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Lake Mälaren Inner Archipelago - Restoration and Management (MIA)
Start date: Jan 1, 2009, End date: Dec 31, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background The archipelago of Mälaren is one of Sweden's most valuable regions for broadleaved woodlands, with oaks and the other old trees growing in a semi-open habitat. The region has a climate that is two-to-three vegetation zones more favourable than the surrounding area. This, together with less intensive forestry and agriculture, has resulted in an area dominated by deciduous trees, in particular lime (Tilia cordata), oak (Quercus robur), ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and other broadleaved trees. Many of the species that are relics from the warmer period following the last ice age, have their main Swedish, Nordic and northernmost European distribution in the project area. The changes in management during the 20th century have caused a severe decline in habitat quality and are an overall threat to the flora and fauna in the region. This is especially the case on islands, where management is more difficult due to infrastructural and economic complications. The restoration of habitat quality in woodlands and semi-natural habitats in the region is therefore of very high importance for biodiversity at a regional, national and international level. There is also a great need to provide more information for the high number of visitors to the area. The project aims to minimise threats to species and habitats within the project areas and also for the region as a whole, by treating species and habitats with a joint focus within the project. Objectives The main aim of the project is to create the right conditions for the long-term conservation of the habitat types and associated species in 42 Natura 2000 sites. Long-term management is planned to ensure an adequate supply of substrate in a landscape perspective; a strategy will be produced for the project, including guidelines for the management and monitoring of habitats and species in the Natura 2000 sites targeted by the project. The strategy aims to follow the management strategy for protected woodland that the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) is planning. After the end of the project it will be re-assessed regularly and adjusted to keep it coherent with the national strategy. Expected results: Appropriate conservation actions in 42 Natura 2000 sites; Long-term management strategy for habitats and species targeted by the project; Improved conditions for the Ortolan bunting (Emberiza hortulana); and for wetland organisms, e.g. Botaurus stellaris; Improved conservation status by land purchased in accordance with the Swedish Public Procurement Act (LOU); Positive effects on 29 sites covering a total of 1 334 ha (from cutting and ring barking in woodlands); Positive effects on 27 sites covering a total of 623 ha (from clearing scrub on meadows and pasture habitats); Positive effects on 13 sites covering a total of 156 ha of wetlands. At least 30 ha will be managed by mowing; Positive effect of the survival of 20 avenue trees and of the survival and regeneration of pollards in 154 ha over seven sites; Planting of 185 oak saplings in two avenues and on six sites covering a total of 93 ha that will impact on the oak population and on the beetle Osmoderma eremite; Expected positive effect on the aquatic plant Alisma wahlenbergii population carried out on three Natura 2000 sites; Improved conditions for management in 22 sites by the construction of a road, two animal crossings, seven ferry docking points, four corrals, six end sections of fences, 78 stiles, 48 gates/ gateways, 66 km of fences and removal of 19km of old fences; Increased accessibility for visitors in 19 sites by the construction of 2.7km of hiking trails, of which 600 m will be suitable for wheelchairs, 640 m boardwalk, 24 picnic areas/benches, five dustbin/refuse stations, three toilets, one hut/shelter, two bird towers, one platform and one hide; Increased interest in nature by the production of five brochures, 27 original signs and 60-270 copies, 80-160 sign racks, texts for notice boards, website, a layman's report, two sets of roll-up displays; Increased knowledge of habitats and species by the creation of at least six demonstration sites in at least three Natura 2000 sites; Increased interest in nature conservation by conducting 30 excursions, 10 meetings, an initial seminar and five launches; Improved understanding and exchange of information through expert/final seminars, study tours and stakeholder meetings.
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