14 2 5 3 Alpine Nature 2030 Creating ecological connectivity for generations to come 188 How to achieve positive developments While it is possible to develop numerous scenarios of how the future will look it is important to be cognisant of the fact that these are merely hypotheses which may be more or less realistic Our primary focus is rst and foremost how best to enhance ecological connectivity for biodiversity conservation In these authors view this is especially important in the densely populated valleys where the pressure on ecological connectivity and biodiversity is the highest Today there is little time or room left to advance biodiversity conservation and ecological connectivity Actions must primarily con centrate on in uencing factors as delineated above in order to achieve positive outcomes Uncontrollable factors common to all three types of areas SACA categories 1 3 Development and trends in the next decades Consequences for the area in 2030 7 Political changes ó National and regional policies under stand value and integrate the protection of ecosystems and functional connectiv ity The added values of ecological con nectivity and ecosystem services for a Green Economy widely recognised by all economic actors ó The inner Alpine valleys are part of this policy and with a proactive approach large and well connected areas could be created in the Alps for all SACA catego ries 1 3 As the economic added value of functional ecosystems is recognised all sectors promote activities in favour of them ó National and regional policies mainly focus on protected areas only to maintain biodiversity ó Connectivity in inner Alpine valleys will be very limited and the establishment of new large non fragmented areas by link ing protected areas via stepping stones or special measures becomes more dif cult ó No special policies for nature and habitat protection ó No positive development by 2030 for connectivity and transalpine migration especially in the most intensively used valleys of the Alps 8 General social trends ó European population is more aware of the values of nature and biodiversity protection and understands global processes more clearly ó Improvements on a local and regional level such as Alpine valleys and regions local populations take responsibility for environmental issues through improved governance processes ó The Alps are fashionable and popular for their beauty and nature related leisure and recreation possibilities ó Nature protection becomes an important European issue in order to conserve the playground s natural quality ó Society generally pays less attention to nature related issues ó The risk of an even higher fragmentation and biodiversity loss is important Needs of the next years The highest pressure on ecosystems and habitats is in areas with the greatest land use con icts Such areas are naturally found at lower altitudes The densely popu lated inner Alpine valleys represent some of the most signi cant problem areas for ecological connectivity On the one hand an intensive analysis of the connec tivity situation in the respective valleys is necessary in order to de ne and conserve remaining potentially permeable areas On the other hand active planning and implementation of further measures to improve landscape permeability and maintain or restore key habitats are crucial in maintaining a minimum of genetic exchange across valley oors and in allowing movements of ora and fauna These processes must ó denotes an essentially positive development ó represents a relatively stable neutral development ó signi es a problematic progression concerning ecological connectivity Source Guido Plassmann 2016

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