14 2 5 3 59 Alpine Nature 2030 Creating ecological connectivity for generations to come The Monte Rosa Region in the Italian Aosta Valley was one of the pilot areas in the Alpine Space project ECONNECT climate change and biodiversity and economic poli cies The strategy includes speci c reference to the need to plan for ecological networks not just by safeguard ing protected areas but rather by assigning ecological meaning to other areas as well within the conceptual framework of ecological networks However planning for ecological connectivity in Italy predates the preparation of the National Biodiversity Strategy In 1999 the Italian Environment Ministry adopted a programme for the de nition and imple mentation of an ecological network for vertebrate spe cies the National Ecological Network Rete ecologica nazionale REN which ran until 2002 Martins 2014 The concept albeit not legally binding for spatial plan ning was integrated into some landscape plans and guidelines for example in South Tyrol The goal of the programme was to outline the distribution patterns of all Italian vertebrate species and to determine whether protected areas cover all of this distribution or what actions were necessary to improve the conservation of these species A map was produced which is to form the basis of an ecological network design and moun tain areas the Alps and the Apennines in particular are considered most suitable as core areas for these species Boitani 2003 Of Italy s national parks four are in the country s Alpine region Gran Paradiso Stelvio Val Grande and Dolomiti Bellunesi Several regions of Italy have established planning for ecological networks in their territorial planning At the provincial level the so called Provincial Coordination Territorial Plan P C T P is used by local administrations and the number of prov inces that make explicit reference to ecological net works in their plans has increased from 90 in 2009 to 95 in 2012 Minambiente 2014 As an example the Lombardy Region s spatial plan pi ano territoriale regionale PTR foresees the creation of an ecological network which is recognised as an infra structure of utmost importance ERSAF 2014 A project was approved in October 2009 entitled From Parks to Regional Ecological Networks Dai Parchi alla Rete Ecologica Regionale Its objectives are to implement some key ecological corridors between biodiversity priority areas to enhance habitat quality and the eco logical value of these priority areas to promote ecosys tem functions and to create a multi purpose network that can also deliver landscape functions and recrea tional value In the Piemonte Region the design of a regional ecological network is anchored in a regional law regarding the protection of natural areas and biodi versity The region has mapped important biodiversity areas and a potential ecological network design The autonomous region of Trentino Alto Adige South Tyrol is a special case as by special statute they are ac corded autonomy both as a region and as the separate autonomous provinces of South Tyrol Alto Adige and Trento In the autonomous South Tyrol province landscape protection is regulated by a State Law which

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