Biodiversity preservation in rural and maritime areas of EU islands


Programme: Erasmus+

Action Type: KA220-VET - Cooperation partnerships in adult education

Project budget: 150.000,00 €

Applicant organization: Centro pa Desaroyo di Aruba

Partner organizations:

  • Caribbean Education and Culture Foundation, Netherlands
  • Zadar County Rural Development Agency, Croatia
  • SMART IDEA Igor Razbornik s.p., Slovenia

Description of project:

Healthy and resilient societies depend on giving nature the space it needs. The recent COVID-19 pandemic makes the need to protect and restore nature all the more urgent. The pandemic is raising awareness of the links between our own health and the health of ecosystems. (…) The five main direct drivers of biodiversity loss – changes in land and sea use, overexploitation, climate change, pollution, and invasive alien species – are making nature disappear quickly (EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030-May 2020). “Biodiversity preservation in rural and maritime areas of EU islands” (BioIslands) project is focused on three of the main sectors related to biodiversity preservation. Increased land-use intensity in agriculture has caused an alarming decline in farmland biodiversity during the last century. Likewise, there is great concern over the degradation of pastoral landscapes by invasive species and soil erosion, the undermining of common property systems, and unsustainable land-use changes, such as mining, inappropriate afforestation and unsustainable agricultural practices. Currently, nearly half of the Earth’s terrestrial surface is transformed by agriculture and pastoralism, and thus, the contribution of agricultural and pastoralism areas to biodiversity is critical for successful long-term conservation. In addition, biodiversity has many key roles in ecosystems, and many elements of biodiversity support fish species and therefore also fisheries. At the same time, cooperation fisheries also often affect seabed biodiversity. Furthermore, fisheries may also change the composition of fish communities, and changes in fish communities can matter to seabed biodiversity. Many ecosystems are affected by cumulative impacts. Although they may not be individually catastrophic, the combined effect of pressures can result in loss or fragmentation of habitats.

Furthermore, it can result in ecosystem changes and shifts in biodiversity, associated with the removal of habitat-specific or functional important species. This preamble emphasises an essential intervention in these three sectors and more specifically on the leading players (i.e. farmers, shepherds and fishermen) who should be enabled to actuate biodiversity preservation strategies and actions in their daily work. The BioIslands project meets the needs of our partnership in different ways. First thing, all partners individualised a common need in their country of operation. Secondly, all partners of the Consortium have experience in the matter of at least of the main key pillars of the project (i.e. adult learners, non formal education, agriculture, pastoralism and fishery, technologies) and participating in the project, through the exchange of knowledge and skills inside the Consortium they will be able to acquire comprehensive experience in the other pillars, improving their professional profile. Lastly, the Results produced in the project will enable them to enrich the pool of tools/methodologies they own that can be employed with the selected target group but also other targets, due to their versatile feature. Farmers, shepherds and fishermen care about their job and know the importance of biodiversity preservation in the rural and maritime areas. The challenge lays in adapting their way of work, handed down from generation to generation with the increasing product demand while at the same time not over-exploit the land and the sea. As their job has a specific working hours period it is difficult for them to enroll in physical training courses. Thus, BioIslands project will develop a high-quality up-skilling e-Learning course that will provide them with the required competences and skills as well as providing them with a useful technological tool that will support them in elaborating biodiversity preservation strategies based on various indicators.

BioIslands project objectives are: O1 foster biodiversity preservation in rural and maritime areas of European islands; O2 provide an adequate and qualitative learning opportunity for farmers, shepherds and fishermen in biodiversity preservation; O3 develop user-friendly digital instruments that can support farmers, shepherds and fishermen in preserve biodiversity in their daily work.

Activities - Implementation of a transnational focus group with researchers and professors to define which competences related to biodiversity preservation can be transmitted with digital learning (total of 20 participants). - Implementation of the piloting of the R1 with the involvement of 5 farmers, 5 shepherds and 5 fishermen per partner. - Implementation of the piloting of the R2 with the involvement of 5 farmers, 5 shepherds and 5 fishermen per partner. - Implementation of one International Biodiversity Day in 2023 in which partner will involve stakeholders, public authorities at the international level to promote project Results and outcomes achieved so far. Based on their availability, adult learners that will be involved in

The testing of R1 and R2 will participate to share their direct experience. - Implementation of one Multiplier Event per each partner with an audience of 20 between stakeholders, public authorities and the general public.