Introduction

In the long run, protected areas alone cannot preserve biodiversity in the Alps. What is really needed is a sustainable way of use in the whole region, in particular outside the protected areas. By connecting habitats and protected areas, focused measures and support programmes will help to realize an ecological network.

© Heinz Heiss / Zeitenspeigel
© Heinz Heiss / Zeitenspeigel
Why the measures catalogue is of interest to you

The measures catalogue of the ‘Ecological Continuum Initiative‘ has been prepared to support the realization of an ecological network throughout the Alps in seven alpine pilot regions. However, the catalogue should also be of use for other regions and actors in the Alps and beyond who are committed to improving ecological networks.
The online version of the measures catalogue was financially supported by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, with funds from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

A source of actions and examples

On these pages you will find information on a wide range of possible landscape actions which improve the functioning of ecological networks. Examples from the various countries in the Alps show how areas and structures serving as connecting elements of an ecological network can be created, preserved or restored. It is important that individual measures contribute to a large-scale network of biotopes by focusing on areas that are particularly important for the creation of natural networks or for specific species.
At present, the catalogue contains 71 measures. These are described on info sheets and have been assessed on various social, technical, ecological and economic criteria. The information only serves as a starting point: the actual planning and realization of measures will require additional investigations. Individual measures can be downloaded interactively. You can create a combination of measures, depending on which criteria interest you most.
Selected measures deemed to be of particular interest on account of their innovative approach, originality or exemplary execution. They are described in more detail on the basis of concrete examples. Apart from providing you with a stimulus, these practical examples provide practical information such as contact persons and references.
Before implementing one of the suggested measures you should check whether it is in line with the local targets for biotope networks. Adaptation to local conditions may be needed. Furthermore, a large number of different sectors and fields are important when implementing  measures.

Share your experience with others

All users of these pages can contribute examples of practical experience gained in pilot regions and elsewhere in the Alps by completing a form, making that experience available to the public. We also welcome additional information on the measures described or the examples given with them. (Contact)

Notes on the assessments

The assessments were largely based on available information partly reflecting the experience of individual projects. The information is therefore schematic and should be seen as no more than a starting point.
The four evaluation levels of “high”, “medium”, “low” and “no direct effect” have been applied to the “ecological impact” and “socio-economic impact” categories. In terms of “ecological impact”, this scale has been set in such a way that the more frequently a measure’s positive effects on biodiversity, and on ecological connectivity in particular, have already been verified in scientific studies and projects, the higher its impact is estimated to be. Conversely, the impact has been rated as low if the evidence is scarce.
Accordingly, an evaluation of “high” in terms of economic impact means that there is a possibility of making or saving money through this measure, and vice versa. Direct positive effects, as well as indirect ones such as job creation possibilities or contributions to regional development, are all included under socio-economic impact.
It should also be borne in mind that the “socio-economic impact” criterion, in particular, is a rough estimation that has in some cases been made on the basis of individual projects. Consequently, the situation can deviate widely in individual cases. The costs were often difficult to research as well, partly due to the fact that the actual costs of all the measures are highly dependent on a number of different factors and therefore vary widely. The situation at the outset, the size of the area and the specific conditions in a particular area all play an important role. These estimations are therefore rough ballpark figures and should not be regarded as firm amounts.
The same is true of ecological impact, which is also determined by the actual conditions in the area at the outset, and depends on whether the measure fits the respective context, whether it has been planned and implemented with care, and whether it has been appropriately regionalised. The evaluation in the table only provides an approximate indication and this may be different on actual implementation.