Taking account of the elements of ecological networks in planning tools (land-use plans, landscape development strategies etc.)

Taking account of the elements of ecological networks in planning tools (land-use plans, landscape development strategies etc.)
The dynamic character of the biotope network has to be maintained. © Rainer Sturm/ pixelio.de

Involved sectors

Agriculture, Forestry, Water management, Hunting, Spatial planning, Tourism and leisure, Nature protection, Local population/citizens, Municipalities

Affected habitats

Forest, Shrubs and wooded areas, Bogs and fens, wetlands, Alpine habitats, Grassland, Arable land, Areas for settlements and transport, Waterbodies


The consideration of central elements of a biotope network in spatial planning is extremely important for the long-term and sustainable creation of a biotope network. This is the only way to ensure long-term connectivity. Planning must, however, be flexible enough to take account of the dynamic character of the biotope network. Depending on the type and significance of the elements, they should be taken into account in different tools and at different levels (at local level, areas for a small-scale network; at regional level, key migration corridors and solutions for major conflict points). There are already a number of examples in existence, notably in Switzerland with the creation of the REN in guidance planning (Richtplanung) or in France, where individual municipalities have incorporated elements of the local biotope network in their land-use planning.


Impact in particular on Small mammals, Big mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Birds, Insects, Fish
Ecological impact  
Reduction of fragmentation or creation of new valuable habitats The consideration of the biotope network in spatial planning helps to avoid fragmentation in future.
Element of ecological network The key elements of the biotope network are safeguarded for the long term.
Time of realisation for measure Immediate: Spatial planning of key sites and structures avoids incorrect use and safeguards the long-term functionality of the network.
Impact scope Local (municipality): Depending on the planning tool and the biotope network plan, may vary widely.


Implementation period Months: Consideration in planning tools requires a very precise concept of the biotope network, mapping and coordination with other stakeholders - a lengthy process.
Frequency Non-recurring, Recurring: Can only be effective as part of a long-term concept. Specific single actions can be implemented to preserve specific areas as part of that concept.

Economic and legal aspects

Costs Medium (10'000-100'000 EUR): Cannot be specified precisely. Planning is, however, very time-consuming and labour-intensive.
Socio-economic impacts High: Numerous and diverse impacts on all stakeholders affected by the biotope network.
Sources of financing Public: local, Public: regional, Public: national
Legal situation Local, regional, state planning instruments.

Further information

Evaluation Inclusion of the elements of a biotope network in land-use planning is relatively new and much experimentation is under way. Questions about the best approach are still unresolved, especially as the network elements should have a dynamic character and no new "strictly protected areas" should be created.
Information Other: e.g. in the French Region Rhône-Alpes, municipality of St. Martin d'Uriage, or Fribourg Canton in Switzerland.

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