URBANCOWS (PÄRNU, ESTONIA)
URBANCOWS is one of the rare examples of a landscape development with a priority on nature protection located close to housing and costal leisure areas.
The general aim of the URBANCOWS project was to improve the conservation status of the coastal meadow and coastal lagoon habitat complex in Pärnu Coastal Meadow Nature Reserve. This area overgrew with reed after traditional grazing of livestock stopped here in the 1970s–80s. The improvement was achieved by clearing approximately 300 hectares from reed and bushes followed by the reintroduction of cattle grazing.
Other goals were raising the awareness of the local community and visitors about the nature values and inviting people to visit the area. During the project, the infrastructure necessary for grazing (fences, shelters, etc.) and attractive for visitors (information boards, observation towers, nature trail) was established together with preparing the area for the continuous management. The coastal meadow complex of Pärnu regained its historical appearance, popularity among visitors and favourable conservation status.
The wooden hiking trail forms a well-designed and convincing whole with the eight metres high observation towers allowing to overlook the coastal meadow, to watch the diversity of birds and to see the (urban)cows silently doing their important work.
City of Pärnu; Estonian Environmental Board
Photo: Mati Kose