Learning from the applied experience of the Dadia project, 1992-2022: Critical assessment, useful lessons and guidelines for the future

The need for the protection of endangered species and habitats in the National Park of Dadia – Lefkimi – Soufli Forest and the wider region of Thrace remains today more relevant than ever. Internationally recognised for its ecological value, the Dadia region brings together all the elements that make it ecologically valuable, but at the same time it is also the recipient of significant climatic, environmental and socio-economic pressures that threaten with degradation the sensitive ecosystems.

In 2022, WWF Greece celebrates 30 years of active presence in the forest of Dadia – Lefkimi – Soufli and in the wider region of Thrace, with the “Dadia program” being the one that started and established the presence of the organisation in Greece. It has designed, implemented and continues to implement numerous conservation projects with emphasis on endangered birds of prey.

2022 is also a turning point in the course of the Dadia program, as its transition to a new independent entity (the Society for the Protection of Biodiversity of Thrace) is completed. With the support from MAVA, via a call for proposals for Learning and Sharing Grants aimed at encouraging collective knowledge and at sharing lessons learnt, a systematic effort was made to collect, process and record this accumulated experience, as well as the lessons learnt from it. The collection of data and information around WWF’s 30 years of activity in the region, not only contributes to the evaluation of the organisation’s work to date locally, but also offers valuable general conclusions on the tools, methodology and all those factors that are appropriate to take into account in order to successfully implement a long-term conservation program, creating a positive impact on the environment, the local and wider community.

The products of the learning process, lessons learnt and suggestions for more effective species and habitat management, are intended to serve as an important tool for disseminating knowledge and experience to all stakeholders on how to highlight good practices and promote more active involvement in environmental protection issues.

► The results of a 2-day conference, including an analysis of the lessons learnt and a series of infographics, are documented in a report here (in Greek).

► Presenting the “journey” and evolution of 30 years’ conservation of vultures, a story map is available here (in Greek).

► Videos are available here and here (in Greek), where key partners and beneficiaries unfold their experience & perspective on lessons learnt and the Dadia program team members share their insights from the 30-year conservation effort and what it holds for the future.

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