Biodiversity and ecological connectivity
Towards an ecological network in the Alps
The idea of ecological networks is nothing new. Many conventions, agreements and initiatives are already in existence.
Internationally, all alpine countries have committed to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity through the Convention on Biological Diversity . Since mountain regions belong to the areas in the world with the highest biodiversity, ecological networks extending over the whole alpine arc can provide an important contribution to fulfilling global commitments.
The article 12 of the Protocol “Nature conservation and landscape planning” of the Alpine Convention also foresees the creation of a “network of existing national and transboundary protected areas, of biotopes and other protected elements or those to be protected”. This is the frame for the work started in 2003 by ALPARC aiming to implement an ecological network in the Alps with a priority on the creation of spatial links between protected areas.
Alpine protected areas play an important role for the implementation of ecological networks. They are often the last wide-area refuges for plants and animals and constitute therefore important core areas in an alpine ecological network. To fulfil their nature protection task in the long term, they must be connected to one another, thus enabling undisturbed natural processes.