As a part of the Twinning promotion campaign, Eurosite has proclaimed 2017 as the Year of Twinning, celebrating the 30 years of the European Natural Sites Twinning Programme. This programme demonstrated the clear demand for knowledge exchange on practical nature management. Two years later, this demand resulted in the establishment of the Eurosite network in 1989.

Eurosite’s efforts to promote twinning as a key tool for the exchange of knowledge in nature management were rewarded by signing three new twinning agreements on 25 September 2017 during the Eurosite Annual Meeting in Espoo, Finland.

  1. Natuurmonumenten (the Netherlands) and Odra Delta Nature Park (Poland) have renewed their twinning which has originally started in 2010. This new phase of the twinning is structured around the development of a Natura 2000 Management Plan for the Odra Delta, attempting to integrate the concept of ecosystem services. The exercise will benefit both twinning partners as this aspect is lacking in most of the existing Natura 2000 management plans across the European Union.
  2. Fenland National Nature Reserve Group, Natural England (United Kingdom) and Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland signed a twinning agreement that will focus on the restoration of peatlands as well as on mire conservation in general. Concentrating on both habitats and species, the main focus will be on Natura 2000 network sites. An additional aspect of this twinning will be the exchange of knowledge on avoiding negative impacts of peatland restoration on water quality. The twinning will comprise both exchange visits, as well as online meetings.
  3. Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland and North Pennines AONB Partnership (United Kingdom) formalised a twinning between two LIFE projects (Hydrology LIFE – restoring the hydrological integrity of wetland habitats in Finland and Pennine PeatLIFE) focusing on peatland restoration. As an important aspects of this cooperation, the twinning partners will also be looking at links between peatland restoration and ecosystem services (e.g. carbon sequestration) and connecting these to the local economies through e.g. payments for ecosystem services.

Information about these twinnings and the lessons learned will be regularly published on the Eurosite website.