Integrated small wetlands of the Alps monitoring and protection
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Ponds and other small wetlands have been widely destroyed or modified in the Alpine region, and are often not properly managed. The project I-SWAMP rolls out a method for the conservation of small Alpine wetlands with an approach based on both science-based decision-making and responsibilisation of local communities. A protocol for the monitoring and conservation of small Alpine wetlands will support local authorities in making well-informed decisions about wetland management. Courses and activities of environmental education will develop the knowledge of communities, public and economic players about the Alpine blue infrastructure. This integrated approach helps to protect and restore wetlands at a regional scale, to avoid further loss of biodiversity, habitats and ecosystem services.


  • 2021 – 2027
  • Climate resilient and green Alpine region
  • SO 1.2 - Enhancing protection and preservation of nature, biodiversity and green infrastructure, including in urban areas, and reducing all forms of pollution
    • AG7 Ecological connectivity
  • 09/2022
  • 02/2024
  • 404.600 EUR
  • 303.450 EUR


I-SWAMP (Integrated Small Wetlands of the Alps Monitoring and Protection) is a small-scale project, co-funded by the European Union in the Interreg Alpine Space program.

TESAF (Territorio e Sistemi Agro-Forestali, or Land, Forestry and Agriculture) department of the University of Padova, Italy, is the lead partner, while EGTC Geopark Karawanken/Karawanke (cross-border Austrian-Slovenian park, representing Austria) and the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation (IRSNC or Zavod Republike Slovenije za Varstvo Narave, ZRSVN, Slovenia) are full partners.

The University of Padova is an 800-year-old institution with strong tradition in higher education and research. Its TESAF department has a 50-year-long relationship with the Dolomites and Cadore, where it has its Center for Alpine Environment Studies. The department has expertise in Forestry and Ecology research, often with a hands-on approach.

The EGTC Geopark Karawanke/Karawanken manages a UNESCO Global Geopark, an area that is rich in geological, natural and cultural heritage. This richness is preserved with technical, educational and policy competences. The institution has a well-established network with authorities, NGOs, tourism operators and communities on both sides of the border and works on nature education with Geopark schools in Austria and Slovenia.

IRSNC is the only public professional organization for nature conservation in Slovenia, founded under the 1999 "Nature Conservation Act". This institution has renowned experience in developing policies and strategies for the joint management of protected areas, Natura 2000 areas and areas of special natural feature, as well as in project management, interpretation of nature and environmental education.

The project specific objective is to roll-out a method for the conservation of small Alpine wetlands that are not properly managed or are neglected, focusing on science-based decision-making and responsibilization of local communities.

The expertise of the partners will be used to address the dramatic situation of Alpine wetlands: many wetland habitats have disappeared (in the Alps and elsewhere) in the last centuries. In many cases, this loss was caused by human activities: direct destruction, to make place to new buildings or infrastructure erased many habitats; the abandonment of traditional mowing and management of pastures and ponds led to overgrowth or to excessive shadow and isolation; excessive or unregulated cattle grazing led to eutrophication; the drainage of peatlands, to allow peat extraction or land reclamation modified these fragile habitats; the introduction of invasive species sometimes led to local extinction; global warming led to an upward shift of many species, toward higher elevation. All of these processes, and many others, contributed to habitat loss and modification, affecting wetland biodiversity.

This is particularly true for small wetlands: deemed minor habitats, they are often neglected or not properly managed, and are sometimes excluded from regulation and monitoring.

I-SWAMP wants to have a positive impact on the conservation of small Alpine wetlands in many ways:

  • A small group of wetland sites (2-6 for each country) will be selected, to be monitored and restored;
  • The sites’ biodiversity will be studied, contributing to the knowledge of these often-neglected habitats and informing restoration decisions;
  • Volunteers from local communities and associations will be involved in the restoration (mowing, tree-cutting, rewetting, cattle exclusion, etc.);
  • Guidelines for wetland monitoring and restoration will be prepared;
  • Stakeholders from the local communities (local authorities, landowners, hiking guides, foresters and other professionals, NGOs etc.) will be involved, and they will be offered dedicated training;
  • Educational material in the form of a didactic booklet for kids aged 6 to 14 will be prepared;
  • Lectures and workshops will be offered to schools;
  • Webinars and seminars will be organized.

All the field work will be carried out in 2023, with monitoring starting in march and restoration activities mostly implemented at the end of summer, to comply to the best practices and local or national regulation.

Stay in touch or follow us on Facebook to know more about our activities and learn more about Alpine wetlands!





University of Padua (Lead partner)
  • Lead partner
  • Italy
  • Veneto (ITH3)
  • Padova
EVTZ Geopark Karawanken, m.b.H.
  • Austria
  • Kärnten (AT21)
  • Bad Eisenkappel/Železna Kapla
Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for nature conservation
  • Slovenia
  • Zahodna Slovenija (SI04)
  • Ljubljana
  • 45.406666711.8769111
  • 46.486803314.5932323
  • 46.048437514.4932309


  • Common protocol/guidelines for the evaluation and conservation of small Alpine wetlands

    The three partners will collectively develop protocols/guidelines for biodiversity surveys, site evaluation and conservation of small wetlands (deliverable 1.2.1) (1,00). This tool will be implemented in at least 2 sites per partner, and the outcomes and, if necessary, any adaptation of said guidelines will be collected in 2 reports (deliverables 1.3.1 and 1.4.1). This solution will be made known and provided to authorities and stakeholders to be scaled up deliverable 1.2.2).


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Project calendar

No upcoming events
    25 May 2023
    I-SWAMP: presenting the activities about wetlands at a workshop for teachers and educators in Tichoja, Austria!
    Project: I-SWAMP
    The partners will present next year's topic, Alpine wetlands, to teachers and educators in Tichoja!
    22 Apr 2023
    I-SWAMP pilot event with schools
    Project: I-SWAMP
    Our first event about Alpine wetlands, dedicated to schools and parents on the World Earth Day 2023
    Argynnis paphia on Succisa
    11 Apr 2023
    Webinar for the professional training of Registered Foresters and Agronomists of Veneto
    Project: I-SWAMP
    A closed event for FODAF members about the monitoring and conservation of small Alpine wetland
    Wetlands in Dosoledo
    13 - 14 Sep 2022
    I-SWAMP Kick-off meeting
    Project: I-SWAMP
    Getting to know each other and discussing the organization of project activities

      Project news

      Restoration in action: I-SWAMP mowing and fencing wetland sites with volunteers

      I-SWAMP lead partner TESAF is working on the selected sites to restore them with the help of volunteers from the local communities.

      I-SWAMP: observing emergence and flight of dragonflies in the Dolomites!

      The I-SWAMP biodiversity surveys in the Dolomites allowed us to better understand the species distribution and to witness the development of these wonderful wetland species.

      Varied angles: I-SWAMP involves the oldest photography school in Italy to find new ways of communicating the beauty and frailty of Alpine wetlands

      Our TESAF staff involved final-year photography student in seminars, field visits and projects about Cadore small wetlands

      Removing invasive species at I-SWAMP project sites in the Karawanke UNESCO Global Geopark!

      The EGTC Geopark Karawanke started removing invasive plants at two project sites with the help of a local school!

      I-SWAMP at the Lent Festival in Maribor (Slovenia)!

      The IRSNC took part in the famous Lent Festival in Maribor and presented I-SWAMP activities, also organizing workshop dedicated to children

      I-SWAMP taking stakeholders on field to discuss wetland management and conservation

      Last month our IRSNC staff organized a field visit dedicated to important stakeholders to present and discuss the conservation strategy for two sites!

      Exploring Nature with I-SWAMP: a wetland adventure for middle school kids in the Dolomites!

      TESAF organized a visit to La Zopa ponds for over 60 middle school kids from the region

      I-SWAMP seminars for high schools and elderly organized in Slovenia

      Our IRSNC staff organized two events on May 25th, to involve target groups not directly involved in other I-SWAMP activities: high school students and elderly people in the Slovenian Karawanks.

      I-SWAMP presented to Austrian and Slovenian teachers in the Karawanks!

      Teachers from Austria and Slovenia gathered at the Geopark Karawanke to learn about invasive species and their connection to wetlands. The event featured a presentation of the I-SWAMP activities for schools, lessons and workshops.

      I-SWAMP partners on field together in Austria and Slovenia!

      The three partners met on the occasion of an event for teachers in Tichoja (Austria) and seized the opportunity to visit together some project sites and discuss the ongoing monitoring and restoration practices.

      I-SWAMP engages students and stakeholders in the Karawanks!

      The IRSNC staff working on I-SWAMP has organized several activities to start involving school pupils and important stakeholders in our education and dissemination activities

      I-SWAMP activities were discussed at several events in Slovenia!

      I-SWAMP staff in the Geopark Karawanke presented I-SWAMP activities in several events in Slovenia

      I-SWAMP: communicating the importance of biodiversity and wetlands to schools on the World Earth Day

      We participated to an event in Sarmede (Italy) to communicate the importance of biodiversity, wetlands and ecosystem services to middle school kids and their parents

      Over 60 registered agronomists and foresters of Veneto attended the I-SWAMP webinar on small Alpine wetlands!

      65 registered foresters and agronomists of Veneto region attended the first I-SWAMP webinar dedicated to Alpine wetlands, their biodiversity and conservation.

      I-SWAMP: back to field work in the Alpine wetlands of Italy

      Our staff from the University of Padova went back on the field to look for early breeding amphibians... and found many!

      Spring awakens life in the Alpine wetlands of Slovenia

      The IRSNC experts visited the first two I-SWAMP project sites in Slovenia: Helenski potok and Dolga brda.

      I-SWAMP making the news on the World Wetlands Day

      On the World Wetlands Day, two articles about I-SWAMP were published on the Italian press.

      I-SWAMP kicked off!

      The project partners met in San Vito di Cadore to give I-SWAMP a boost.

      Involving Italian Stakeholders: done!

      In the context of the I-SWAMP kick-off meeting in San Vito, the University of Padova also addressed a group of local stakeholders, to involve the in the project from the very beginning