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Project title: Biodiversity conservation in restoration and management of the Amiantos Asbestos mine in Troodos National Forest Park.

Programme Area: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

Name of Project Promoter (PP):Department of Forests (DF) - Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environment.

Short description of the Project:

(i)  Objective:Halt loss of biodiversity

The overall objective of the project is to contribute to halting loss of biodiversity through improvement of restoration and management practices in the Amiantos asbestos mine, taking into account that the area is part of a National Forest Park, of a Natura 2000 site and a major part of the most valuable mountain landscape of Cyprus. The ultimate aim is to improve restoration practices, in terms of efficiency and conformity to European Directives and to broaden their scope to sufficiently address biodiversity conservation and landscape improvement considerations.

(ii)    Main activities:

(a)  Preparatory actions and acquisition of equipment: The project will commence with the appointment of the project management team, the preparation of tender documents for the activities to be implemented first and the acquisition of necessary equipment items;

(b) Evaluation and improvement of current mine restoration techniques & capacity building: Two experts, one in hydro-seeding and a second in mine restoration, will evaluate current restoration techniques, train personnel and submit technical reports. A senior official from the Department of Labour Inspection will deliver lectures to the staff on basic personal safety measures. An expert on the control of woody invasive species will prepare a guide on the removal of invasive species. A biodiversity workshop will be organized in the 2nd year during which experts from different fields, including two Norwegian experts will present practical ways for integrating wildlife conservation actions in mine restoration. A team of three (3) foresters will have a 5-day study visit to Norway to see restoration works of degraded sites and other project-related activities. Finally, all recommendations and conclusions that will accrue from the above actions will be incorporated into a Mine Restoration Manual to be compiled by the main restoration expert;

(c)  Landscaping of the mine core: The creation of an artificial pond with a capacity of 30-40.000 m3 is foreseen, to meet irrigation, aesthetic and wildlife needs. On the pond edges, planting of hygrophilous vegetation will be carried out while on the perimeter a circular walkway will be constructed with basic visitor facilities; finally a section of the nearby raw – surface road will be paved;

(d) Wildlife conservation: In addition to measures provided in other activities, some direct measures to favour wildlife are envisaged, such as installation of artificial bird nests, provision of water and feeding points (planting of fruit trees and sowing of herbaceous plants), improvement of bat refuges and construction of stonewalls;

(e)  Mine restoration: The restoration of an area of 14ha around the mine core is planned, using the new methods that will be adopted after discussions with, and detailed review of used methods by, the experts mentioned in (b) above. Restoration includes stabilization/reshaping of wastes, transport and covering with natural topsoil, ground preparation, planting and sowing, hydroseeding or thatching and tending. Propagation material will be confined to indigenous species and restoration will aim to restore habitat types (92/43/EEC – Annex I) present in Troodos;

(f)  Publicity: Organization of three information events, preparation of a 15-minute documentary about the mine (past and present), operation of a dedicated project website, erection of two billboards and a commemorative plaque, publication of articles about the project and production and distribution of information material (4 posters and 2 leaflets);

(g) Project Operation and Management: Recruitment of two employees on a contract basis, university graduates - forester & biologist- to help in project operation and implementation, the operation of a Steering Committee and the appointment of a Project Manager and other supporting staff (secretary, accountant etc.).

 (iii)    Budget: €1.350.000 (€1.138.167 EEA Grants - €211.833 national contribution).

 (iv)     Partners: No partners.  

 (v) Duration of the Project and Timeframe for its implementation: 36 months, from 1.01.2013 to 31.12.2015.