BioMon – Establishing biodiversity monitoring in Ulcinj Salina
Ulcinj Salina is a wetland ecosystem in southern Montenegro. It is the most important wintering, nesting, and feeding site for birds on the eastern Adriatic, in which at least 250 bird species can be observed, 20 of them globally threatened. The IKI Small Grants project aims to establish a biodiversity monitoring system. To do so, it develops standards for systematic biodiversity monitoring, raises students’ knowledge to support monitoring activities and increases the monitoring capacities of managers in the protected wetland area.
Ulcinj Salina is a wetland ecosystem of approximately 1,500 hectares, located in southern Montenegro. In 2019, Ulcinj Salina was declared nature park and Ramsar site. The municipality of Ulcinj set up a multidisciplinary working group, together with the Centre for the Protection and Research of Birds (CZIP) and other important stakeholders, that prepared a draft management plan. However, there is currently no proper management structure and thus a lack of capacity for its implementation. The IKI Small Grants project addresses the lack of incomplete or missing monitoring standards/instruments of biodiversity and the inadequate experience of staff who often do not have the necessary technical, operational and managerial capacity in biodiversity monitoring.
The IKI Small Grants project targets at least 20 students from the natural sciences and biology faculty in field monitoring. This is made possible due to the close cooperation between CZIP and professors from the department of biology of the University of Montenegro. Furthermore, four institutions benefit from an established monitoring system and a minimum of five NGOs improve their skills in biodiversity monitoring and conservation.
APPROACH AND ACTIVITIES
The main outcome of the project is an established biodiversity monitoring system that secures proper management of the deteriorating fragile ecosystem of Ulcinj Salina as a newly established protected area. Specifically, CZIP aims to establish standards for systematic biodiversity monitoring, to raise students’ knowledge to support the monitoring and to increase the monitoring capacities of protected area managers.
The IKI Small Grants project develops a monitoring system in consultation with key biodiversity groups experts. It holds consultations with relevant stakeholders to identify problems, needs and capacities of the administrative unit responsible for the Ulcinj Salina Nature Park. CZIP also engages team leaders in cooperation with relevant institutions for each of the biodiversity groups. The project conducts field monitoring that strengthens the capacity of the protected area managers and provides data that informs work programmes. Based on the consultations and needs assessments that precede the monitoring activities, the management unit staff are trained in monitoring protocols, equipment use, data collection and data sharing. In addition, teams of experts, students, staff from the Management Unit and Municipality of Ulcinj conduct monitoring, record the data and share the data in the most appropriate systems. The monitoring program provides important recommendations for proper management on site and shows if there is a loss of biodiversity or any changes that depend on adequate water management. To create additional awareness for biodiversity protection, the IKI Small Grants project organises several public events on international days for nature protection. Moreover, CZIP organises an international conference to present its project results and to discuss them together with relevant institutions. The importance of preserving the Ulcinj Saltworks and the richness of its biodiversity is thus disseminated to the wider public.
LATEST PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS AND IMPACTS
- Celebration event of 30 years of EuroBirdwatch, where 46 high school students attended a field trip to Ulcinj salina
- Celebration event of International Wetlands Day introducing citizens to the rich biodiversity of Ulcinj salina
IKI Small Grants supports CZIP in their organisational capacity development in:
- Monitoring and evaluation of employees’ performance
- Creating an internal handbook on human resources management
- Develop an internal document on volunteer management
ABOUT THE ORGANISATION
The Centre for the Protection and Research of Birds (CZIP) was founded in December 2000 by ornithologists from the Nature Protection Institute, Natural History Museum, and National Parks, with the support of students from the department of biology of the University of Montenegro. Its mission is to protect birds and other plant and animal species and their habitats. The work of CZIP includes biodiversity monitoring of Montenegro, citizen education, popularisation of scientific research, as well as cooperation with other organisations in the country and abroad.