The project “Polish Important Bird Areas” is aimed at implementation and improvement of the active protection of water-marsh birds in areas of great natural interest in five national parks: Biebrza National Park, Drawa NP, Narew NP, Warta Mouth NP, and Slovinski NP, by simultaneous improvement of habitat conditions and curbing the pressure of invasive alien predatory species, particularly the American mink and the common raccoon. The project is supposed to bring to an increase in the breeding success of water-marsh birds what will result in the growing numbers of these birds, and as a consequence biodiversity in protected areas will be preserved. Project is financed by European Commission and National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in frame of program Life+.
Project is coordinated by Mammal Research Institute PAS in Białowieża, the managing team in MRI PAS consist of:
Project Coordinator - dr hab. Andrzej Zalewski
Project Administrative Coordinator - Władysław Jankow
Project Technical Coordinator - Agnieszka Niemczynowicz
Actions within this project are aimed at achieving the following purposes:
1. An improvement of habitat conditions and an increase in the area of habitats essential to retain populations of water-marsh birds, with special consideration given to species with numbers declining in the last years. It will allow to preserve biodiversity in these areas.
2. Introducing and implementing the system of curbing the negative influence of invasive alien predatory species, particularly the American mink and the common raccoon, by:
a) reducing the number of these predators and next limiting the colonization of the area by the predators,
b) working out the least expensive method of limiting the predators’ numbers that will allow carrying on censuses at relatively low costs after the project is finished,
c) active protection of breeding colonies of birds and their nests by limiting the access of invasive predators what will directly result in an increased breeding success of birds.
3. Monitoring of the actions’ effectiveness to determine the most effective methods of the protection of endangered bird species.
4. An assessment of the influence of American mink farms situated in the vicinity of national parks, aimed at working out the principles of outlining buffer zones in which such farms should not be located.
5. An important purpose of the project is to draw attention of the society, administrators of lands bordering on national parks, business groups, and the local community to the problem of the protection of water-marsh birds and the negative influence of invasive alien predators on the native fauna, and to make them aware of the need to limit the predators’ numbers. Working out the shared strategy to reduce the numbers of these predators by transmitting experience gained, among others, during implementation of the project both among workers of the parks and other people and organizations.