14 2 5 3 54 Alpine Nature 2030 Creating ecological connectivity for generations to come 2 3 Alpine national strategies and visions for ecological networks Karin SVADLENAK GOMEZ Conservation Medicine Unit Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology Department of Integrative Biology and Evolution University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna Austria Wide forests characterise the area of the Northern Lime stone Alps in Austria The project Netzwerk Naturwald aims at creating stepping stones consisting of natural forests to connect the remaining natural forest habitats of the three large protected areas of this region All Alpine states are party to the Alpine Convention and all but Switzerland are members of the European Union Therefore they are bound to implement Direc tives and at least morally obliged to attempt to adhere to the various protocols strategies and guiding policies that demand the preservation or restoration of ecologi cal networks in the Alpine region The degree to which such regional policies are translated at a national level differs from one country to another Political struc tures and historically grown institutions in uence the particularities of ground level implementation This section provides a very brief overview of the status of integration of connectivity into policies and imple mentation in different countries by way of examples It makes no claim of completeness bearing in mind that the establishment of networks is a continuing process All Alpine countries have national biodiversity strate gies some have gone through several updates already and most of these make direct reference to the preser vation or restoration of ecological connectivity Slov enia is currently updating its biodiversity strategy and it is likely that the new version will also contain some connectivity related goals In some countries such as France and Germany there are also corresponding provincial strategies The status of implementation of ecological networks at provincial or regional level presents a mixed picture Italy for example has anchored the establishment of such networks in provincial laws and has initiated the establishment of networks in all Alpine provinces In the French Alpine provinces work on regional ecologi cal networks is also well advanced In Germany the Bavarian Berchtesgaden region presents an outstand ing example of advanced implementation while in Austria there are a number of concrete implementation examples in the early stages of design Switzerland has created a solid national foundation for a regional eco logical network and has intentions to construct green infrastructure beyond protected areas The national strategy is translated into on the ground actions to varying degrees in the different cantons 2 3 1 Austria There is no uniform Austrian environmental law Instead there is a legal framework of environmental protection that is determined by a variety of laws Nu merous legal areas have a more or less direct or indirect impact on biodiversity both at national and at provin cial levels These include nature and forestry legislation but also laws from areas such as land use planning hunting laws air quality regulations and more An integration of ecological connectivity measures wildlife crossing points into traf c infrastructure planning for new roads was mandated in 2006 through instructions by the Austrian Ministry for Transport Innovation and Technology BMVIT to the Austrian state owned company ASFINAG which plans nances and builds the entire primary road network in the country BMVIT 2016 In December 2014 Austria s Federal Ministry of Agri culture Forestry Environment and Water Management BMLFUW published the Austrian Biodiversity Strat egy 2020 Biodiversitäts Strategie Österreich 2020

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