Development and implementation of tools for identifying, conserving and managing ecological corridors in the Carpathians, through a multidisciplinary approach.
In order to cope with the fast and increasing habitat fragmentation in the Danube region, the practice aimed at improving the ecological connectivity between natural habitats, especially between Natura 2000 sites and other protected area categories in the Carpathian ecoregion of transnational relevance.
For reaching the objectives, the practice has developed a Carpathian-wide methodology and based on this identified core areas and ecological corridors used by large carnivores as umbrella species. Existing tools, instruments and frameworks are explored and assessed to find ways together with spatial planners to legally and/ or effectively foster the connectivity approach in practice. An Action Plan has been drafted for identifying, preserving, and managing ecological corridors focusing on large carnivores' movement needs in the region. This is going to be adopted by the parties to the Carpathian Convention. A capacity building programme has been developed for conservationists and spatial planners to contribute to effective connectivity conservation.
A Decision Support Tool is developed by the spatial planners to also support this process by overlapping and analysing a broad range of spatial data and various individual scenarios.
Specific management and restoration measures are developed in a participative way with key stakeholders (conservationists, spatial planners, authorities, hunters, foresters, etc.) for safeguarding the ecological connectivity in the Carpathians.
The total budget of the project is aprox. 2.5 million euros. Project staff of 13 partners (approximately 50 people) and representatives of 10 associated strategic partners with complementary profile, experience and know-how from 9 countries are implementing the project.
Evidence of success
Issues related to the identification, preservation and management of ecological corridors are solved. ConnectGREEN has finally proposed a harmonised methodology for identifying ecological corridors in the seven Carpathian countries, which is now promoted by the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention. All the other results (Action Plan, Learning Tool, Decision Support Tool, etc) are contributing to safeguarding the ecological connectivity in the Carpathian Ecoregion and improving practices.
The involvement of all key stakeholders and the transdisciplinary approach are crucial in finding viable solutions to maintaining ecological connectivity in the context of rapid and continuous socio-economic development in the Carpathians. Spatial planning plays an important role at all levels.
Potential for learning or transfer
The practice is important to other regions, namely other mountain regions and protected area networks considering the innovative approaches it uses. All project results, including the Transferability Strategy to other protected area networks that is planned to be developed could easily be adapted by other regions.
ConnectGREEN is going to organise a large Conference for protected area professionals at the end of the project, targeting the members of the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas, as well as of ALPARC, DanubeParks and DINARIDES to disseminate the results and good practices of the project for improving the identification and management of ecological corridors.
Synergies with other projects (e.g. CentralParks, BioGOV) have been established.
The cooperation and collaboration among relevant regional and national stakeholders in the mountain areas of the Danube region and beyond will thus be strengthened and experience sharing will be widely promoted and encouraged.
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