From the received expressions of interest, the BGE evaluation committee has selected six biodiversity hotspots in Europe. This strategic decision shows BGE commitment to biodiversity conservation in areas of exceptional ecological significance. With these projects, BGE is demonstrating its commitment to fostering biodiversity preservation across the European Widening regions (there is no hierarchy in the order of the projects):
Georgia. Multiple habitats, covering areas of high endemicity with species-rich and under-sampled/under-explored ecosystems: the Borjomi-Kharagauli glacial area, the upstream areas of Rioni River / Racha, the Tekhuri river valley area (Lebarde), and the Javakheti Range. Presented by Dr. David Tarkhnishvili (Ilia State University).
Cyprus. Covering Natura 2000 sites (https://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/natura2000/index_en.htm) with high levels of endemism, that extend along the central mountain range of the island and host the five endemic priority habitat types: a) Troodos National Forest Park; b) Paphos forest; c) Machairas National Forest Park; and d) Madari-Papoutsa. And sampling for terrestrial, freshwater and marine arthropod taxa at the following protected coastal areas: e) the Akamas Peninsula National Park in the NW; f) the Cape Greco National Forest Park in the SE; g) the Akrotiri peninsula in the South. Presented by Dr. Anna Papadoupoulos (University of Cyprus).
Bulgaria. Covering two terrestrial ecosystems largely understudied but of major biodiversity importance for Bulgaria and the Balkan region: Strandzha Nature Park, and a network of key cave ecosystems across the country. Presented by Dr. Stefaniya Kamenova (National Museum of Natural History at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences).
Croatia. Focused on the Dinarides, a karstic mountain chain in the western Balkans recognised as a global hotspot for cave biodiversity. Presented by Dr. Martina Pavlek (Ruđer Bošković Institut, Zagreb).
Portugal. Focused on true flies of Madeira’s laurisilva, a UNESCO world heritage site and the world’s largest surviving remnant of laurel forest. Presented by Dr. Dora Aguín-Pombo (University of Madeira).
Hungary. Covering four biotopes of two areas within Hungary: Western Transdanubia (Dél-Zala Sandland: alluvial and Molinia meadows, closed pannonic sand steppe, and Keszthely Hills: rupiculous pannonic grassland, pannonic oakwoods) and Kiskunság, lowland between Danube and Tisza River (Pirtó Sandland: open pannonic sand steppe and inland dunes - Kelemen-szék: salt meadow and salt steppe. Presented by Dr. Tibor Kovacs (Hungarian Biodiversity Research Society).
A call for tenders for projects focused in these areas will be launched soon through the ERGA website.