What is LIFE?
That’s a big question. But here at the Core Forest Sites project, we’re in the unusual position of being able to describe part of the meaning LIFE.
That’s because LIFE, in the form of a spearhead of European Community environmental policy, has been our international partner and a major funder of Core Forest work. Launched in 1992, the initials of this EC initiative derive from a French phrase: ‘L’instrument Financiel pour l’environment.’ That’s: ‘The Financial Instrument for the Environment’ to non-Francophones.
And since LIFE has a much better ring to it than TFIFE, that’s what has been rolled-out in three phases and for three categories of project work. LIFE provides money to co-finance projects. These are mainly in the European Union but also include other ‘third country’ projects in countries bordering the Mediterranean, and Baltic Sea and in Central and Eastern Europe.
Project categories are: Nature, Environment and Third Country. More than 2,000 LIFE projects have been supported since 1992. The Core Forest Sites project has been co-funded through LIFE-Nature.
The Nature of LIFE
The LIFE Nature wing of the work aims to assist in implementing EC nature conservation laws. Specifically, it is geared to work that can further the objectives of the ‘Birds Directive’ and the ‘Habitats Directive’, in particular through the ‘Natura 2000’ network of internationally important sites.
To be in the running for the LIFE-Nature funding, projects must focus on Special Protection Areas (for birds), Special Areas of Conservation (for wider wildlife) or Sites of Community Importance (as potential SPAs and SACs are known) and include species listed in the Birds or Habitats Directives.
Hundreds of millions of Euros were allocated through LIFE-Nature in 2000 – 2004, providing up to half the costs (or more in some cases) of a dazzling blend of projects.
This included such work as:
- Restoring wetlands in Denmark, Germany and Sweden
- Preserving coastal meadows in Estonia
- Protecting many different habitats in Italy, Spain, Latvia, Estonia, Denmark Germany and Sweden
- Protecting rare species in Greece, Spain, Hungary, Romania and the UK
- Making ecological land management contracts with families in France
- And ……. Developing the Core Forest Sites Network in Scotland
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