Restoration of mountain meadows in Vernár and usage of their biomass

Type: Biodiversity conservation

Participating countries: Slovakia

Duration: September 2012 – February 2014

Total budget: 98,025 USD (of which 48 % from an UNDP/GEF grant)

Aim: To stop the loss of unique plant diversity and to establish long-term management of mountain meadows in the National Park Slovensky Raj


The leading idea of the project was to restore at least 100 ha of mountain meadows with uqiquely rich biodiversity in National Park Slovenský raj and to introduce active long-term management of them. The project strived to create a functiong model where the motivation for  clearing the overgrown meadows by spontanious trees and bushes is driven by an opportunity to use the biomass as an alternative fuel (shredded wood chips) for local municipality and community. The process (clearing and sale of wood) generates revenue to be reinvested to further clear other meadows (up to 600 ha) after the end of the project and at the same time reducing the impact of burning fossil fuels (mostly coal) in the village instead. The project also aimed to become a inspiraration for other villages, land owners and protected aeras how nature conservation can be coupled with other environmental and socio-economic benefits.

Main results:

1) 100 ha of meadows were restored and put in long-term suitable agricultural use;
2) 420 cubic metres of wood and chips obtained from clearing the meadows used and sold as an alternative fuel for local municipality and village community;
3) 4.32 t of CO2 emissions are eliminated yearly thanks to installation of a biomass boiler in the municipal office building and reduction of burning coal in the village households;
4) Social enterprise business plan has been developed, 4 new working places created;
5) Long-term partnerships between municipality, land users, NGO Machaon International and Slovak Paradise National Park Administration have been formed.

Role of Machaon: Project development and management
Partners: Obec Vernar, National Park Slovensky Raj Administration, PD Hranovnica
Location: Surroundings of Vernar village, Poprad district, Slovakia
Protected areas involved: National Park Slovensky Raj (Slovak Paradise)
Funding source: Small Grants Programme UNDP/GEF, partners