14 2 5 3 Alpine Nature 2030 Creating ecological connectivity for generations to come 155 4 7 Alpine Pilot Regions for ecological connectivity Yann KOHLER Alpine Network of Protected Areas ALPARC Chambéry France 4 7 1 The Alpine Pilot Regions In the past conservation efforts focused on maxim ising biodiversity in protected areas Brudvik et al 2009 and these areas were chosen to include most of the territories biodiversity their natural and cultural heritage Considering the resource needs of the worlds growing population it is unlikely that enough land can be directly protected to facilitate the needs of all spe cies and communities Mawdley et al 2009 Given that the number of threatened species is steadily rising and protecting land only represents a static approach the concept of protected areas is insuf cient Acknowledg ing this evidence a Pilot Region approach was pro posed for the Alps as this kind of implementation was considered to be more dynamic and to include modern ideas of conservation connectivity A rst assessment of Alpine activities in the eld of ecological connectivity published in 2004 had already identi ed the Alpine Protected Areas as key elements of a coherent ecological network in the Alps ALPARC 2004 Based on this analysis rst proposals for Pilot Regions were made These Pilot Regions composed of protected areas but also integrating areas around and between protected areas had to meet a variety of dif ferent criteria a high potential for ecological connec tivity in speci c importance for biodiversity conserva tion a balanced geographic distribution throughout the Alpine Arc and motivated partners at local level A rst selection of Pilot Regions was made during the EU funded ETC Alpine Space Project ECONNECT 2008 to 2012 The de nition and selection of the ECON NECT Pilot Regions followed a step by step procedure based on prior de nitions of quality criteria in order to represent a signi cant variety of situations natural conditions and ecological challenges of territories in the Alpine Arc Haller et al 2011 This proceed ing intended to achieve the development and test of concrete implementation strategies and measures in order to improve ecological connectivity The seven regions selected differed considerably concerning their features and framework conditions but all of them participated in a common methodological approach Although common it was intended to allow a suf cient exibility in order to insure the possibility of adaptation to the very speci c local situations and to launch a very detailed planning process with an intense involvement of stakeholders and landowners Considering their contribution to the implementation of an pan Alpine ecological network and the experi ences made during the ECONNECT project with the stakeholders in particular for the policy level a number of ECONNECT Pilot Regions requested that the Plat form Ecological Network of the Alpine Convention of cially support and recognise their efforts As a response to this request the Platform Ecological Network of the Alpine Convention developed and adopted procedures in 2010 for the nomination of of cial Pilot Regions for Ecological Connectivity of the Alpine Convention The procedure allows nominations at each Alpine Conference taking place every two years The decision to recognise a Pilot Region is based on a questionnaire completed by the applicant regions The questionnaire uses a number of criteria to gather details both on a re gion s ecological characteristics and its active contribu tion to sustainable development as well as on concrete projects and measures that help to promote an ecologi cal network in the Alps The completed questionnaire is evaluated according to a scoring system In order to be nominated an area must obtain a minimum number of points and or depending on the nal scores must have singularity status The nomination is valid for a limited duration but can be renewed after an evaluation Since the adoption of this procedure eight Alpine re gions have been of cially recognised as Pilot Regions for Ecological Connectivity of the Alpine Convention some of them having participated in former projects others not from south west to north east South western Alps National Park Mercantour Nature Park Alpi Marittime French Department Isère Transboundary ecoregion Gran Paradiso Mont Avic Mont Emilius Ecoregion Alpe Veglia ed Alpe Devero Rhaetian triangle Engadin Southtyrol Trentino Tyrol Transboundary region Berchtesgaden Salzburg Transboundary ecoregion Prealpi Giulie Triglav Northern Limestone Alps region

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