Due to its geology and climatic influences, the Grand Est region of France presents a diversity of natural environments that contributes to the value of its heritage in terms of landscape, flora and fauna; the region has 6 Regional Nature Parks and 25 Regional Nature Reserves, which cover 15% of the territory. With nearly 80% of its territory used for agriculture or forestry purposes, the region ranks first in the national classification for its agricultural and agri-food production and for the number of jobs in the wood industry. Restoring biodiversity within agricultural and forestry areas is therefore a key challenge. The Grand Est region is facing a variety of environmental threats, including fragmentation of ecosystems, water and air pollution, artificialisation of natural areas, and the spread of invasive alien species. Not only do those threats negatively affect local biodiversity (e.g. 31% loss of avifauna diversity between 2002 and 2019, 82% loss of insect biomass in 27 years, 300 000 ha reduction of permanent pastures in 30 years), they also decrease resilience of the local economy to the effects of climate change. The preservation and restoration of ecological continuity is key to combating the erosion of biodiversity. Despite the existing regulatory and legislative tools to protect, restore and manage natural areas, local biodiversity is still declining under the effects of increasing anthropic pressure. To halt this downward trend, the Regional Biodiversity Strategy highlighted the need to involve all stakeholders, from decision-makers to the general public.
The overall objective of the Biodiv’Est project is to reverse the decline in biodiversity in the Grand Est region of France. To this end, it aims to implement the 2021-2027 Prioritised Action Framework (PAF) for Natura 2000, and the Regional Biodiversity Strategy. This will be achieved through the following steps:
- Engaging stakeholders in the process and enhancing collaboration between actors of various economic sectors to develop a well-adapted local governance;
- Setting up awareness-raising actions that target various sectors and the general public, including elected representatives, economic actors, students, youth, etc.;
- Enhancing and improving the state of knowledge on local biodiversity to better target conservation actions and monitor their impact;
- Drafting or updating management plans for natural areas, especially those included in the Natura 2000 network;
- Implementing relevant field actions with an adequately-sized and trained workforce, by supporting and strengthening technical knowledge and environmental engineering resources;
- Identifying innovative solutions to protect biodiversity;
- Establishing a transferability and replicability strategy, integrating methods, approaches and techniques that have proved their worth during the project. Special attention will be paid to the adaptation of the PAF at regional level, and to the possibilities of transferring the most valuable lessons and experience to other regions in France and/or in Europe.
The project will contribute to the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the Regional Biodiversity Strategy, the EU Birds Directive, Habitats Directives, the Prioritised Action Framework (PAF) for Natura 2000, and the 7th Environment Action Programme.
In addition to the IP budget itself, the project will secure €5 726 124 in complementary funding from OFB (French Biodiversity Office), AERM (Rhine-Meuse Water agency), AESN (Seine-Normandy Water Agency), DREAL (Regional Directorate for Environment, Development and Housing) and AERMC (Rhone Mediterranean Corsica Water Agency).
Improved conservation status and knowledge
- Improving the conservation status of natural areas and reducing pressures and threats identified in the regional action plan, in particular in freshwater habitats, grasslands and forests;
- Setting up 10 new Regional Nature Reserves, over a total surface of approximately 500 hectares and securing the land under this conservation status for at least 12 years;
- Preserving 50 000 additional hectares, thanks to the implementation of a land use strategy adapted to the local ecological and economic contexts;
- Establishing 50 tranquillity zones, i.e. on a minimum of 60 000 hectares, and translating this concept into local policies;
- Better defining the regional ecological network, integrating the Natura 2000 and Blue-Green Infrastructure networks;
- Elaborating 50 municipal or inter-municipal biodiversity atlases;
- Supporting 40 showcase farms (20 km of planted hedges, 20 km of improved grass strips, 20 km of field margins under differentiated management, 20 plots (150 ha) monitored for soil life).
- Measuring the direct and indirect socio-economic impacts of actions in favour of biodiversity (jobs created, added value, sensitised persons, etc.);
- Getting 200 industrial sites committed to protecting biodiversity on their premises;
- Elaborating measures in urban environment to create cool air islands during heatwaves;
- Setting up a local plant retail sector structured to supply all regional planting sites;
- Developing innovative financial measures favouring environmental services.
Informing and sensitising
- Reaching 1 000 to 2 000 annual visits on the Biodiv’Est project website;
- Elaborating a biodiversity platform to promote local actions and biodiversity stakeholders;
- Providing technical training at least 500 elected representatives, 500 professionals and 1 000 students, enabling them to better integrate the preservation of biodiversity and water resources as well as Natura 2000 objectives into their actions;
- Reaching, educating and actively engaging 1 000 to 5 000 stakeholders of the Regional Biodiversity Strategy;
- Sensitising 8 000 pupils and 300 teachers in primary, secondary and high schools on project activities;
- Organising workshops at the regional, national and European levels.