Nature Conservation in the 21st Century
We are passionate about the diversity of nature and ensure its preservation for future generations.
As a research and consulting company for “Nature Conservation in the 21st Century”, we accompany and support our international and national partners in preserving and improving natural habitats, enabling extraordinary experiences of nature and further developing the living and economic conditions in the respective regions.
With our specialised ecological planning, vegetation surveys, innovative communication concepts and sustainable development cooperation, we are actively committed to fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals of the European Union.
The cooperation project aims to implement some of the measures proposed in the Area Management Plan (Glatz-Jorde et al., 2015) in the Klagenfurt Natura 2000 site. These measures serve to conserve and improve the habitats of numerous rare species listed in the Habitats Directive, such as the Balkan moor frog, the Desmoulin's whorl snail, the dice snake, the European bitterling as well as breeding birds and reed-dwelling species. A total of seven measures are to be implemented by 2022. E.C.O. Institute of Ecology is responsible for the overall concept, part of the implementation and the monitoring of the measures to improve the ecology of 6 ha of land in a sustainable way. By erecting spacers and reed fences on 200 m of shoreline, the reed belt is to be protected in the long term from being entered and disturbed as well as from wave action, so that the breeding birds can continue to find an appropriate habitat. Accompanying measures to raise awareness are implemented with the help of area rangers. A good conservation status is to be restored on three hectares of moor grass meadows. For this purpose, bushes will be removed from peripheral areas and parts of the meadows will be mowed again. For the protected species Balkan moor frog and scarlet dragonfly and various protected migratory bird species (e.g. various duck species, great white heron), two additional fish-free and sunny amphibian spawning waters will be created in the Lendspitz area. These will then also provide an accessible learning space for excursions for the Educational Lab of the adjacent Lakeside Park, where scientific knowledge transfer is offered in numerous formats. Furthermore, a pilot experiment for the reintroduction and reproduction of the European bitterling with symbiotic bivalves in a small water body will be carried out. A corresponding control of success and monitoring will be carried out. The 2013 World Rowing Champion, Michaela Taupe-Traer, could be won as ambassador for this high-profile project.
GEO-Day of Nature. Biodiversity field research event in the UNESCO Carinthian Nockberge Biosphere Reserve.Since 2016, E.C.O. has been supporting the Carinthian Nockberge Biosphere Reserve in the organisation and implementation of the annual GEO-Day of Nature. Every year, biology experts are invited to this field research event, who document all animal and plant species they can track down within a 24-hour time window. The date is set between May and August, depending on the altitude of the delimited investigation area in the Carinthian part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. During the GEO-Days of the last years (2016: St. Oswald, 2017: Zechneralm, 2018: Grubenbaueralm and Ebene Reichenau, 2019: Döbriach and Laufenberg, 2020: Grubenalm and Kirchheimer Wolitzenalm) about 45 experts were present and usually about 1000 species were documented, among them numerous characteristic and characterising species of the Nockberge as well as some first records. As very year, also in 2020 the respective results will be published as a special volume in the Carinthia magazine.
Paradigm shift in World Heritage Sites management? Mid-term evaluation of the World Heritage Leadership ProgrammeIn collaboration with Susanne Pecher Consutling E.C.O. has been commissioned to carry out the mid-term review of the World Heritage Leadership Programme, initiated by IUCN and ICCROM. This includes a thorough document analysis, several workshops and key informant interviews with all institutions and experts involved in the Programme. The results of the evaluation serve the main donor of the Programme, the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment, and the Programme Management as recommendations for the improvement of the Programme for the remaining period and to stimulate the discussion of a potential follow-up phase.. In 2016, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), launched the World Heritage Leadership Programme (2016-2022) as an ambitious Capacity Building Programme for UNESCO World Heritage Sites. . In close cooperation with all Advisory Bodies of UNESCO and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the Programme seeks to introduce a paradigm shift in the management of World Heritage Sites. It focuses on the promotion of a holistic management equally considering natural and cultural values as well as an increased involvement of communities. The Programme includes a wide range of activities such as trainings around the globe, the updating and development of guidance documents and manuals as well as the strengthening of a global network.
Support of the research cooperation ScienceLink_NockbergeScienceLink_Nockberge is a cooperation between the Institute of Instructional and School Development of the University of Klagenfurt and the Nockberge Biosphere Reserve. The collaboration is based on the research, education, conservation and development mission of the Biosphere Reserve and aims to encourage students to conduct their research in the region. E.C.O. takes over the professional and technical supervision from outside. The core tasks are to support students with professional questions in the context of their bachelor and master theses and to adapt the questionnaire for research questions. In May, a research workshop will take place for the third time to find a topic for the student’s final thesis.
CLEANSTONE – Recycling and upgrading of stone processing waste for environmental sustainabilityThe aim of CLEANSTONE is to improve environmental protection and resource efficiency in the stone industry. E.C.O. is significantly involved in the development of guidelines for the definition of criteria for the assessment of environmental impacts as well as for the quality assurance of innovative processes, which enable an optimized recovery of usable secondary raw materials from slurries and quarry plates of various stone types were delivered.With the L.B.I. (Long-Term Biodiversity Index) E.C.O. tests and promotes sustainable development within several quarries in Italy and Austria.
Development of integrated land-use plans for sustainable agriculture and regional development in GeorgiaLand resources are the foundation for food security, sustainable livelihoods and economic growth in Georgia. Achieving the global vision of zero net loss of healthy and productive land requires actions measures on the ground. Georgia is one of 100 countries com¬mitted to define national LDN targets and an implementation strategy. The project “Generating Economic and Environmental Benefits from Sustainable Land Management for Vulnerable Rural Communities of Georgia” financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) aims to develop new sustainable land management (SLM) systems at both the commune and farmer plot level that integrate climate-smart agricultural production, food security and resilience and thereby contribute to Georgia’s objectives for Land Degradation Neutrality. E.C.O. is commissioned to prepare four integrated land-use plans for sustainable agriculture and rural development and to support the elaboration of at least 16 pilot project proposals on land restoration and SLM practices to meet sustainable and green agriculture in the municipalities of Gori, Kareli, Kvareli and Sagarejo (each 1000-2500km2).
Development of the UNESCO Nomination Form of the planned 5-country Biosphere Reserve Mura-Drava-DanubeBased on the preliminary work of the Interreg project coop MDD (May 2019; client: WWF Austria) the UNESCO documents for the submission of the planned transboundary biosphere reserve were to be completed. E.C.O. coordinated and accompanied representatives from all participating countries (AT-HR-HU-RS-SI) and prepared relevant data and information to finalise the Nomination Form for the submission to UNESCO. A map (shape file) of the biosphere reserve was also prepared to show the exact zoning; one of the essential elements of the submission.