CEI - DANUBEPARKS Newt Conservation Partnership (2023-2024)


Project title: CEI Cooperation Activity: DANUBEPARKS Newt Conservation Partnership & Climate Change

Project budget: € 12.495,45

Co-financing sources: CEI - Central European Initiative

Project duration: April 2023 – February 2024


Wetlands are the most effective carbon sinks on our planet and when disturbed or warmed, release greenhouse gasses that contribute the most to global warming. Restoration of wetlands, small stagnant ponds, side-arms, and riparian areas can significantly contribute to improving the micro-climate and water retention potential of a given area, improving climate resilience, and mitigating the impact of climate change. At the same time, wetlands host a variety of rare and protected species, which can be used to detect the change and health of wetland ecosystems. We have therefore selected the Danube River Basin as the world's most international river basin and newts as excellent indicator species to inspire cross-sector cooperation for wetlands restoration and climate resilience.

Despite all current actions and the existing "Action Plan for the Conservation of the Crested Newt Triturus cristatus Species Complex in Europe" (2006), the species are in unfavorable conservation status in several countries. There is also a European Herpetological Association - Societas Europaea Herpetologica (SEH), which unites some experts and organizations, who have the expertise to work in the field. Even so, there are no targeted, coordinated efforts, devoted to the conservation of the amphibian species on a Danube-wide scale.

This is what inspired the idea of setting up a Danube-wide Newt expert working group and connecting protected area managers with leading experts to plan and implement the most efficient and feasible actions for wetland conservation and climate change resilience, using amphibians as the best indicator species.

Organizing an on-site meeting for all interested parties was selected as the most efficient and Moldova was chosen as a hosting country in order to strengthen the existing partnerships and visit a prospective DANUBEPARKS member (Lower Prut Biosphere Reserve).

Using this existing network of the SEH, the current project team set up a list and contacted and invited the leading of scientists and researchers, who have worked for newt conservation in their own countries or regions. At the same time, the team secured the participation of the members of the DANUBEPARKS Association – a total of 22 protected areas, cities, forestry agencies, etc. from a total of 8 European countries along the Danube.

The preparation and implementation of this Cooperation Activity was carried out jointly by the Public Institution Nature Park Kopački rit, Agency Moldsilva, and DANUBEPARKS – Danube River Network of Protected Areas. Through facilitation of the cross-sector and cross-country cooperation, this Cooperation Activity supported the transfer of knowledge, best practices, and experiences across the Danube Basin, optimizing for local circumstances and environment.