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The Eastern Rhodopes are shortlisted for Rewilding Europe

Very recently the Eastern Rhodopes (in Bulgaria and Greece) were selected on  the shortlist of potential candidates for Rewilding Europe. In October 2013 the definitive selection will be revealed. We sincerely hope by that time the Eastern Rhodopes shall be selected as a model area for Rewilding Europe.

One of the programme goals of Rewilding Europe is “by 2020, rewild 1 million ha (10,000 km²) across 10 places in Europe covering different regions”. The rewilding concept was introduced at the “EC Presidency Conference on Wilderness and Large Natural Habitat Areas” in May 2009, and the participants were invited to submit nominations for potential model areas. As a result, Rewilding Europe received more than 20 nominations of which 5 were selected to serve as the first five model areas: Danube Delta, Eastern Carpathians, Southern Carpathians, Velebit, and Western Iberia.

To fulfil itsobjective, Rewilding Europe aimed “to identify an additional five model areas covering northern, western and southern Europe, including the marine environment” and launch them at the forthcoming 10th World Wilderness Congress (WILD10) in Salamanca, Spain in October 2013.

To promote the submission of new areas, an invitation for new nominations has been advertised on Rewilding Europe’s website since its launch in late 2010. By March 2012, ten new nominations were received for nine areas.

Following a detailed review of each proposal, a decision was made to shortlist the following four areas for more in-depth field assessments: Central Apennines, Greater Laponia, Stettiner Haff and Thracian Mountains (The Eastern Rhodopes).

Eight main selection criteria were used (not in order of priority): (i) geographical spread, (ii) biodiversity uniqueness, (iii) funding potential, (iv) local capacity, (v) strategic links (political, business community, banking sector, media, etc.), (vi) marketing opportunity, (vii) legal land tenure options and (viii) business prospects.

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