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LIFE Preserving of the Habitat 8310 from the Site Natura 2000 Cheile Nerei – Beusnita (LIFEPH8310SN2000CNB)
Start date: Jul 1, 2014, End date: Dec 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background The National Park and other important nature reserves in western Romania, including the Cheile Nerei - Beușnița Natura 2000 network site, have caves that provide the habitat for various protected species, especially bats. Despite being closed to the public, these caves are subject to a number of anthropic pressures as people enter the caves anyway – for example, in search of fossils. By digging the floors of galleries, they degrade or destroy formations, leading to changes in the microclimate and to increased bat mortality. Other threats to protected bat species include pollution from waste disposal (e.g. dead livestock) and water pollution. Objectives The main objective of the LIFEPH8310SN2000CNB project is the preservation of the habitat type ‘Caves not open to the public’ and the protection of the fauna supported by this habitat. More specifically, the project aims to: Rehabilitate 110 caves closed to the public that are currently degraded and polluted; Preserve 14 chiroptera species; Develop best practices for the management of the targeted habitat at regional, national and European level; and Raise awareness among 15 local communities and conservationists groups about the value of caves and the biodiversity they support. Expected results: A favourable conservation status of the habitat type ‘Caves not open to the public’ in the project area (the Cheile Nerei - Beușnița Natura 2000 site). 110 degraded and polluted caves closed to the public reopened and cleaned, with their natural morphology and natural water level re-established; Protection fences installed at cave entrances; Bats returned to at least 22% of the rehabilitated caves, which are now suitable as sheltering, breeding and hibernation sites; Monitored bat recolonisation of caves; Best practices for the mapping and management of ‘Caves closed to the public’ developed and the information collected in good practice guidelines for regional, national and European Union level; and Local communities and conservationists informed about the importance of the caves and bats, and the ecosystem services they provide.
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