Local Authorities

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Limburg Province

Story featured in the Made in Countdown 2010 publication


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Action

The Province of Limburg and three Regionale Landschappen (Regional Landscapes) – the NGOs whose mission is to improve the quality of the landscapes, including the nature in the region of Limburg – launched a project in 2008, encouraging every municipality in the Province to adopt an animal or a plant. The Province and the NGOs prepared an action plan for each of the adopted species explaining what should be done to protect them and what measures were needed.

In February 2008, every municipality received a protection plan for its species and was invited to sign the Countdown 2010 Declaration to become a Countdown 2010 partner. All 44 municipalities in the Province of Limburg joined the conservation project, so 44 species were protected.

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Before

Biodiversity was declining in Limburg at high rates. The Province realised that biodiversity conservation was a challenge that should be tackled by involving as many stakeholders as possible, not only the “green sector”. However, most people did not realise the impact of their behaviour on biodiversity, or the measures that need to be taken to preserve it. Local governments were unaware of how to take action to protect biodiversity in their territories.

Now

In May 2010, the Province of Limburg evaluated the project to determine if municipalities had increased their actions (field, communication and monitoring), if an increase could be attributed to the project and if the increased activity had an impact on the present status of the 44 adopted species. The field performance was excellent in 11 municipalities, good in 18 and only 6 municipalities undertook minimal measures for the conservation of their species. One municipality fully exploited all the communication possibilities, while others used more traditional forms of communication. 18 municipalities monitored their species and another 18 had a baseline count compared to 13 and 11 respectively before the start of the project. In only two years, the number of field actions increased almost threefold, the number of communication actions increased more than 20 times, and the quality of species monitoring also improved. The results of the monitoring revealed that the numbers of adopted species increased by 2009 in 5 municipalities and remained constant in 13. The 5 municipalities where numbers increased already protected the adopted animal before the start of the project.

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A beautiful demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo), one of the adopted species being cherished in the Province of Limburg © Freddy Janssens