The project ” JOINT INITIATIVES FOR THE CONSERVATION OF ZONAL EUROPEAN RED WOOD ANTS FACING THE DANGER OF EXTINCTION” is funded by the Cross-Border Cooperation Program INTERREG-IPA Bulgaria – Turkey 2014-2020 and implemented by DAYKO Wildlife Conservation Foundation, Republic of Turkey in partnership with «Europe and We» Association, Republic of Bulgaria.
The objectives of the project are:
- To determine the status of the European red wood ants in the cross-border area by detecting the number of nests and their distribution and updating the available information;
- Present an action plan with a conservation program to be used for future projects;
- To train people in both countries and increase their knowledge, awareness and capacity – experts, researchers, civil servants, etc .;
- To organize the activities in the protected areas of both countries, which directly contributes to the protection of European red wood ants and indirectly to the conservation of biodiversity in the cross-border area;
- To develop a promotional film and a website to raise awareness and ensure sustainability, to encourage Turkish and Bulgarian experts to conduct joint research and to share technical information and experience in the near future;
- To initiate joint projects related to biological control and transplantation of nests of European red wood ants, which are predators of Lymandria dispar caterpillars – the most destructive pest in the oak forests of Strandzha in the cross-border region;
- To produce at least 1 scientific publication in a scientific journal and to present at least 1 presentation at an international conference in order to present the results of the project and to draw the attention of other researchers.
The main activities envisaged in the project are:
- Implementation of 4 field studies will be conducted in the cross-border area of the two countries to clarify the state of the population – inventory, ecology of nests, distribution. Reflection of the collected data in the ID card.
- Conducting parallel laboratory studies.
- Organizing cross-border training (2 modules x 3 days x 40 participants) – 1st module in the province of Kirklareli, 2nd module in the district of Burgas.
- Web site development.
- Information and publicity activities: production and distribution of promotional leaflets, promotional kits, brochure, film production, holding 2 final events, preparation and distribution of 10 media publications, production of 2 banners, design and maintenance of a website.
The expected results of the project are:
- New data for updating the red lists ;
- An action plan and conservation program of the species developed;
- The project directly contributes to the conservation of the European red wood ants and indirectly to the conservation of biodiversity in the target region ;
- Morphological measurements will clarify details of the species distributed in the cross-border area and will develop appropriate conservation schemes;
- The project will lead to biological control of Lymandria dispar caterpillars – the most destructive pest in the oak forests of Strandzha mountain;
- Cross-border training modules will increase the awareness, knowledge and capacity of the target groups;
- Field and laboratory studies also build capacity because they enhance the competencies of researchers, experts and local stakeholders involved in conservation activities in the cross-border area;
- The developed know-how and communication tools can be used in future initiatives and projects in other territories, because they will be available online.