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Sunrise on a bright autumn day in a mountain nature reserve, somewhere in the Swiss Alps. Several chamois and ibex graze here and there in a pasture above the tree line.  Suddenly, there is a movement and a noise in the sky and all the animals are gone within seconds. What has happened? A small multicopter appears flying along the mountain ridge, probably to film the vertiginous view from the heights. 

Small flying devices, drones, equipped with high performance photo or video cameras as well as a lot of other technical equipment are more and more often seen in mountain areas, and therefore in the Alpine protected areas. Their presence can mean a great risk of disturbance to wildlife that needs to be taken into account and managed by those responsible for these conservation areas. On the other hand, the new and innovative technology offers a large variety of interesting tools and possibilities to facilitate the day-to-day work of protected areas managers when used in a responsible way.

An international ALPARC conference that took place the 26-27 March 2018 in Dobbiaco (I) was the opportunity to hear about current experiences with the new technology in Alpine protected areas. Indeed, several protected areas are already using drones for vegetation mapping, remote sensing activities, the development of 3D elevation modelling or technical interventions in inaccessible areas. An expert for a British research institute presented “guidelines of good practice of drone use” developed in an international context for another highly sensitive area, Antarctica.  Three round tables offered the possibility to exchange about prospects for the use of drones for conservation communication issues, to discuss the multiple legal situations in the Alpine countries and to imagine possible developments in drone robotics adapted to specific (research) needs in protected areas. Finally, the prospect of a common Alpine guideline on the use of drones in sensitive protected natural areas was discussed by the conference delegates.

Further information about this event and the presentations are available online:


02 ALPARC Article Drones 02 Michael Schmalzl Alpsvision GmbHs.r
















the delegates to the ALPARC conference on drones in protected areas watching a flying demonstration. Picture taken by a drone.

© Michael Schmalzl, Alpsvision GmbH/s.r.l.

Il reste encore des places disponibles dans le cadre du projet Youth Alpine Interrail, qui permet aux jeunes âgés entre 16 et 27 ans de voyager à travers les Alpes pendant l'été 2018 pour 50 euros seulement !

La participation de jeunes français est fortement encouragée !

L'inscription est possible en individuel ou en groupe, jusqu'à 4 personnes. Avec le passe, valable pendant un mois en Juillet et en Août 2018, chaque participant pourra réaliser jusqu’à 7 voyages par mois. C’est une opportunité unique de découvrir de manière soutenable, en train et à petit prix, tous les 8 pays alpins : Allemagne, Autriche, France, Italie, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovénie et Suisse !

Ce projet est le fruit de l’initiative de quelques jeunes de l’arc alpin, qui ont réussi à mobiliser différents acteurs pour permettre à d’autres jeunes de voyager à travers les Alpes plus facilement, par des moyens de transport durables et à tarif réduit (50 euros au lieu de 255). Avec ce projet, encore en phase d’expérimentation, on espère pérenniser ce type d’offre et inciter davantage des jeunes à découvrir la région.


Pour plus de détails voir :

Date limite d'inscription : le 30 mai 2018

Published in News from the Alps

Foto 01 low


Below you will find the documentation of the ALPARC conference "Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) in protected areas: opportunities and threats" that was held the 27th and 28th of March 2018 in Dobbiaco.

See the programme of the conference here

Published in Resources

The winners of the 12th international competition “Fotografare il parco” have been announced. This contest was organized by the Stelvio National Park (IT), the Gran Paradiso National Park (IT), Abruzzo, Latinum and Molise National Park (IT) and by the French Vanoise National Park in collaboration with Swarovski Optik Italia.
Once again, the contest registered the great participation of many amateurs as well as professional photographers. More than 350 participants sent about 3,000 pictures from Italy, France and other European countries.
Congratulation to all who took part!

The award ceremony of the twelfth edition will take place on Saturday 24th February at 11 am at Belvedere – Palazzo Lombardia, Piazza Città di Lombardia, Milan.

You can see the list of the winners, the photos and the prizes at:

A challenging mission for the Ecological Network Platform of the Alpine Convention

Members of the Ecological Network Platform of the Alpine Convention met in Valdieri in the Alpi Marittime Nature Park (I) at the beginning of November 2017. At the centre of the discussion was the work on the report commissioned by the Alpine Convention that aims at giving an overview about how aspects of ecological connectivity are currently integrated in spatial planning documents in the Alpine countries. Based on the analysis of a series of case studies, planning documents and expert interviews, the Platform will draft a state of the art report and formulate a number of conclusions that should be presented at the next Alpine Conference. The integration of ecological networks, wildlife corridors and green and blue infrastructure in spatial planning documents is the only sustainable way to insure the conservation of this vital ecological functionality. The report will highlight some examples of good practice and provide the opportunity to start a wider discussion on the topic.  

The aim of this ALPARC event is to provide an overview about the variety of possible uses of the new and rapidly evolving technology for different tasks in the missions of protected areas. Potential dangers of unappropriated use of UAS will also be highlighted.

The use of drones (Unmanned Aircraft Systems/UAS) has considerably increased during the last years, also in the alpine Protected Areas. This new technology has integrated the modern park management and is used for multiple purposes (monitoring, mapping, remote sensing, photography, technical interventions in inaccessible areas…), offering numerous interesting possibilities. On the other hand the use of drones by park managers but particularly also by external persons may cause important disturbances to the protected areas. 
aquila contro drone
During the conference the legal situation in the different alpine countries will be presented and an introduction to general UAS technology given. Protected areas managers and other professional drone users will present very diverse possibilities of use of drones in the day to day tasks of protected areas and discuss further potential challenges for the new technology with the participants. A demonstration of flying performances by experienced drone pilots is forseen. An overview about potential negative impacts of the flying devises and how to limit them will close the event.

Discover the programme here.


The Conference will take place the 26th and 27th March 2018 in the Grand Hotel in Toblach/Dobbiaco (Italy). Registration is open !

To register for the conference, please click on the button below.



The event is organized with the logistical and financial support of :


 BMUB tranparent         logo IDM Sudtirol


Published in Events of ALPARC

After a first workshop in Vorarlberg last March, ALPARC has recently organised two further workshops in Les Ecrins National Park (France) and in the nature parks of the Ossola Valleys (Italy) in the frame of the WeWild project. The aim of the project and its growing working group is the development of a joint communication initiative to reduce wildlife disturbance in the Alps in winter. The numerous participants learned about the project’s progress, gave feedback and were involved in the further development of this joint initiative. 

In the French Alps several ongoing projects aim at tackling human-nature conflicts in outdoor sports. The workshop in Le Bourg d’Oisans, (Les Ecrins National Park, 21st September 2017) specifically dedicated to recreational impacts in winter, helped to extend the working group in the French Alps. 29 practitioners from almost all concerned French natural parks in the Alps and from smaller protected areas (e.g. NATURA 2000 managers) were present. Thanks to the workshop the initiative is being embedded in the regional context of joint projects, in which many stakeholders are involved: the Biodiv’sports “Awareness Raising via Participation and Mapping” project (lead partner LPO Isère) and the film series project of the Regional nature parks of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.

During the second international WeWild workshop in the Italian Alps (Ossola Valley nature parks, 19th and 20th October 2017), 17 participants had a closer look at the regional context of winter wildlife disturbance. The challenges facing protected areas and stakeholders in the Italian Alps, linked to a growing impact of outdoor sports in winter, are huge, but only a few pilot initiatives exist to date. A country-specific concern that still worsens the situation in winter is the lack of legislation regarding heli-skiing and snowmobiles. The joint initiative of WeWild and its tools could trigger further local actions in areas where stakeholders see the need to act or are already acting (e.g. South Tyrol, Aree protette dell’Ossola).

Both workshops helped to work further on the initiative’s strategy and its charter, and on the joint communication tools (graphical identity, video, and website). By the end of the year, the ALPARC operational unit will finalise these outputs and come up with a communication plan.

For more details, please contact:
Dominik Cremer Schulte, project manager | +33 (0) 4 79 26 55 09

The WeWild project is financed by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN, Germany) with funds of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB, Germany).

                                              Logo BfN 2014 4C transparent                      BMUB tranparent

The registration for the 1st Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) is now open! The event, taking place on 23-24 November 2017 at BMW World in Munich, is jointly organised by Bavaria (current Presidency of the EUSALP) and the European Commission (Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy).

For more details:

Thursday, 16 November 2017 08:34

Sondrio Film Festival

The Sondrio Film Festival, the International exhibition on protected areas documentary take place from the 13th to the 26th of  November 2017 in Sondrio.
The event aims at raising awareness on nature conservation and protection, valorising environmental education activities and promoting nature documentaries.



In June 2017 a core group of hikers departed from Vienna and have been travelling through several destinations all over the Alps on a journey of 120 days that will lead them to Nice at the end of September.


Whatsalp is the continuation of TransALPedes, a journalistic-political project launched in 1992. Back then, a core group of eight specialists and media workers, accompanied by a group of interested parties, crossed the Alpine region in four months. Thanks to more than 100 encounters TransALPedes built up an international network of 800 people with committed individuals, groups and authorities engaged in the protection and long-term development of the Alpine region.

In 2017, all along the hike the core group has already had the opportunity to set up numerous site meetings with interested individuals, groups and institutions, shedding light on and discussing the changes in the landscapes and societies across the Alps that have taken place over time. The group has also been in touch and had some exchanges with the youngsters of the “Whatsalp Youth” project led by CIPRA. As the Whatsalp hike has largely followed the route that the TransALPedes Group walked 25 years ago, all the meetings have been a great opportunity to make relevant comparisons and reflect over the traces left by humans and natural events in the past as well as to draw attention to future perspectives.

Whatsalp hike has been reported through short texts, films and photos on a blog where the group has been communicating on a daily basis about what they have seen, heard and experienced.
For further information about the roadmap of previous and future meetings, the route of the hike or to register for the last stages and join the core group, please visit the website of the project.

Published in News from the Alps