14 2 5 3 Alpine Nature 2030 Creating ecological connectivity for generations to come 192 Conclusion Presently several inner Alpine valleys have almost no ecological connectivity with their surroundings Through the implementation of speci c measures and investments for biodiversity conservation and efforts from the local population to ensure a minimum of connectivity these areas could still provide baseline ecological functionality These areas along the Alpine valleys should not increase too much in size and eco nomic activities should be strictly limited in space 5 5 2 Connectivity scenarios for areas retaining well functioning connectivity Ecological Conservation Areas Areas with well functioning ecological connectivity still exist in the Alps These are mainly situated in ru ral and decentralised parts of the Alps Conservation depends on their recognition as important patches of intact Alpine ecosystems Pressure on these areas is increasing through the development of new infra structure increased land use through new forms of economic activities and or changes in the social and cultural context of rural zones Map 16 Strategic Alpine Connectivity Area SACA Category 1 Ecological intervention areas How to achieve positive developments These categories of areas are still very prevalent in the Alpine space but they are continuously being en croached upon both spatially and in respect to their functionality There is still time to act and to react to these slow and often hidden degrading developments Needs for the next years The types of ecological conservation areas within the complete Alpine space is essential in order to develop speci c strategies and adaptive implementation meas ures The scale of these areas may be very different but is not necessarily correlated with the ecological value of such patches for example small well linked habitats may be very precious for some endemic spe cies of Alpine ora or invertebrates while large scale connected habitats of non fragmented ecosystems are crucial for larger mammals such as red deer or lynx The de nition of ecological conservation areas depends on a multitude of factors but a very general approach is to conserve large areas with an intact per meable landscape matrix Strong conservation policies Population density inhab km2 Barriers for connectivity Connectivity potential High barrier Low barrier High Medium 5 50 50 150 150 400 400 1 000 1 000 Major city Major river Water bodies Alpine Convention perimeter National border Strategic Alpine Connectivity Areas SACA Category 1

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