about Life IGIC
The Life IGIC project will develop Green Infrastructure (GI) and supporting Sustainable Farming Methods in pilot olive orchards, in Western Messara plain, south Crete, Greece.
The project area, surrounded by Natura 2000 sites, is of great cultural, natural and agricultural value. Land-use change towards intensive farming has been applied the last decades, led to reduction of species and loss of habitats. Overall biodiversity has suffered and ecological conditions of the area has been deteriorated.
The main objective of the project is the development of a GI network which will play a demonstrative role in regional, national and EU level, while conserving biodiversity, enhancing agroecosystem services and providing the basis for reconnecting existing nature areas.
The project aims at the following:
- Development of a network of GI components in Natura-surrounded sites: 30 pilot fields in 10 sites of the project area.
- Improvement and provision of habitats and enhancement the conservation status of 17 flora and 30 fauna targeted species.
- Provision of the basis for upscaling GI development though the development of robust approaches targeting stakeholders and decision-makers by using: a) the demonstration value of the regional and national initiatives of certification and labeling schemes, b) a sustainable tourism development approach and c) public awareness/educational activities.
- Formulation of a concrete proposal to policy makers at EU and national level with regards to specific targets of the Greek National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, promoting GI development in non-protected farming areas.
- Assessment of land use/ecosystems and habitats/conservation status of the project area, expected to generate a well-established paradigm of biodiversity’s status by providing transferable results and in relation with economic/market benefits for stakeholders.
- An assessment of land use/ecosystems/agroecosystems & habitats/conservation status of the project area.
The expected actions and outputs of the Life IGIC are the following:
- Provision of scientific and technical data for the assessment of the agricultural and environmental status of the project area, regarding GI development & complementary farming methods.
- Establishment of pilot network of GI sites, aiming to: a) provide a demonstrative & functional effect on the connectivity’s improvement between nearby protected NATURA sites in terms of biodiversity, especially target species; b) enhance ecosystem services provided by biodiversity, including important ones for agroecosystems.
- Establishment of sustainable farming methods, complementary to GI development, in the project sites. This include the pilot & demonstration application of biodiversity-friendly agricultural management practices.
- A robust proposal for the integration of the GI development in existing regional/national certification schemes, as well as eco-tourism initiatives and their market-related uptake, in collaboration with civil society, industry and tourism stakeholders.
- A robust proposal and a Decision Support Tool for the transfer at further large scale implementation of measures for GI development at national & international level.
- Raise awareness, volunteerism and provide education among rural stakeholders, policy makers & public, on the topic of GI development & complementary sustainable farming methods and their importance, not just for the environment but also for economic & social development.