We’ve reached the end of 2021, and the LIFEstockProtect project has achieved a lot this year. Through press media, word of the project has reached over 80 million people in the project region and beyond. LIFEstockProtect has also participated in several documentaries and features for the likes of ZDF and Ö1, among others. Although the Covid-19 pandemic created unprecedented circumstances in the project implementation, the consortium adapted fast and innovatively, which actually created new opportunities: online meetings, conferences and hybrid events are supporting higher outreach, possibilities to exchange knowledge with other projects and stakeholders as well as a closer working relationship between project beneficiaries. In this final post of the year we want to share with you the main achievements of the year.
Competence Centre Network
At the beginning of 2021 we were looking for interested farms to form part of the Alpine LIFEstockProtect Competence Center Network. At the end of 2021, after several online meetings and on-site visits, 17 farms in Bavaria, 9 in Austria and 2 in Italy are part of the network! The competence centres will function as field sites for the livestock protection courses and to build important connections between stakeholders across the project region. Soon we will share with you their locations!
The Fachschule Salern in South Tyrol developed a shepherd training with official recognition that will start in February 2022. In light of this, LIFEstockProtect will lead various modules on fence construction and livestock guarding dogs for participants. The first round of applications is closed, as places filled up fast! However, due to the great uptake more editions in the following semesters are likely. We will keep you informed.
Two large conferences took place this year: one about livestock protection in the project region, and another on shepherdesses in the Alps. These were a tremendous success, with over 800 participants. You can watch the recordings in our YouTube channel!
Scatdog trainings and certification
Naturschutzhunde conducted trainings for more than 20 teams in Austria, Bavaria and South Tyrol, to teach dogs how to detect the presence of wolves from scat. LIFEstockProtect is pleased to announce that the first official certification was recently presented to Pepper the retriever, after a year of training with the Naturschutzhunde team and her owner Carolin Scheiter. More certifications will following in 2022!
Stakeholder analysis and funding
LIFEstockProtect conducted an extensive stakeholder analysis as well as introductory meetings at a local and EU level to improve the dialogue about and the funding schemes of protection measures. In line with this, partners have developed and disseminated a livestock protection funding paper that details the use of rural development programmes for protection measures. The paper can be found here.
Outlook for 2022
Of course we will not slow down in 2022 but rather pick up speed because the actual field work will start! The first livestock protection trainings should take place at competence centres in Spring. During this time, LIFEstockProtect will also initiate a Volunteer Network for short- and long-term support of farmers and shepherds.
A mobile exhibition for the whole project region, as well as the initiation youth workshops, are planned for Autumn. Their aim is to bring the topic of livestock protection closer to the public. Professionally guided stakeholder workshops will also start in 2022 in the project region. These will encompass different topics, including livestock protection funding and tourism impact, among others.
Additionally, a study about guided grazing will be initiated to investigate its environmental effects. The researcher will monitor 9 sites for four years to assess the impact of grazing on vegetation and biodiversity.
A short summary of the year 2021 can also be found in our Annual Report below.
All in all, the LIFEstockProtect Team is looking forward to another successful year in 2022. Thank you for your support, wishing all readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!