14 2 5 3 Alpine Nature 2030 Creating ecological connectivity for generations to come 119 Interventions that can be made by farmers and land managers to support ecological corridors in the territo ries of their competencies CIPRA 2010 range from the restoration or maintenance of landscape elements to a wider landscape management scheme Single measures have to be inserted into a strategy combining the crea tion of an ecological network with the maintenance of traditional agriculture These single measures usually take the form of strips of vegetation that have been deliberately planted for a variety of purposes including shelter reduction of soil erosion provision of timber sources creation of wild life habitat or for aesthetic qualities The agricultural eld margins not only provide a habitat for rare species of plants and contribute to the protection of soils and water resources they also constitute important linear transit routes and form buffer zones between vari ous forms of land use Along elds and paths the eld margins form a network of linear connecting elements Inclusion of these areas in local plans increases this positive impact signi cantly The new structural elements display great variation in origin oristic composition and structure but there are several common features They are linear but not always straight and usually form grid like networks of habitat They frequently provide links between remaining natural and semi natural habitats They are closely associated with agricultural land since past and present agricultural land manage ment strongly in uence their composition and structure They take forms such as Hedgerows linear strips of shrubs small and some times large trees planted along the boundaries of elds roadways fences and other no cropped areas Stone walls replacement for hedges particularly in upland and arid areas where shrubs do not grow so well Fencerows narrow strips of rough land that have developed by the natural regeneration of plants in neglected strips of land between elds by roads and water bodies Their vegetation ranges from that dominated by grasses and herbs to narrow lines of shrubs to broad strips with mature woodland trees Wind breaks barriers usually consisting of trees or shrubs that are used to reduce and redirect wind Filter strips areas planted with vegetation to con trol soil erosion they slow down water runoff and capture and prevent sediments and nutrients from entering waterways They are used As nesting roosting and feeding habitat and cover by forest edge farmland and game birds and sig ni cantly increase their number and diversity By mammals amphibians and reptiles as breeding areas shelter temporary refuge or foraging habitat species include badger and fox small mammals such as eld mice and bank voles and amphibians By insects to gain nectar and pollen prey and shel ter this includes ladybugs hover ies ladybird beetles green and brown lacewings parasitic and predatory wasps and spiders many of them ben e cial to agriculture as natural pest control agents Nevertheless these particular landscape and agricultural structures are negatively impacted by herbicides pesti cides or manure through leaching and transport by soil water or airborne deposition from adjacent elds At the landscape level the removal of linear elements such as hedges and walls is of great importance This is a slow process mainly driven by changes in the agricultural system Crops in contrast vary more rapidly on a yearly basis Burel 2002 On one hand many species have grown accustomed to extensive agricultural systems since these systems include small features that can help animals in their basic need for movement on the other hand certain species have also adapted to some inten sively managed areas for example wet grasslands wet areas with rice cultivation Examples include breeding and wintering water birds in the Netherlands Belgium and northern Germany and species for example badg ers certain birds of hedgerow landscapes in France UK and Ireland Hoffmann 2001 All of these structural elements need to be managed with care Where they are absent these features can be created In many areas of Europe nancial subsidies and advice written or in the form of farm

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