Trails to connect protected areas

Trails to connect protected areas
Trails can draw attention to aspects of ecological connectivity. © Bollinger Hanspeter/

Involved sectors

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


In Switzerland (Haute-Engadine, Haut-Valais, southern Tessin), the WWF, together with regional tourism offices, has created three transboundary Emerald Trails with a total of 50 stages. The stages and their attractions, as well as accommodation options, are described in detail on the Internet. The trails link various protected areas, Natura 2000 sites and emerald areas and can thus draw attention to aspects of ecological connectivity.


Ecological impact  
Other No direct ecological impacts are achieved, but information placed along the trails can raise awareness. Acceptance of biotope network measures is also increased in the long term.
Time of realisation for measure Years: The use of good communication methods increases awareness of the issue immediately; acceptance within the general public only emerges after visible positive results.
Impact scope Regional: The scope of implementation and impact are heavily dependent on the conditions in the regions and habitats concerned.


Implementation period Months: The development and promotion of the trails require a long planning phase.
Frequency Non-recurring: Regular maintenance of, e.g., info boards.

Economic and legal aspects

Costs Medium (10'000-100'000 EUR): The costs for planning, signage and advertising are expected to be high and will depend on the situation at the outset.
Socio-economic impacts Medium: On the basis that the region is being made more attractive, positive economic impacts are expected.
Sources of financing Private sponsor, Other private sources, Public: regional, Public: national

Further information

Evaluation Tourist marketing initiatives can be combined with other measures (e.g. publicity events, volunteer programmes). In addition to the example in Switzerland, Germany and Austria also have similar initiatives relating to Natura 2000 sites (NaturaTrails of the Friends of Nature).
Information Other: , ,

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