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Conservation and management of the Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) at three Greek SPA sites

Conservation and management of the Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) at three Greek SPA sites

The LIFE Nature program "Conservation and management of the Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) at three Greek SPA sites" (Falco naumanni) in 3 Special Protection Areas (SPAs) of Greece was selected as one of the three Best of Europe's Best LIFE Nature projects.
The program was implemented from June 2012 to October 2016 with the coordinator of the Laboratory of Ecosystems Management and Biodiversity of the University of Thessaly (Project Manager: Professor Athanassios Sponggaris) and collaborators of the Hellenic Ornithological Society Conservation Consultants Ltd. (NCC), the Riga Feraiou Municipality and the Carls-Mavrovouni-Kefalovrysos Velestinos Management Agency. It included two axes: 1. The conservation of the kestrel population in Thessaly, 2. The management of the locust habitats, which essentially concern the rural ecosystems and the meadows of Eastern Thessaly.
Because the kestrel is a globally threatened migratory species, the three Special Protection Areas (SPAs) of Thessaly host more than 75% of Greece’s population and 6% of the European Union’s population. At the same time, due to the fact that the species nest in buildings within villages and feed on crops and meadows, any management measures for landfill sites were basically a management intervention in the countryside and grassland ecosystems of the area. Moreover, because the main food of the kestrel are locusts and other crop invertebrates, the influence of the applied agricultural practices on its survival is pivotal. Finally, farmers and stock-breeders can, on the one hand affect the kestrel population, and, on the other hand, can benefit from the kestrel management measures.