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09 July 2007

Euroconsult Mott MacDonald helps restore steppe ecosystem

Euroconsult Mott MacDonald has been appointed by the European Commission (EC) EuropeAid Cooperation Office to help Moldova, Ukraine and the Russian Federation to restore their steppe ecosystems.

Building upon previous initiatives funded by the EC and also partly implemented by Euroconsult, the project team will help to develop region-wide steppe* ecosystem restoration and conservation initiatives. This will include making recommendations for the sustainable management of the rich steppe resources as part of viable rural land-use systems. The 2.5 M Euro programme, which contains a 30 month technical assistance contract with Euroconsult Mott MacDonald, will start with two pilot projects.

The Eurasian steppes* are expansive grassland ecosystems that formerly extended over a broad biogeographic region from Hungary eastwards to Mongolia. More than 90% of this habitat has been converted – mainly for agricultural purposes – and natural and semi-natural grasslands have been lost by ploughing and overgrazing. As a result, plant and wildlife species have declined or disappeared altogether. At the same time, soils have been irreversibly degraded in extensive areas, leading to economic losses, loss of livelihood and outward migration of people.

As part of the project, two pilot projects will be implemented, one for eastern Ukraine and south-western central Russia and one for Moldova and the south-west Ukraine. The programme objectives for the pilot in eastern Ukraine and south-western central Russia include:

  • the introduction of sustainable grassland pasture management
  • sustainable agriculture and land-use planning
  • re-allocation of abandoned arable lands
  • integration of biodiversity concerns into agricultural practices by enhanced on-farm management of habitats, soils and nutrients
  • application of land-use planning in farm land cadastre and titling process.
For Moldova and south-west Ukraine the objectives include:

  • enhancing soil conservation through best-suited land-use
  • grassland pasture habitat restoration at the community level within privatised land holdings.
This project will build-upon two related projects also funded by the EC and implemented by Euroconsult Mott MacDonald in Ukraine and Moldova - the Lower Dniester River Basin Management Plan project and the Lower Danube Lakes sustainable restoration and protection of habitats and ecosystems project.

Wim Verheugt, Euroconsult Mott MacDonald’s project director said, “This new assignment continues the extensive work previously performed in the region, and demonstrates how the private sector can be involved in providing services to support sustainable development for transition and developing economies.”


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