The LIFE Danube Free Sky project is a transnational project with the aim to save thousands of birds from electrocution and collisions with power lines. To achieve this, the project involves and collaborates with numerous stakeholders including, for instance, electric companies and nature conservation actors along the Danube. In order to understand the project’s overall socio-economic dimensions and impact on ecosystem services by 2025 (when the project ends) we prepared a baseline study of the status quo. Stakeholder surveys, desktop research and their analyses were applied to establish a wide range of indicators and their baseline values about e.g., expected benefits for stakeholders, number of fire incidents triggered by birds, general audience’s knowledge of bird species affected, number of birdwatchers visiting relevant sites, rate of biomass and carbon sequestration.
Based on our baseline assessment, we found a number of interesting insight. The project is foreseen to contribute to enhanced skills, increased media coverage, cooperation of various sectors and elevated general knowledge and policy support. It was also revealed that people strongly support these types of biodiversity projects and they think that birds are very frequently damaged by unsafe power lines, where storks and birds of prey are considered as the most affected species. As regards current status of ecosystem services, we found that biomass as the main provisioning service is expected to increase with the planned grassland restoration with carbon sequestration and water retention capacity. To assess the further development of both the socio-economic and ecosystem services indicators, a final assessment in 2025 will take place.
Find more information on this fascinating project here: https://danubefreesky.eu/en/