14 2 5 3 63 Alpine Nature 2030 Creating ecological connectivity for generations to come In the Intyamon valley Nature Park Gruyère Pays d Enhaut farmers have grouped parts of their agricultural land to build a local ecological network below the national aim of ten percent of forests having reserve status by 2030 and the existing reserves are not necessarily located where forest habitat types and spe cies are most threatened There are also several running initiatives for ecological connectivity outside protected areas many of a small scale in agricultural landscapes in addition to cantonal wildlife corridors In spite of the variety of protected areas and park spaces the Environment Report for Switzerland of 2015 assessed the country s biodiversity to be in a poor state as evidenced by a reduction in valuable habitats and a high number of endangered species due inter alia to landscape fragmentation soil sealing and in tensive agriculture FOEN 2015 In this Switzerland is not unique Similar assessments have been published in other Alpine countries 2 3 7 Transnational cooperation Apart from national ecological networks and con nectivity measures there are also several examples of transnational cooperation for ecological connectivity in the Alpine region The ECONNECT project nanced by the Alpine Space Programme of the European Regional Development Fund for example brought together international umbrella nature conservation organisations linked to the Alpine Convention scien ti c institutions and local implementation partners in order to demonstrate needs and opportunities for ac tion to enhance ecological connectivity in the Alpine Space This was the rst project to investigate how national and regional legislation affects ecological connectivity The project produced a number of maps aimed at providing an overview of the location of Pilot Regions in the Alps and visualising connections between protected areas Exploratory map of Alpine ecological connectivity Svadlenak Gomez et al 2014 within each of these regions as well as priority areas and Alpine wide results of the continuum suitability analysis These were further enhanced during the implementation of the GreenAlps project Svadlenak Gomez et al 2014 The project also produced the on line visualisation tool JECAMI Joint Ecological Con tinuum Analysis and Mapping Initiative which can still be accessed and used online at www jecami eu One of several concrete implementation examples of cooperation between two countries is work towards the reconnection of natural spaces between Geneva Switzerland and the French regions across the bor der The so called Franco Valdo Geneva conurbation border region is dominated by agricultural and natural areas 80 percent and an extremely dense core settle ment It is under pressure due to the dynamics of peri urbanisation and urban sprawl Since 2010 a number of corridor contracts have been signed in this Grand Genève region in order to preserve these spaces and their connections and several more such contracts are in the planning stages 2 3 8 Work in progress In all Alpine countries the concepts of ecological con nectivity and the creation of ecological networks have found their way into global European national and often provincial strategies regulations and laws The degree to which these strategies and laws have been implemented so far varies signi cantly between coun tries Given that the fragmentation of human domi nated landscapes is driven by current socio economic practices and behaviours that are dif cult to change and the decentralised and usually participatory na ture of spatial planning as well as the challenges of cross sectoral work the implementation of functional ecological networks is a slow process In federal sys tems it is often dif cult to achieve the required cross provincial collaboration need to ensure networks that cross boundaries The challenge is all the greater for transnational cooperation where different laws and management practices may collide However the fact that all Alpine countries have ecological connectiv ity in their biodiversity action plans or strategies may give rise to optimism concerning the restoration of a fully functional Alpine ecological network over the longer term

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