14 2 5 3 Alpine Nature 2030 Creating ecological connectivity for generations to come 118 from environmental impacts or providing a source of food fuel and building materials Ailte et al 2007 Farming may have a crucial impact on biodiversity in the Alps that can be either negative or positive On one hand intensive agriculture in valleys is a major obstacle to the migration of fauna and the spread of wild plants On the other hand extensively farmed high elds can still be of outstanding biodiversity value although the abandonment of traditional farming practices increas ingly threatens these elds In intensively worked elds for example connectivity can be enhanced through green margins or structural linear elements like hedges and dry stone walls Extensive forms of management without the use of fertilisers or insecticides for ex ample help to maintain biodiversity and ecological networks and can enhance control of weeds diseases and arthropod pests and increase pollination services Furthermore they increase soil quality carbon seques tration and water holding capacity in surface soils energy use ef ciency and resistance and resilience to climate change Kremer and Miles 2012 The general public should be aware of what farmers can do to promote connectivity and to protect the high socioeconomic value of the ecosystem services that rural and mountain areas provide Farmers should receive appropriate compensation for this contribu tion because these measures are helping to conserve biodiversity as a basis for life and to create an attractive living environment for the whole of society Kohler and Heinrichs 2011 Many environmental improvements Genghini 1994 can play a key role in the maintenance of the struc tural and functional connectivity of the landscape Different species can use them as seasonal refuges and or core areas and therefore these improve ments are extremely useful for the survival of biodi versity Agricultural landscapes can also contribute positively to the establishment and maintenance of ecological connectivity Small linear features such as hedgerows eld margins verges or remnants of semi margins help to enhance diversi cation of the environment Figure 14 Figure 14 The illustration depicts a farmed landscape in which connectivity is high It contains many features that are desirable for wildlife but which can also contribute to farming practice and game management Wooded hilltop Hedgerows and embank the water Shelters wildlife and game Protects crops wind break and slows the movement of water and preserves the banks Source Adapted from Bonnin et al 2007

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