of the mountain range, this negative trend has been successfully reversed and the original, open vegetation restored. However, hundreds of hectares remain unmanaged. Traditional management needs to be resumed on areas of abandoned wet meadows to safeguard for instance, rare and endangered butterfly species or other valuable invertebrates threatened by this overgrowth.

Another threat is the increasing fragmentation of the landscape and isolation of non-forest habitats. Invertebrates are especially vulnerable to these rapid changes because of their short life-cycles. It is feared some species many not be able to survive in the long term without an increase in other, suitable habitats. Most insect populations (e.g. the large blue butterfly species) operate under so-called metapopulation systems, requiring a sufficient number of other areas and their interconnection. For this reason, it is necessary to support and create ‘stepping stones’ between areas of suitable habitats and to eliminate physical barriers that may include inappropriately managed, uniformly-mown, extensive meadows and intensively grazed areas.

One of the most threatened habitats in Central Europe is open-canopy middle forests home to valuable Habitats Directive-listed species such as the stag beetle (Lucanus cervus) or clouded Apollo (Parnassius Mnemosyne) butterfly. With the disappearance of traditional coppicing of woodlands and forest grazing (and changes in forestry practices and legislation), the best way to support this habitat is through the restoration of open-canopy forests on sites that have been abandoned and are now covered by woodland, but still registered as non-forest areas.


LIFE for insects overall objectives are to conserve selected target insect species and enhance their populations through the restoration of wet grasslands, pastures, coppiced and open-canopy forest habitats in the transboundary area of the Western Carpathians; and to interconnect the species’ metapopulations in this area, thus contributing to the requirements of EU nature directives and Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.

Expected results: Restoration of the following habitats for the targeted insect species:

  • 210 ha in the Bílé Karpaty and Čertoryje sites - through coppiced forest restoration on 105 ha, opening and clearing followed by forest grazing on 52.5 ha, and elimination of self-seeding trees, followed by restoration of pastures on another 52.5 ha;
  • 70 ha in the Beskydy site - through measures in non-forested areas to enhance Maculinea butterfly species (including elimination of self-seeding trees and gradual restoration of pasturelands, mowing and sowing of butterfly-friendly plants in order to increase biodiversity) and, to a lesser extent, restoration of coppiced- forest areas;
  • 160 ha in the Holubyho Kopanice site - through coppiced woodland restoration on 80 ha, opening and clearing followed by forest grazing on 40 ha, and restoration on 40 ha; and
  • Implementation of management change on 70 ha, from intensive farming into small-scale, extensive farming.
  • Various awareness raising activities will also be carried out, including a joint Czech-Slovak festival, educational trips, workshops, information boards and other educational activities.


    Reference: LIFE16 NAT/CZ/000731
    Acronym: LIFE for insects
    Start Date: 01/07/2017
    End Date: 31/12/2022
    Total Eligible Budget: 4,222,005 €
    EU Contribution: 2,533,203 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic
    Legal Status: PAT
    Address: Kaplanova 1931/1, 14800, Prague, Czech Cesko
    Contact Person: Markéta Curatolo Jůnová
    Email: Send Email
    Website: Visit Website

    LIFE Project Map



    • Invertebrates


    • agricultural method
    • forest ecosystem
    • grassland ecosystem
    • grazing
    • public awareness campaign
    • restoration measure
    • population dynamics


    • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)
    • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020” (03.05.2011)


    • 0 - Non applicable (i.e.species project)


    • Eriogaster catax
    • Hypodryas maturna
    • Lycaena dispar
    • Colias myrmidone
    • Rosalia alpina
    • Lucanus cervus
    • Euplagia quadripunctaria
    • Maculinea teleius
    • Maculinea nausithous
    • Maculinea arion


    Type Code Name
    SPA CZ0721023 Horní Vsacko
    SPA CZ0811022 Beskydy
    SCI CZ0624072 Čertoryje
    SCI CZ0724089 Beskydy
    SCI CZ0724090 Bílé Karpaty
    SCI SKUEV0367 Holubyho kopanice


    Name Type
    Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic Coordinator
    Czech Union for Nature Conservation - (CUNC) Bílé Karpaty, Czech Republic Participant
    Education and information centre Bílé Karpaty, o.p.s., Czech Republic Participant
    Regional Association for Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development, Slovakia Participant
    Czech Union for Nature Conservation - (CUNC) Salamandr, Czech Republic Participant
    Infinity progress, Czech Republic Participant