Contribution to Community Social Objectives

The proposers anticipate highly positive social, environmental and economic impacts of the extended CARBOMONT project for the mountain regions of Europe, in particular for the Alpine area, the Italian Appennine, the Spanish Pyrenees, the Scottish Highlands and for the subarctic area, especially the Swedish Scandes, the Finnish Fjeld Lappland, and the mountain ecosystems in the NAS, in particular with regard to the effects of changes in land use in context with their current and projected socio-economic development.

Verifiability is a key issue in the Kyoto Protocol. The proposed extended CARBOMONT project aims at developing new databases and tools to permit verifiability of the sink strength of key mountain regions in Europe (EU and NAS). It directly contributes to the development of verification tools for the commitments of the EU member states in the Kyoto Protocol. The outputs of the project will have three groups of beneficiaries:

  1. The public administration, responsible for land management planning that will have access to improved techniques and procedures.
  2. The rural population living in the area that will benefit from a more sustainable management taking into account other values than economic benefits.
  3. The private land owners, and other economical agents (e.g. municipalities) interested in the goods and services provided by mountain ecosystems that will benefit from the new added value of their lands due to the possible future inclusion in the accouting C system, if the Kyoto Protocol is ratified.

Alpine areas are characterised by their high biodiversity of specific flora and fauna, but also by their fragile ecosystems and landscapes, severe environmental conditions, dangerous hydro-geological features and regional highly differentiated socio-economic patterns. The European Community has identified the ALPINE AREA as one of the more critical areas what concerns environmental safeguard. In fact, the abandonment of Alpine areas increases the potential for landslides and creates high-risk situations for adjacent slopes and valleys. This constitutes an increasing risk in the Alps on a broad-scale level. As already underlined, CARBOMONT’s focus on SOM will increase the knowledge of the processes governing hydrology and soil erosion in mountain areas (Cernusca et al. 1999, Baxter R. et al. 2000). Therefore the proposers anticipate highly positive impacts of CARBOMONT on the reduction of potential risks in the environment of the more than ten million inhabitants of the Alps, the identification of scientific criteria for sustainable rural development and the related feedbacks between socio-economic pressures and ecological effects. CARBOMONT could also have highly positive impacts in context with environmental protection (protection of nature and conservation strategies) and the development of concepts of sustainable development of mountain areas.

As already mentioned CARBOMONT will increase opportunities for technology transfer for rural and regional development (EU and NAS). In particular, highly positive social, environmental and economic impacts for the „EU-Objective-2-Regions“ in the Austrian and Italian Alps can be expected. The results of CARBOMONT – reflecting a dialogue between scientists and stakeholders – fit also well the objectives of the EU-programme RECITE II. ILE (partner no 12) will incorporate the CARBOMONT result into the Czech governmental strategy of the reconstruction of the mountain agriculture systems.

Furthermore, CARBOMONT will increase opportunities for technology transfer to less developed countries. In particular, it is planned that EU exchange students (ERASMUS, LEONARDO, SOCRATES) elaborate their dissertations and diploma theses within the CARBOMONT project, thus ensuring an important transfer of know-how between CARBOMONT and a number of universities and non-university institutions all over Europe, as well as to less developed countries, especially also to NAS.

CARBOMONT will increase opportunities for education and training (EU and NAS). In particular, the contribution of experts exchange from economy and administration to applied topics of CARBOMONT should be noted (e.g. socio-economic frame-conditions for land-use changes, likely scenarios of land-use change, evaluation of land-use scenarios with reference to an implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, recommendations for a sustainable rural development of mountain areas). For companies this co-operation will provide access to the latest state of knowledge concerning environmental engineering, environmental protection and environmental compatibility of projects in the Alpine area, the Spanish Pyrenees, the Scottish Highlands, the Swedish Scandes, the Finnish Fjeld Lappland, and the mountains of NAS.

The extended CARBOMONT proposal strengthens Europe’s human resources, by:

  • increasing trans-boundary mobility,
  • developing European careers,
  • increasing the participation of women in research,
  • making the scientific professions more attractive to young people, and by
  • making Europe more attractive to researchers from third countries.
  • increasing the participation of scientists from the NAS in research,
  • making Eastern Europe part of the European Research Area, improving the contacts, equipment, methodology and research practises in the NAS (increased networking between EU and NAS centres, increased scope, contribution to capacity building through attracting young researchers, increased linkage with scientific, economic and social environment of the NAS)

More than 30 diploma and PhD theses will be contributed by students from the co-operating European Universities. More than half of these students will be women. Therefore the project will increase the participation of women in research. Most of the students’ work will be done at study sites outside their home countries and will therefore increase trans-boundary mobility of concerned people efficiently. The generic European project approach of CARBOMONT will provide the participating students with a profound education on European key questions and their implementation in decision making (learning by doing): an excellent basis for the development of European careers. In addition the challenging tasks of the planned project and the expertise of the project consortium will increase the attraction of scientific professions to young people. And finally the project will make Europe more attractive to researchers from third countries, as for example from Switzerland or citizens from future member states from Central and Eastern Europe.

Finally, the participation of stakeholders / concerned people from the project areas will ensure the applicability of project results in the economic, social and environmental fields.