14 2 5 3 Alpine Nature 2030 Creating ecological connectivity for generations to come 108 3 9 2 Connectivity role and limits Functional and interconnected ecosystems enable the development and maintenance of functions that posi tively affect biodiversity In contrast fragmentation is a dynamic process generally human induced that divides a natural environment into more or less dis connected fragments thus reducing its original surface area It also affects the physiology the behaviour and the movement patterns of many plant and animal spe cies Debinski and Holt 2000 It is a process linked to progressive environmental change land use intensive agriculture urbanisation territorial infrastructure and weakens the maintenance of viable populations and the persistence of communities habitats ecosystems and ecological processes In essence the natural elements must be relatively large and connected together in order to preserve the ecological functions necessary for the maintenance of biodiversity in a landscape Crook and Sanjayan 2006 while safeguarding the necessary biodiversity for the conservation of the ecosystem services ESS of that landscape Therefore connectivity guarantees continu ity in physical territorial ecological and functional terms among ecosystems that can be different in terms of naturalness and response to the effects of fragmentation on populations and communities Ben net 2003 Connectivity also gauges the processes by which populations are interconnected Ferrari 2011 It is therefore appropriate to underline the difference between the physical territorial aspects and the func tional ecological ones The connectedness indicates the physical connection among ecosystem varieties or populations Connectivity on the other hand can be characterised by species objecti ed parameters related to the structural and qualitative components in an ecological spatial mosaic including the infrastructural elements representing the obstacles to movement It is becoming more and more important that landscape scale connectivity progressively replaces the dated Figure 11 Flow of biophysical ESS needs for the functioning of ecosystems in a FEU Source Palomo et al 2013 mod Human settlements Flow of provisioning services Flow of regulating supporting services Protected area Functional Ecologic Unit FEU Forest Forest Agro ecosystem Agro ecosystem Wetland Forest

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