Conservation of Steppe Birds in Castro Verde


by LPN

LPN is a nationwide Non-Governmental Environmental Organization, founded in 1948, and is the oldest Association for the defense of the environment in the Iberian Peninsula. It is a non-profit association with Public Utility Statute.

LPN’s mission is to contribute to the Conservation of Nature and the defense of the Environment, in a perspective of sustainable development, which ensures the quality of life for present and future generations.

LPN’s main objectives are to defend the environment and contribute to the conservation of the Natural Heritage, the diversity of species and ecosystems, and has the following specific objectives:

  1. Contribute to Nature Conservation through activities that include the investigation and implementation of nature and biodiversity conservation projects;
  2. Support and develop projects for the sustainable management of natural resources with a view to Nature Conservation from a sustainable development perspective;
  1. Promote environmental citizenship by encouraging public participation, through training and environmental education;
  2. Disseminate and raise awareness of issues related to the Environment;
  3. Prevent the depletion and destruction of natural environments, or their elements, and cultural heritage;
  4. Contribute to the dissemination of knowledge produced by the academic and scientific communities;
  5. Actively participate in land use planning and planning;
  6. Collaborate with similar bodies and official entities in the country and abroad.

LPN has extensive experience in nature conservation and biodiversity, namely the Iberian lynx, birds of prey and steppe birds, with more than 30 years of work in the management of Mediterranean landscapes in the Southwest Iberian region. LPN owns 1,812 hectares of land in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Castro Verde, where it promotes the sustainable development of the steppe ecosystem.

Project Description

The project aims to:

i. Improve agro-steppe habitat, contributing to reversing the population decline of five threatened “flag species”: the little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax) , Great Bustard (Otis tarda) , Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis), Montagu´s Harrier (Circus pygargus) and the European Roller (Coracias garrulus);

ii. Develop and demonstrate a set of conservation actions that can be widely replicated by farmers in other steppe areas, thus multiplying the positive impacts of this project.

The specific goals are:

  1. Reduce the impacts of agricultural activities during the breeding season of steppe birds;
  2. Increase the availability of nests for steppe birds that nest in cavities;
  3. Increase ecosystem resilience and adaptation to climate change with nature-based solutions;
  1. Improve and test new methodologies to increase food availability in summer;
  2. Increase habitat connectivity.
  3. The nature conservation actions foreseen in this project will be implemented on farms in the Special Protection Zone (ZPE) for Birds of Castro Verde and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Castro Verde.

Key Ecosystems

Western European Pseudo-Steppes.

Key Species

Great Bustard (Otis tarda), Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax), Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis), Montagu’s Harrier (Circus pygargus) e European Roller (Coracias garrulus) e Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus).

Project Managers
Rita Alcazar e Rui Constantino

Responsible Associates
Helena Freitas

Place of action
Castro Verde

Implementation period
18 months
(September 2021 to february 2023)

€ 99.525

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