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The Green Belt as a European Ecological Network strengths and gaps

The Green Belt as a European Ecological Network strengths and gaps

Uwe Riecken, Peter Finck

Uwe Riecken, Peter Finck THE GERMAN GREEN BELT AS BACKBONE OF THE NATIONAL ECOLOGICAL NETWORK The most important criterion is ‘quality of sites’. Although there are already some gaps in the Green Belt we considered it a single site in this paper. The first sub-criterion is ‘surface area’. To be in ‘very good condition’ a valuable forest site has to exceed 50 km 2 and in the case of open ecosystems including mixed open and forested habitats it has to exceed 10 km 2 . In most parts the Green Belt features a mixed landscape character. The Green Belt is nearly 18 times larger than the required minimum size and therefore meets this benchmark. Even if the gaps already existing are taken into account, the Green Belt still meets the size criterion. This remains also true if the Green Belt would merely consist of forests: it would still be more than three times larger as the specified minimum area benchmark. The remaining sub-criteria are more difficult to apply because they are not defined quantitatively. But since applying the sub-criterion ‘surface area’ already results in a ‘very good condition’, the Green Belt only has to be in ‘good condition’ for the fourth sub criterion ‘coherence’ (for details see [1], pp 26-29.). To meet this category a site has to have large unfragmented core areas or the disturbing structures have to be of low overall impact. Looking at the results from mapping projects [10] and aerial pictures, which are available in our agency for the entire area of the Green Belt and in three time cuts, it is obvious that it falls into this category. Therefore applying the ‘quality’ criterion the Green Belt can be considered a site of ‘national importance’ for the ecological network. The second criterion is ‘spatial position in the landscape’. To fulfil this criterion a site has to be part of an obvious corridor of national importance. The Green Belt itself forms a corridor of nearly 1.400 km. Additionally it is very well connected to corridors of the national ecological network of moist/wet and dry/nutrient poor open landscape habitats (Fig. 2). Therefore it is indisputable fulfilling this criterion, too. The third criterion is the ‘occurrence of (viable populations of) target species for habitat connectivity’. This criterion is a supplemental one, which only applies if a site is of minor importance according to criteria one or two. Although the Green Belt already fulfills the requirements for a site of national importance for a national ecological network applying criteria one and two, we will nevertheless have a brief look at the Green Belt situation of target species. At least the following target species have already been reported for the Green Belt: beaver (Castor fiber) e.g. Elbe floodplains, lynx (Lynx lynx) e.g. Harz Mountains, European otter (Lutra lutra) several smaller rivers, different bat species, stork (Ciconia ciconia) e.g. Elbe marshes, red kite (Milvus milvus) several parts of the Green Belt. That means, that the Green Belt easily also fulfils this supplemental criterion. 3 CONCLUSIONS In total the German Green Belt meets the criteria for being considered a ‘site of national importance’ for the national ecological network. Additionally it is itself shaped as a corridor which crosses Germany from north to south for nearly 1.400 km and is well connected especially to the corridors of national importance of moist/wet and dry/nutrient poor open landscape habitats. In addition to those remaining big rivers valleys still functioning as part of the ecological network (Elbe, Oder, Danube) the Green Belt is one of the largest and most important backbones of the national network. On the other hand there are already some major gaps in the Green Belt. To preserve its function there is a strong requirement to limit further destructions and to raise the quality of the habitats as far as necessary. Furthermore efforts 2 importance for parts of a federal state resp. a county 26

Uwe Riecken, Peter Finck THE GERMAN GREEN BELT AS BACKBONE OF THE NATIONAL ECOLOGICAL NETWORK should be undertaken to close the existing gaps again. Wherever this is not possible, bypass solutions should be discussed. REFERENCES [1] Burkhardt, R., Baier, H., Bendzko, U., Bierhals, E., Finck, P., Liegl, A., Mast, R., Mirbach, E., Nagler, A., Pardey, A., Riecken, U., Sachteleben, J., Schneider, A., Szekely, S., Ullrich, K., van Hengel, U., Zeltner, U., Zimmermann, F. 2004. Empfehlungen zur Umsetzung des § 3 BNatSchG "Biotopverbund". - Natursch. Biol. Vielf. 2 (Bonn: Bundesamt für Naturschutz). [2] Ullrich, K., Finck, P., Riecken, U., Sachteleben, J. 2004. Bundesweit bedeutsame Zielarten für den Biotopverbund. - In: Burkhardt et al.: Empfehlungen zur Umsetzung des § 3 BNatSchG "Biotopverbund". - Natursch. Biol. Vielf. 2, 59-63. (Bonn: Bundesamt für Naturschutz). [3] Burkhardt, R., Finck, P., Liegl, A., Riecken, U., Sachteleben, J., Steiof, K., Ullrich, K. 2010. Bundesweit bedeutsame Zielarten für den Biotopverbund - zweite, fortgeschriebene Fassung. Natur und Landschaft 85 (11), 460-469. [4] Fuchs, D., Hänel, K., Jeßberger, J., Lipski, A., Reck, H., Reich, M., Sachteleben, J., Finck, P. & Riecken, U. .2007. National bedeutsame Flächen für den Biotopverbund. - Natur und Landschaft 82 (8), 345-352. [5] Fuchs, D., Hänel, K., Lipski, A., Reich, M., Finck, P., Riecken, U. (2010). Länderübergreifender Biotopverbund in Deutschland - Grundlagen und Fachkonzept. Natursch. Biol. Vielf. 96 (Bonn: Bundesamt für Naturschutz). [6] Hänel, K. 2006. Habitatverbundsysteme auf überörtlicher Ebene - HABITAT-NET- ein vektorbasierter GIS-Algorithmus als Planungshilfe. Naturschutz und Landschaftsplanung 38 (8), 237-244. [7] Hänel, K. 2007. Methodische Grundlagen zur Bewahrung und Wiederherstellung funktionsfähiger ökologischer Beziehungen in der räumlichen Planung. Lebensraumnetzwerke für Deutschland. Diss. Univ. Kassel. [8] Suck, R., Bushart, M. 2011. Karte der Potentiellen Natürlichen vegetation Deutschlands. Bonn: Bundesamt für Naturschutz. [9] Schlumprecht, H., Ludwig, F., Geidezis, L., Frobel, K. 2002. E+E-Vorhaben "Bestandsaufnahme Grünes Band". Naturschutzfachliche Bedeutung des längsten Biotopverbundsystems Deutschlands. Natur und Landschaft 77 (9/10), 407-414. [10] Schlumprecht, H., Ludwig, F., Geidezis, L., Frobel, K. 2006. Natuschutzfachliche Schwerpunktgebiete im Grünen Band. - BfN-Skripten 152 (Bonn: Bundesamt für Naturschutz) 27

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